Fruit Trees for the Bees

This time of the year, when the weather may be extreme we can help our bees with additional food. On sunny days our bees take flight and we wonder what they arefinding in the way of nectar and pollen. We are eager for spring’s arrival. We can help the bees by providing specific plants in our gardens for them to enjoy. One very good plant that will be one of the first to bloom and be a food source for the bees is the Flowering Quince. The Quince will start to bloom as early as February and be in bloom in March. Not only is this plant an excellent early food source it is a beautiful landscape plant that is as tough as Texas. It can handle extreme cold as well as the blasting Texas heat and drought. It has apple-like, edible fruit that can be used to make Quince Jam.This plant was a food source for early homesteaders across the country. You will notice this plant in its blooming splendor on old homesteads where the old farm house has passed its time, but the Quince is still there providing food for the honey bee.

Flowering Quince Chaenomeles japonica

Raffle Plant of the month for our next meeting in February will be Flowering Quince, Chaenomeles japonica.

Raffle plants at our last January 11th meeting. Fruit Trees.

Fruit Trees for the Bees.

The most important thing to do when picking out which fruit trees to purchase is to know what varieties are best for your area and what soil type you have, such as an acidic or alkaline. The correct root stock the tree is grafted to is just as important as what type of variety you choose. If planting in an acidic sandy soil, the tree to be purchased should be grafted onto a ‘Nemaguard’ rootstock which has built-in resistance to certain nematodes. The following web site has listed the recommended fruit tree varieties for North Central Texas.

http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/plantanswers/publications/fruitlist.html

Fruit trees can be purchased at nurseries in containers or as bare root. I recommend the latter, bare root. Container grown trees are ok but you must make sure not to buy one that has been in the container too long and has become root bound.