Australia is fortunate to have such a diverse range of climate zones in the one country which means that we can grow many varieties of fruit trees from tropical to cold temperate regions. Bees like food choices just like us. They like at least 4 different species to be flowering at any time, except in cold climates where it can cause problems for them.
Anyone with room in their yard or even balcony can grow fruit trees or vines to help bees find nectar and pollen from their blossoms. The key to any bee friendly garden is to keep it pesticide and herbicide free. There are many natural things you can do to keep your garden plants from being chomped by the bad guys which we will cover in future posts.
Part 3 will focus on bee friendly fruit shrubs, trees and vines.
Nature loves mixing it up so if it is possible try to have many varieties growing. In small areas, espalier may be the answer. Fruit trees can be trained against fences all around a yard. Done this way they take very little room and you can fit in an amazing amount of fruit. Having blossom producing fruit throughout each season you can be sure all your garden plants will flourish.
Underplanting with herbs and flowers will help bees pollinate more fruit and maximise your garden yields.
Start off by some online searching to find what plants fruit in each season so that there is always something edible available and plan to plant your choices with that in mind. You don’t want all your fruit to come in summer, and then have none for the rest of the year. Make sure you choose fruits that suit your particular climate zone as failure to do this can be very expensive.
Many fruit trees require that you have 2 or more varieties that have to cross pollinate before they can produce fruit, such as hazelnuts or Japanese plums, while some fruits self pollinate. When shopping for your fruit trees or vines make sure that you have knowledge of the varieties you need and the room you have to grow them.
Bees prefer all shades of blue, purple and yellow colours over all others and will visit these first, but are attracted to fruit trees because of perfume, and abundance of pollen and nectar as well. Growing colourful herbs and flowers underneath your fruit trees in bee-loved colours will leave them very happy to return to visit your yard.
Honey bees forage within a 2-5 kilometre range of their hives. Native bees, mostly like wild flowers found on weeds and native plants. Because all bees can travel a fair way make sure you have a source of fresh water in your garden. Shallow bird baths or bowls with some rocks sticking up, or bamboo rafts that float on top will provide them with a landing platform so they won’t drown. Making your garden so bee friendly, will mean that the bees will have a safe place to visit and they won’t stop in unfriendly gardens that use the CIDE MONSTER, the pesticides and herbicides that contain chemicals would kill them.
If you already have bee friendly flowers and plants, and bees are not visiting your garden, this is of concern as it may indicate destruction of habitat, and also that herbicides and pesticides are being used in such great quantities that they are dying. These conditions are not a safe environment for us either. There are always bees in a HEALTHY environment.
Easy to Grow Bee Fruiting Berries, Shrubs, Fruit Trees, and Vines
Fruits Needing Bees
Avocado (they also need hover flies as well)
Blueberry – Rabbiteye type
Macadamia – native & honey bees
Mango – native bees, honey bees & native flies
Midyam Berry – native bees
Fruit That Self Pollinates but Yields Better with help from bees
Blueberry – Highbush type