Ideas

Planting for bees.
Grappling Coach
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Ideas

Postby Grappling Coach » Mon Jul 03, 2017 4:17 am

We have a small hobby farm in sw Missouri, just under 10 acres. I believe there to be a lot of good forage in the area, as a lot of farmers around here plant clover in their pastures. There is also a commercial orchard nearby, as well as lots of sumac in the fence rows. That being said, I would like to do more. I am going to drill a perineal clover into my pasture for the bees and deer, but not sure of the variety. Ladino or Durana seem to be a couple of options. I planted Dutch white around the house, but it is too short for the hay field.
I am also looking into planting some bee friendly trees and bushes. With my pasture only being around 5 acres, I can only do so much there and want to keep it for hay.

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Re: Ideas

Postby Grappling Coach » Mon Jul 03, 2017 4:25 am

Last year we planted two red maple trees. This year, I am thinking of planting a couple of American linden (basswood) trees. A video I watched on YouTube about bees and trees got me interested in them. A friend of mine has a a buttonbush, which gets absolutely covered in bees every year, so I am considering those also.
Having a small place, I need to be creative, since I don't have a lot of room.

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Re: Ideas

Postby Grappling Coach » Mon Jul 03, 2017 4:27 am

Buttonbush
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Salvatore
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Re: Ideas

Postby Salvatore » Mon Jul 03, 2017 1:34 pm

Sowing nectar producing cover crops is a great seasonal addition to forage for your bees. I like to plant a variety of cover crops throughout the growing season. I try to time the plantings prior to our regular dearths in my neck of the woods. Buckwheat germinates quickly and will begin to flower in 30 days +/- a few. This can be conveniently timed to pick up when the natural wild flow is coming to an end. Other options would be red clover, sweet yellow clover, alfalfa, and/ or sunflower just to name a few. Any amount of additional forage will be of benefit to your bees, but keep in mind that it takes acres of any of these to actually produce a honey crop. For example 1 acre of buckwheat is estimated to only produce a single super of honey for a single colony.

There is also a great deal of beneficial "weeds" that you may have available in MO. Goldenrod, Asters, Ironweed, Spotted knapweed, purple loosestrife, etc. Some of these can be very aggressive and possibly invasive so choose wisely if you are spreading seed or bringing it in from neighboring areas.

Planting trees is an excellent long term investment. Linden/ American Basswood is a great option. We generally get a good Basswood flow in much of Western North Carolina and it makes some pretty awesome honey. From what I understand, a mature (15-20 yr old) basswood will produce more nectar than 1 acre of white clover. Big blooms! [img]
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GregV
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Re: Ideas

Postby GregV » Mon Jul 03, 2017 2:13 pm

Coach - sweet clovers, hands down are my choice.
Both yellow and white varieties are great.
I strongly recommend both as a mix because yellow clover starts earlier; the white clover then takes over.
But they do overlay and mix well and provide great bee pastures.
I spread them if/where I can (so much for a non-native plant, but hey - most all bee plants are non-native and the clovers are to stay here forever now). :D

These both make really good hay IF cut at proper time (not too late though). You can google on that. The hay fits your plan well.
Both clovers as well make great bee pasture.
Though when cut for hay will limit the bee pasture by taking clovers away too early - so need to make that call based on what you want.
So you could cut some areas for hay and leave other areas for bees.

Also - you want the Dutch clover planted where you cut for hay.
The Dutch clover is short and REALLY benefits from the hay cutting because it then has a chance to have light and do well.
This is how Dutch clover is doing really well in the city parks and lawns - this is because they are regularly cut.
Otherwise, taller grasses smother the Dutch clover.
I wish I had 5-10 acres! Such a good deal.

Just spread the clover seed for next year in fall (cheap to buy OR harvest the seeds for free along the roads and such).

PS: and of course, a mix of native late bloomers is a must for late flow - golden rod/asters/etc.... like Salvatore stated above; in my area, sweet clovers bloom very late and overlay with the native, late bloomers; this works out really well for me.
PPS: basswood too is great; if planning for some tree groves, few basswood trees will be great; also - early blooming fruit trees, even feral/seedling/crab apple trees will do great and the like.
Last edited by GregV on Mon Jul 03, 2017 2:34 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Nordak
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Re: Ideas

Postby Nordak » Mon Jul 03, 2017 2:18 pm

For something that blooms here during our dearth period, I'd recommend peppervine. It's vertical growth, so takes up very little ground space. Be careful with it though, as it can take over if you don't cut it back. Bees go nuts for it this time of year. Plant it along fence lines, and it will establish itself around what's available.

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Re: Ideas

Postby SiWolKe » Mon Jul 03, 2017 2:58 pm

I planted this last year.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphoricarpos_albus

Once planted and a little mowing in the first two years it spreads . Deers and hares leave it alone even if wiki says they don´t. It´s growing here in the wild also but not in great numbers.
It brings nectar and knotweed brings pollen.
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Re: Ideas

Postby Kwalt » Mon Jul 03, 2017 7:10 pm

Salvatore, I don't know that I've ever seen a basswood tree. We do have trees with the big blooms in your picture, we call it a catalpa tree.

Kevin

PS: if anyone comes up with a source for basswood trees I'm interested. Seedlings would be fine.
Last edited by Kwalt on Mon Jul 03, 2017 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ideas

Postby GregV » Mon Jul 03, 2017 7:14 pm

Just back from picking raspberries. :)

If I was close by, I'd give for free bunches of mint and oregano and catnip that I don't need - also good bee pasture plants (and herbs).
I got to think of these as I was bush whacking through the overgrown raspberry patch.
There are always people around who want to get rid of these herbs for nothing (they spread out quickly but with 5-10 acres to work, this is not important).

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Re: Ideas

Postby GregV » Mon Jul 03, 2017 7:15 pm

Kwalt wrote:Salvatore, I don't know that I've ever seen a basswood tree. We do have trees with the big blooms in your picture, we call it a catalpa tree.

Kevin


From my times in Topeka and Lawrence, I know - there are tons of basswood in NE Kansas.

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Re: Ideas

Postby Grappling Coach » Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:05 pm

There are a lot of good ideas here, but not all are practical in my case. Alfalfa I hear produces lots of nectar and makes great hay, but the cows can't eat it Green because it causes bloat.
Sweet Clover is another good choice, but I would have to replant every couple years, which I am trying to avoid. This is why I am looking for a perennial clover

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Re: Ideas

Postby GregV » Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:12 pm

Grappling Coach wrote:There are a lot of good ideas here, but not all are practical in my case. Alfalfa I hear produces lots of nectar and makes great hay, but the cows can't eat it Green because it causes bloat.
Sweet Clover is another good choice, but I would have to replant every couple years, which I am trying to avoid. This is why I am looking for a perennial clover


No need to replant.
It reseeds itself just fine.
As long as you spread the seed around for 2-3 years to start, it will go from there on its own.

You don't just want per-annuals.
You also want annuals/bi-annuals in a mix; those that re-seed themselves.
Have to have a mix.
Every year it is different; bad for one crop and yet good for the other.
Last edited by GregV on Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ideas

Postby Grappling Coach » Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:13 pm

I am going to focus this year on trees and shrubs because they take up less space. My friend who has the buttonbush told me today that the bees are still working it. They have been on it for over three weeks now.

I can buy wild cherry seedlings from the conservation department very cheap. I just need to watch where I plant them, because the leaves can be toxic to farm animals. And I am definitely going to plant a couple of Linden trees (basswood)

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Re: Ideas

Postby GregV » Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:15 pm

Grappling Coach wrote:I am going to focus this year on trees and shrubs because they take up less space. My friend who has the buttonbush told me today that the bees are still working it. They have been on it for over three weeks now.

I can buy wild cherry seedlings from the conservation department very cheap. I just need to watch where I plant them, because the leaves can be toxic to farm animals. And I am definitely going to plant a couple of Linden trees (basswood)


If you do linden tree - google on the varieties.
You want 2-3 different varieties so the bloom is staggered (just like with everything else - mix and stagger).
Great project, anyways!

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Re: Ideas

Postby moebees » Tue Jul 04, 2017 1:03 am

Sweet clovers are perennial. You don't have to replant. You don't want it if you are going to make hay though.

Yes it is a biennial but because it reseeds its growth pattern is like a perennial.
Last edited by moebees on Wed Jul 05, 2017 7:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ideas

Postby moebees » Tue Jul 04, 2017 1:06 am

PS: if anyone comes up with a source for basswood trees I'm interested. Seedlings would be fine.


The national arbor day foundation has little leaf and silver leaf linden and they are very reasonable on prices. If I had land to plant trees on my first source would be the national arbor day foundation.
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

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Re: Ideas

Postby moebees » Tue Jul 04, 2017 1:08 am

I don't think I have seen anyone mention black locust. Wonderful honey and just as big a flow as basswood.
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

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Re: Ideas

Postby moebees » Tue Jul 04, 2017 1:10 am

Good grief. You don't make hay out of sweet clover!!
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

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Re: Ideas

Postby GregV » Tue Jul 04, 2017 1:39 am

moebees wrote:Sweet clovers are perennial. You don't have to replant. You don't want it if you are going to make hay though.


Sorry, moe..
You are not correct.
I will have to support my statements above and use good sourcing for support them.

It maybe there are some other sweet clovers.
I refer to the most well known varieties of sweet clovers in agriculture. :)
Just clarifying here; but Coach can google just as well.

Speaking of sweet clover for hay, I would rather refer to credible sources like this:
https://www.agry.purdue.edu/ext/forages ... /ay233.htm
How to manage a sweetclover stand for pasture, hay and silage.


Like I said above - managing sweet clover for hay basically takes it out of the bee pasture because you cut it early.
When cut early AND have it in a mix with other grasses - it is a good hay component. The best hay is mixed anyway (not a mono-culture hay).
So need to keep that in mind.
You can still do both.

Sweet clovers are not perennial.
From the same credible source:
Melilotus officinalis and M. alba are predominantly biennials.
Last edited by GregV on Tue Jul 04, 2017 1:53 am, edited 5 times in total.

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Re: Ideas

Postby GregV » Tue Jul 04, 2017 1:44 am

moebees wrote:I don't think I have seen anyone mention black locust. Wonderful honey and just as big a flow as basswood.


Black locust if a fine bee pasture as long as you are aware of its toxicity and you are OK with it and still want to intentionally plant it
So I would recommend looking into it before hand and understanding the issues.

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Re: Ideas

Postby Grappling Coach » Tue Jul 04, 2017 3:13 am

Thank you for the idea, but I have worked hard to clear all of the locust trees out of my pasture without spraying.There is no way I am planting any on my property. I have been cutting them by hand and Dobbing Tordon on the Stems to kill the roots. If you don't they will just come back. Between those and the thistles, it has been a lot of hard work. The land was not tended to for a few years and was getting overrun. .

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Re: Ideas

Postby Grappling Coach » Tue Jul 04, 2017 3:33 am

3 truckloads of thistles and lots of little locust trees.
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Re: Ideas

Postby moebees » Tue Jul 04, 2017 4:06 am

Actually thistles are excellent for bees and from your description it doesn't sound like what you are calling locust is black locust trees which are large and resemble ash.
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

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Re: Ideas

Postby moebees » Tue Jul 04, 2017 4:25 am

Black locust if a fine bee pasture as long as you are aware of its toxicity


I don't know what you are talking about? Black locust is a large tree. It has nothing to do with pasture and no toxicity. Sweet clover hay on the other hand is feeding rat poison.
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

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Re: Ideas

Postby GregV » Tue Jul 04, 2017 4:37 am

Okay; let Coach google and decide for himself. There are plenty of points.

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Re: Ideas

Postby Grappling Coach » Tue Jul 04, 2017 4:47 am

Ok, I did some looking. What I have is honey locust.
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moebees
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Re: Ideas

Postby moebees » Tue Jul 04, 2017 4:39 pm

Yeah and contrary to the name honey locust does not make decent honey.
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Re: Ideas

Postby Grappling Coach » Wed Jul 05, 2017 2:32 pm

And giant thorns

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Re: Ideas

Postby Oranjedal » Wed Jul 05, 2017 9:32 pm

In my area basswood gives a very nice flow of 2, sometimes 3,4 weeks. The honey off basswood has a nice, fresh minty flavour.
People in the neigbourhood like it very much.

Greetings,

Marcel

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Re: Ideas

Postby moebees » Wed Jul 05, 2017 9:52 pm

In my area basswood gives a very nice flow of 2, sometimes 3,4 weeks.


There are several varieties of Tilia so if you have more than one the flow can last several weeks. American Basswood, little leaf linden, silver leaf linden, Carolina Basswood, etc.
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