Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Bees and trees - the dynamic duo

Bees play a vital role in sustaining our ecosystem; it is estimated bees pollinate one third of everything we eat. In order to do that, bees need to have large food sources in one location.

That’s where trees come in.

Trees act as a one-stop food shop for bees. In fact, trees have huge quantities of nectar close together, making it easier for bees to buildup stores to turn into honey. Trees and bees work in harmony: bees need the flowers from the tree for food, while the tree needs the bee to reproduce. Bees also collect resin from coniferous trees and help with their nest construction. It’s pretty sweet stuff.

How you can help

The easiest way to keep our bees happy is to keep our trees healthy. Healthy trees are essential for nectar and pollination. This includes consistent watering, mulching, pruning and monitoring trees for pests. For more information on healthy tree care, visit calgary.ca/trees.

Want to plant a tree for the bees? Until Sept. 1, The City is partnering with local retailers to help you save 10% off your next tree purchase.

Calgary trees that bees love (just to name a few):
  • Wolf Willow 
  • Crab-apple
  • Lilac
  • Red Elder 
  • Maple
  • Cherry
  • Poplar

Added bonus: most of them are fruit-flowering, so (after the bees do their work) you can reap the rewards.

One more un-bee-lieveable fact: The City has set up mason bee houses at orchard sites to increase the colonization of the orchards by mason bees.

Submitted by Erin Smith, Parks


  1. Really love the initiative. As a Calgarian how can we help to plant more trees.

  2. Hi there. The City has partnered with local retailers to help you plant more trees. You can find the 10% off coupon online until September 1 at Calgary.ca/trees.

  3. Please remove Caragana from the list! It is highly invasive and the City spends lots of money trying to erradicate it! They shouldnt be subsidizing planting it!

  4. Hi Lisa. Let us clarify: Sutherland Caragana is great for the bees and isn’t invasive to Calgary. Thanks for catching that. We have updated the post!

  5. We purchased a tree to replace one that was cut down by vandals in the downtown residential area. Would this purchase earlier in the season qualify for a retroactive credit with the coupon. Unfortunately, the replacement tree on private property not city boulevard was a mature relatively tall tree.

  6. Alexandria FarmerJuly 23, 2016 at 1:49 PM

    Absolutely LOVE this initiative! (though isn't that a linden tree in the picture which has nectar toxic to bees (avoid it)?). Now if we could just stop (or at the very least regulate) this urban honey beekeeping fad and focus on the native bees.... :)

    1. Hi Alexandria. Tilia cordata or small-leaved Lime (sometimes referred to as the Small-leaved Linden or Little-leaf Linden) is not toxic for bees. However, some other species of lime trees are considered toxic for bees. Thanks for checking!

  7. Great initiative! As the owner of a tree service company I always respect when a city gives incentives to people to take care of the environment, trees, animals (bees - which are so important to a healthy ecosystem), and promote healthier living through the environment.

    Great job Calgary!