How to select trees for your bees

First let’s  look at why we would plant trees for bees.

Sourwood trees in bloom

Sourwood trees in bloom


Trees being large, long lived plants are capable of withstanding short term weather variations better than most annual and perennial flowering plants. While all three types of plants are important to bee health, trees have certain advantages. 

Annuals produce a large number of flowers quickly  but they are the first to suffer in hot dry weather. Likewise, they are the quickest to recover after a rain.

Perennial and biennial flowers generally have a deeper taproot and are more resistant to short and moderate dry spells. They still succumb to deep drought and heat.

Tulip Poplar Flower

Tulip Poplar Flower

Trees are much more resistant to drought and will tend to bloom effectively in spite of the weather. While it is possible to miss a bloom cycle for an individual tree species due to extreme weather or exhaustion from over blooming, this is unusual. 

Thankfully with trees, there are many species, and they bloom at different times during the warm seasons.Some bloom in turn while others bloom over a period of many weeks providing forage for bees over the entire season.



There are many reasons to plant trees for bees. Let’s look at why we are planting trees. What are our goals? 

Are we planting for a honey crop? This requires a large scale approach to planting trees. It takes many millions of flowers to produce a super full of honey. Trees are large and provide millions of flowers but, it still takes many trees, just as it takes many acres of flowers to make a honey crop.

American Linden, Little leaf Linden, Korean Bee Bee, Black Locust, Vitex, and Tulip Poplar are candidates for a honey crop.

Are we planting to fill the gaps in other nectar sources? Identifying the gaps in nectar flow can be determined by watching your bees.Are there regular periods each year when your bees are idle? Idle bees signal the queen to slow brood production which leads to weaker bee numbers later in the season.What good is a fall nectar flow if there aren’t enough bees to go get it?

See tree descriptions for bloom times. Flowering Trees

Are we simply diversifying food sources?One of the possible contributors to colony collapse is the narrowing of food sources for bees. Just as we would not thrive on a diet of just one food, bees need a varied diet.A series of trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals blooming throughout the season will give the bees and other pollinators the varied and plentiful diet they need to thrive.

Grafted Pecan Trees

2014  Grafted Pecan Trees

Grafted Pecan Trees For Sale by Rock Bridge Trees

View In Store 


Above are some examples of the pecan trees we grafted this year (2014) This shows the range of growth for a grafted tree in one season. These are nice healthy happy pecan trees.

Rock Bridge Trees Will Be At HAS And EAS Summer Meetings

                            DSC_4113 (2)


Rock Bridge Trees Will Be At

 The Heartland Apicultural Society Summer Meeting At Carbondale IL July 10,11, and 12


The Eastern Apicultural Society Summer Meeting At

Richmond KY July 29- Aug 1

Meeting Specials

All 1 gallon trees $20.00

All 2 gallon trees $30.00

Pre-order trees to be picked up at the meeting at

Contact us

We Look Forward To Seeing You There

Walter T. Kelly Field Day

Walter T. Kelly Field Day

June 7, 2014

Rock Bridge Trees will be at Walter T.

Kelly’s Field Day

Field Day Specials

2 gallon Sourwood Trees: $30.00

2 gallon American Linden: $30.00

Pre-order your trees today at

Contact us

To pick up at

Kelly’s Field Day in Clarkson, KY

We will be giving a presentation on

Trees For Bees

       We look forward to seeing you there

Delay Pruning To Avoid Winter Injury

This brutal winter will take a break one day. Care should be taken that the urge to do something,anything outside might tempt us to prune our trees and vines before its time.
Pruning trees and vines should be delayed, if possible, until mid to late February. Even then we should watch the forecast should more bitter cold be lurking.
Pruning cuts, even those made during winter cold, stimulate a growth response in trees, shrubs, and woody vines. Though not visible to us, the healing response to a cut is real and the hormonal change and cellular division makes the area around the cut more tender and vulnerable to injury.
This should not deter you from necessary pruning. An unpruned tree will be less productive and an ugly tree can be made more attractive by proper pruning. Just be patient and prune at the proper time.
Rake those windblown leaves and pull the dead grass from the beds. Enjoy those rare pleasant mid winter days.

Farmer Dave






Apples are the iconic fruit. Instantly recognizable and a familiar shape and taste. Apples, though are notoriously difficult to grow well. Millions of apple trees are planted in the U.S. every year yet very few people are pleased with the results of their planting. Apple trees are finicky and to bear those iconic fruit they require a great deal of care and attention. An apple tree must be pruned  and will be beset by numerous pests and diseases. All of which are determined to consume or disfigure the apple as seen in the minds eye when the tree was planted.

Seckle PearMaxine Pear

               Seckle Pear                                                                                                                 Maxine Pear

Pears are the ugly duckling of the fruit world. Under appreciated and under planted pears are a work horse . The pear tree is hardy throughout the U.S. , adapted to all regions of the east. Pear trees will produce some sort of crop most years with near total neglect. But with some care and attention  you will be rewarded with a bumper crop  of large luxurious fruit worthy of the finest gourmet kitchen.

Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder but to put fruit on the table year in and year out, pears are the best bet.

We only offer pear trees that have proven themselves to be productive here in our orchard. Our trees have proven themselves year in and year out to be a consistent crop.

Contact us for our personally selected productive trees


Chojuro Asian Pear

                      Chojuro Asian Pear





Copyright 2013 Rock Bridge Trees

Pear Trees


A wonderful small Asian pear which ripens early but keeps very well. Produces crisp fleshed pears with a hint of butterscotch sweetness. Ripens in August here.Chojuro

Pecan news

Kanza Pecans

Kanza is a disease resistant variety recommended for northern areas. Kanza produces medium large pecans, about 70 per pound, which shell into perfect halves. The tree grows with a strong structure resistant to freeze damage. Nuts mature in early October. Type 2 pollen shed (late pollen) Will pollinate Pawnee and Major.pawnee

Growing Pears in the Mid-South

Pears are one of the easiest tree fruits to grow. They make a beautiful productive tree. Flowers in spring and fruit in the fall. What more could you ask.

So why aren.t more pears grown in the mid-south? The fear of a disease that kills some pears is the main reason. Fireblight is a bacterial disease that can kill susceptible varieties. But there are several resistant varieties of pears and these varieties will grow and thrive throughout the eastern United States.

Here are some wonderful varieties that do well in the east: Magness, Maxine, Collette, Shenandoah, Potomac, Korean Giant (Olympic),Chojuro, Keifer and Seckle

Pest and disease

Pears can be grown with or without spraying for pest and disease. Though a limited spray program will yield prettier fruit.

Plum curculio is the major insect pest for pears. The damage curculio causes is mainly cosmetic and causes some deformity to the fruit. That said the fruit is still perfectly usable. Occasionally codling moth will attack a few of yours pears. Spraying for these would only be necessary with a sever infestation. Stink bugs cause similar damage to curculio and there are few pesticides that affect stink bugs. We have never had significant damage from them here.

Fireblight is the most visible disease in pear trees in the east. This is caused by the bacteria Erwinia Amylovora. This attacks the trees during two vulnerable periods und specific conditions.

Most often it attacks while the trees are blooming and temperatures are above 65 degrees and it.s raining. Fireblight is a water borne disease that infects the tree through open flowers or physical injury.You should not prune pear trees during periods of active growth. Infection takes about two weeks to show up. First as wilting leaves and then enter as the characteristic blackening of leaves and twigs occurs.

The other opportunity for fireblight is hail. Hail, even small pea size hail cuts the bark and allows the bacteria to enter the cambium of the tree.

The pear varieties listed here are not immune to fireblight but all are able to wall off the infection and prevent it from spreading to the trunk and the roots. The infected parts of the tree can be pruned out and burned in winter.

A spray of liquid copper before the buds open in spring will go a long way to prevent fireblight and if conditions are right for infection during bloom. A spray of streptomycin within 24 hours can limit infection. The only other diseases are purely cosmetic. Sooty blotch and fly speck are a fungi which live on the skin of the pear. They have a minimal effect on the pear itself though some people think it is unsightly.

Spacing & Training

Pear trees should be planed 16-18 feet apart. Even semi-dwarf pears get fairly large. Crowed trees are less productive. Pears are usually trained as a central leader tree. While as an untrained tree will produce fruit, one of the great pleasures of growing tree fruits is the training and shaping of a beautiful tree. Left to their own devices a pear tree will grow very upright and produce its fruit at the very tips of the tall branches. Training the tree to the central leader makes the tree fruit sooner and produce larger fruit than an untrained tree. In fruit production light equals fruit. So, branches should be selected for spacing and spreading to open the center of the tree to sunlight