Trees for Bees
All trees & shrubs have been reserved! Please check back in April of 2024 for our next giveaway!
About the Giveaway
Howard County Bee City’s Trees for Bees giveaway focuses on bringing awareness to the importance of native trees and shrubs for pollinators, especially in Spring. Species offered in our giveaway support native bees, butterflies, and other wildlife by providing pollen, nectar, food, and shelter, while also bringing the beauty of native plants to your outdoor spaces. Tree and shrub species that are native to the Chesapeake Bay region also help combat climate change by sequestering carbon, they aid in reducing stormwater runoff, and improve the water quality in our local streams.
About the Trees and Shrubs
The trees and shrubs will be in 2, 3, or 5-gallon containers and approximately 2-6 feet tall depending on the species. Species are native to Maryland, acclimated to our climate, and provide food and shelter for wildlife. Residents are responsible for loading the trees and shrubs into their vehicles.
Black Gum (Nyssa sylvatica): Preferring full to partial sun and wet to moist soils, this tree can grow between 30–50 feet tall and 20-30 feet wide. It blooms tiny green-white flowers in spring that provide a rich source of nectar for bees. These flowers then give way to small fruits that ripen in late summer that are popular among birds and mammals. Comes in a 5 gallon container and will be ~3-6′ tall upon pickup at the giveaway.
Red Bud (Cercis canadensis): An early bloomer, this tree’s showy pink flowers appear in March and April, providing an important source of food for emerging pollinators. Preferring partial to full shade and moist to dry soil, this tree can reach 30 feet tall and 35 feet wide. Comes in a 3 gallon container and will be ~3-5′ tall upon pickup at the giveaway.
Black Cherry (Prunus serotina): Considered a high eco-value tree, its pink spring blooms provide both nectar and pollen for early season bees, which then give way to clusters of berries that provide a popular food source for birds and mammals. Growing in full to partial sun and moist to dry soils, this tree can reach up to 80 feet tall and grow 30-60 feet wide. It’s the host plant for 456 butterflies and moths and considered a keystone tree for caterpillars, which themselves provide a high protein food source for nesting songbirds. Comes in a 5 gallon container and will be ~3-5′ tall upon pickup at the giveaway.
Pussy Willow (Salix discolor): This keystone tree is among the first flowering plants in spring. Blooming small green-white flowers provides nectar to early season pollinators and functions as a host for 71 butterflies & moths. Growing in full to partial sun and wet soils, this tree sits on the slightly smaller side, only reaching 15 feet tall and 4-12 feet wide. Comes in a 2 gallon container and will be ~4-7′ tall upon pickup at the giveaway.
Red Chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia): With blooming clusters of small white flowers in March, it provides nectar for mining bees, small sweat bees & bumblebees. This shrub will grow 6-10 feet tall, 3-4 feet wide, prefers full to partial sun, and loves moist soil. Comes in a 5 gallon container and will be ~5-6′ tall upon pickup at the giveaway.
Sweet Pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia): Blooming from mid to late summer, this shrub produces eye-catching and fragrant spires of white blossoms that are attractive to bees, butterflies and other pollinators. Growing in a range of conditions from full sun to full shade and dry to wet soils, this shrub can grow 3-6 feet tall and wide. It’s an excellent pollinator shrub for shade and woodland gardens. Comes in a 3 gallon container and will be ~2-3′ tall upon pickup at the giveaway.
Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis): This shrub grows in full to partial sun, wet to moist soil conditions, and reaches 5 and 12 feet tall and 4 to 8 feet wide. It blooms from June to August, with small, charming white flowers that resemble pincushions. These flowers are highly attractive to hummingbirds, butterflies, and other and insect pollinators. Comes in a 2 gallon container and will be ~2-4′ tall upon pickup at the giveaway.
American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana): Growing six feet tall and up to six feet wide, this understory shrub is known for its fabulous clusters of magenta berries that encircle the woody stems from fall to winter after its mid-summer blooms. It’s an important source of food for many species of birds, and will thrive in full to partial sun and moist soil. Comes in a 3 gallon container and will be ~3′ tall upon pickup at the giveaway.
Reserving Your Trees –
All trees & shrubs have been reserved for the 2023 giveaway
YOU MUST PICK UP YOUR TREE AT THE SPECIFIED LOCATION ON APRIL 15TH 2023.
If you cannot pick up your tree on this date, please do not reserve a tree. You may have another person pick up for you. Have them bring a printout of your reservation.
Pick up location and time:
Howard Community College,
10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia,
PARKING LOT A 10am – 3pm
To learn more details about these tree species, visit https://plants.usda.gov. Trees improve the environment in terms of climate, stormwater, energy savings and economic value to homeowners. Learn more about tree benefits at ArborDay.org.
Another great option that encourages residents to plant trees is the Marylanders Plant Trees coupon program. Maryland Department of Natural Resources offers a $25 coupon off of native trees that cost $50 or more at participating nurseries. Find the coupon here and use the tabs on the left of the page to find Participating Nurseries and Recommended Trees.
We successfully gave away 1,000 trees to residents, non-profits and Howard Community College for our inaugural Trees for Bees Giveaway in 2022! Thank you to all who participated.
For more information about how you can help pollinators click HERE