Sourwood trees
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Thread: Sourwood trees

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Toms River, New Jersey, USA
    Posts
    37

    Default Sourwood trees

    Hey there, I live planting for honeybees, and I'm thinking about what the ultimate late season nectar source for a native tree would be. Here in the NJ shore, black locust, black cherry, and tulip trees are common, but theres not a great nectar source after that. I'm wondering if I want to try sourwood, basswod (linden) or tupelo to get that late summer nectar source.i realize it's a drop in the bucket but I love watching them gather nectar. Does anyone have experience growing these trees or have alternative options? On a side note, ive never seen so many bees on a plant as I have on winged sumac. Short bloom period but just absolutely slammed by honeybees in my area

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Powhatan, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    370

    Default Re: Sourwood trees

    Oak leaf hydrangea

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Seattle WA
    Posts
    1,182

    Default Re: Sourwood trees

    I planted a couple of sourwood trees at the same time I planted 20 black locust trees about 5 years ago. All the trees were about the same size when planted, about 3 feet tall. The black locusts are now 15-20 feet tall and the sourwood is about 4 feet tall. In my area it is a very slow grower and will take years before it becomes even a minor nectar source. The trees are beautiful in the fall.

    Lindens (such as basswood) are not as late as sourwood but grow much faster and are much larger trees. If you have the space, I would plant 3 different varieties of lindens (little leaf, silver and American) and get a 4- 6 week flow from them. The different varieties all bloom at slightly different times so you can get a good succession with 3 different varieties.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Stockholm, NJ, USA
    Posts
    321

    Default Re: Sourwood trees

    Quote Originally Posted by NJBeeVet View Post
    Hey there, I live planting for honeybees, and I'm thinking about what the ultimate late season nectar source for a native tree would be. Here in the NJ shore, black locust, black cherry, and tulip trees are common, but theres not a great nectar source after that. I'm wondering if I want to try sourwood, basswod (linden) or tupelo to get that late summer nectar source.i realize it's a drop in the bucket but I love watching them gather nectar. Does anyone have experience growing these trees or have alternative options? On a side note, ive never seen so many bees on a plant as I have on winged sumac. Short bloom period but just absolutely slammed by honeybees in my area
    Hey, I am in NW NJ and here is my take on the following trees:
    1- Sourwood, I have been trying for almost 10 years to raise them. It is a very picky plant, but the challenge is worth the try.
    So far, knock on wood, I think I got the hack. It has taken me lots of years, research and sadly disappointments to kind of getting it right. Sourwood thrive in acidic soil, and they will do great with in a mixture of sand, soil, peatmoss and organic fertilizer. Keep the soil moist. Make sure the immediate ground is bare or mulched. A mininum of 3 feet radius of bare soil is recommended. They have delicate, shallow roots and they don't do good in lawns, due to nutrient competitions with the grass or any plants grown below them. Try to avoid transplanting them. If you must, wait until it is dormant. I find it best to transplant them early spring. Make sure you condition the soil well in advanced. If thatis not possible do this, line the bottom of the hole with pine cones, then a mixture of sand, dirt, peatmoss and holli-tone. Soil must be acidic, less than 6 on the pH level, before you plant them. Then more pine cones to mulch the top. If you get saplings, they should be ready to flower in 3 years or so. You can get saplings from Arbor day.

    2- Basswood, I am lucky that I live surrounded by forest and Linden is every where here. They take long time to flower from being a small plant.

    3- Tupelo, like the sourwood they need moist, acidic soil and if you buy saplings, you must provide partial shade or filtered sun for the first 2 to 3 years. I think the famed Tupelo honey comes from the water tupelo and not the regular tupelo. Nativnurseries sells good stocks of tupelo. Remember do not put sapling in direct sun for the first 3 years.

    4- Sumac- very hard to transplant. I have had success with runners and planting them in early spring only.

    Here are my suggestion trees for late season: seven sons, it blooms in late July into August. Evodia (bee bee tree) - bloom late august.
    Vines: Sweet Autumn clematis, white lace, they blooms in September.
    Shrubs: Stonecrop (Sedum), Montauk Daisies (loves salt spray). Joe-pye. Bloom in August, September.
    Eastern Baccharis (search for vendors on Dave's garden or simply stop on the GSP and take a couple homes. This will bloom in September and October and still be green in December.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Toms River, New Jersey, USA
    Posts
    37

    Default

    Ahh eastern baccharis, I was wondering what that bush that looks like super late boneset was on the side of the parkway. Funny how different bees in different areas act towards the same plant. I never see honeybees on sweet autumn clematis or montaulk daisies in my area. Most intense bee frenzy I see here in toms River is the winged sumac on August. It blooms for a short time but it is just infested with bees. That's my fall back if I can't get the other trees to grow. I've been trying to germinate bee bee trees for a couple of years without success and it's nearly impossible to find seedlings online. I found a cheap source for seven sons flower, so I might give that a try next year. Sounds like basswood and sourwood are gonna be slow growing but I'll try a couple saplings as a project to watch.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Suffolk Co, NY, USA
    Posts
    3,630

    Default Re: Sourwood trees

    Give a look at coastal (summer) sweet pepperbush with white flowers, Clethra alnifolia L., it fits the bill perfectly.

    https://plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/pg_clal3.pdf

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Stockholm, NJ, USA
    Posts
    321

    Default

    Try this nursery for evodia, sour wood, tupelo and many others. Reeseville Ridge Nursery

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Toms River, New Jersey, USA
    Posts
    37

    Default

    Wow thanks,great suggestion,wish I knew about this nursery years ago

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