You hear a lot about pollinators in the news these days, mostly because of the alarming decline in the population of bees. There is no denying that bees are excellent pollinators -- they tend to spend a lot of time on one blossom and pick up a tremendous amount of pollen that way. Butterflies are another well-known pollinator and their numbers have also been in decline. Monarch butterfly populations have declined 90% in the last 20 years.
Butterflies are not as prolific as bees as their bodies don't carry the large quantity of pollen that bees do. But they do have two advantages -- one is that they often fly longer distances and the other is that the pollen they carry in their mouths stays fresher longer.
Pollen carries the tree's male genes. Trees such as birches, hazels, pines, spruces, firs, cottonwoods, oaks, elms, and walnuts rely on the wind for pollination. Insect-pollinated trees include apples, cherries, catalpas, horse chestnuts, tulip trees and willows.
How can we help the butterfly and bee populations continue their important work of pollination? There are many lists available of plants such as butterfly milkweed, goldenrod, Joe Pye and blazing stars. But TREES can also play an important role as host plants because they often provide the first available food for pollinators in the spring. The top ten trees in support of butterfly/moth species are: oak, black cherry, willow, birch, poplar, crabapple, maple, elm, pine and hickory. So next time you are thinking about supporting pollinators in your own home landscape -- don't overlook the trees!
Ruthie photographs trees because she loves them.
1 - 3pm
A Walk in the Woods
423 N. Main St.
Photographer and editor Ruthie Rosauer will be on hand to autograph copies of her book, THESE TREES. The book, a compilation of 140 trees photos paired with poems, has been described as "A gorgeous book, a heart-opening photo collection."