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Early Bloomers for Polinators

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Although fifty-five degrees feels pretty chilly to me, that’s the magic temperature as spring nears when some native bees and the European honeybees are out foraging for food – and a time when not many plants are in flower. So if you want to attract and support pollinators it’s important for you to install some very early-blooming plants in your yard. We’ve talked about the earliest of the spring bloomers, red maple, Acer rubrum, which also is a larval food host for the Rosy Maple Moth. Red maples have sweet sap, they can be tapped just like sugar maples, and many insects feed on them, in turn insectivorous songbirds visit to collect food for their young. Although cultivars such as October Glory have been selected for improved fall color, if you live in warmer parts of the state don’t expect a dramatic display each year. 

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.