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Tallow Trees Crowd Out Native Trees Needed by Polinators

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Limiting tallow tree-dominated acreage will benefit polinators.

The tallow tree has a non-showy inflorescence, a two to eight inch long cluster of many small flowers. But the female flowers are prodigious nectar producers and European Honeybees and certain native bees flock to collect it. Migrant Bee keepers, those who move their hives to take advantage of areas with large numbers of flowering plants take bees to areas colonized by these invasive trees. Ben Powell, our state pollinator expert, says the downfall is that the tallow trees don’t allow for native vegetation that would bloom over long periods of time and provide nectar and pollen earlier when the bees need to beef up their colonies as spring arrives. He likened it to your investment portfolio – diversity is always a safer route to take. If we can limit tallow dominated acreage, pollinators can have a more balanced smorgasbord.

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.