Christmas tree growers might not realize that the diverse mixes of groundcovers growing underneath their trees provide important habitat for pollinators. Pollinators which are responsible for an estimated 75% of the average food products that we eat each and every day!
Dr. Jill Sidebottom, with NC State University’s Christmas Tree Program, and county agents are working on a pollinator study specifically looking at tree farms in Watauga, Ashe, Allegheny, Avery and Mitchell counties.
The study will follow these farms for an entire year, taking data on the mix of specific plants growing under the trees, what’s flowering and when, and what types of pollinators and other insects are observed. This study is unique in that the majority of the fieldwork is not actually focused on the Christmas trees… but rather what’s growing underneath them!
The best practices specific to the Christmas tree industry on pollinator protection and conservation which result from the study will help tree growers and beekeepers collaborate to sustain pollinators.
Adapted from Christmas Tree Pollinator Study, Watuga County Cooperative Extension Blog 7/9/2012