According to bee expert Heather Holm, there are a plethora of native plants that either bloom at the same time as dandelion or weeks earlier. These plants have ranges in the Midwest and northeast, and the list includes the following:
Trees & Shrubs
Native willows, Salix spp.
Red maple, Acer rubrum
Red elderberry, Sambucus racemosa
Native currants or gooseberries, Ribies spp.
American plum, Prunus americana
Chokecherry, Prunus virginiana
Native viburnum, Viburnum spp.
Native dogwood, Cornus spp.
Serviceberry, Amelanchier spp.
Prairie smoke, Geum triflorum
Pussytoes, Antennaria neglecta
Golden Alexanders, Zizia spp.
Wild lupine, Lupinus perennis
Pasque flower, Anemone patens
Marsh marigold, Caltha palustris
Woodland Perennials / Ephemerals
Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis
Dutchman's Breeches, Dicentra cucullaria
Native violets, Viola spp.
Jacob's Ladder, Polemonium reptans
Large-flowered bellwort, Uvularia grandiflora
Wild geranium, Geranium maculatum
Bishop's cap, Mitella diphylla
Virginia bluebells, Mertensia virginica
To learn more about sustainable wildlife gardening, check out some 200 articles or try one of these 5 online classes.