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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Wednesday - July 25, 2007

From: McKinney, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Diseases and Disorders
Title: Non-fruiting squash
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

With all this rain in Dallas why would our Zuchinni and Yellow squash be beautiful and green but not produce any squash?

ANSWER:

The first question Mr. Smarty Plants would ask is are there any flowers? No flowers, no fruit. The flowering process is complex and may be influenced by factors such as temperature and mineral nutrition. With all of the rain this spring, temperatures have been lower than normal over most of the state. This could delay flowering. The ratio of nitrogen to phosphorous in fertilizer that you use may also be a factor. Higher nitrogen tends to stimulate vegatative growth, while higher phosphorous enhances flowering. Since you mention beautiful green plants, you may look into this.

If you have flowers, the problem may be a lack of pollinators. Honey bee populations are declining across the country, and they are sorely missed by farmers and gardeners. Members of the squash family (Cucurbitaceae) are not wind pollinated, and must have a pollinator. The University of California at Davis has a very informative article about this problem, and explains how you can become a pollinator yourself.

 

 

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