Explore Plants

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Search Smarty Plants
    
 

Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - May 06, 2009

From: Chattnooga, TN
Region: Southeast
Topic: General Botany, Trees
Title: Why will my Butternut trees not produce nuts in Tennessee?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I have 2 butternut trees planted about 20 ft from each other. I see the long blossoms on each tree but I have not gotten any nuts from either tree. I do not know if I have a male and female or if they are both male or both female. What do I need to do the get nuts from these trees? Thank you for your time and answer.

ANSWER:

The butternut Juglans cinerea (butternut)  is also known as the white walnut, and grows in well drained soils of hillsides and stream banks from Tennessee in the south, west to Missouri, and across the northern tier of states to Maine.

The plant is monoecious which means that both male and female flowers occur on the same plant, although they may not open at he same time. Since you have two trees, the absence of a pollinator should not be a problem. The article from the Western North Carolina Nature Center says the the commercial seed bearing age is 20 years. You didn't tell me the age of your trees, so this may be the root of the problem.

There are other factors involved in fruit production including availability of water and nutritirients, and the Hamilton County Extension Office should be able to help you with these.

Here's website about a problem that is killing Butternut trees throughout their range, Butternut canker.

 

More Trees Questions

Dying branches on Texas Mountain Laurel from Kempner TX
September 14, 2012 - The branches on my Texas Mountain Laurel are very dry and brittle. The leaves are also starting to die. The tree has been in my yard for six years and prior to that it sat wrapped in burlap for ov...
view the full question and answer

Lopidea texana nymphs and adults feeding on Mountain Laurel in March
April 04, 2006 - What is the species name of the bright red bug (Miridae) nymphs and adults that are feeding on Texas Mountain Laurel leaves at this time (March 24) at the Wildflower Center?
view the full question and answer

Caterpillars on catalpa trees and hardiness of catalpas
May 23, 2007 - A volunteer catalpa tree has recently popped up near the edge of our swimming pool. The foliage is lovely, so I'm considering allowing it to stay. This one has already proven to be a fast grower . ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of tree in California
May 02, 2012 - A medium-size tree with shiny green leaves toward the bottom and garnet red ones toward the top of the tree. The leaves are narrow with saw-toothed edges. There are clustered small white flowers with ...
view the full question and answer

Native wild plum trees for Johnson County, Texas
December 24, 2012 - What native wild plums will grow in southern Johnson County? And where can I find the trees locally? Thank you
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.