En EspaŅol

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

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
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
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 General Botany Questions

Strange form of Dasylirion sp. (sotol)
December 27, 2008 - Mr. Smarty: I have a client with a huge (2 ft. diameter trunk), multi-headed dasylirion. On one or more of the heads, the leaves arch inward instead of outward. Someone said this is because of an inju...
view the full question and answer

Are Chickasaw plums evergreen?
August 13, 2014 - Are Chickasaw Plums evergreens? I've been very interested in planting a few but some websites say they are evergreens while others say the opposite. Furthermore, would I have to plant a male and fema...
view the full question and answer

Mechanism for Cenizo bush blooming before rain
October 04, 2006 - Why does cenizo (aka barometer bush) bloom before it rains?
view the full question and answer

Petals on Black eyed Susans not developing from Austin
September 04, 2012 - I just read Barbara Medfords response to undeveloped petals on perennial black eyed susans and was disappointed not to find a better explanation. I have had the exact same thing happen to mine, and I...
view the full question and answer

Seed for Kosteletzkya virginica, salt marsh mallow
January 13, 2009 - I have a nursery in North Carolina. We are looking for a reliable seed source for kosteletzkya virginica salt marsh mallow. We are www.campbellfamilynursery.com
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center