Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

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!

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

History of hybrid Hibiscus Davis Creek from Cary NC
August 22, 2010 - Re: Hibiscus Davis Creek. Can you tell me this hybrid's history? H. coccineus H. militaris perhaps?
view the full question and answer

Blooming but not berrying American bittersweet from Pendleton IN
May 29, 2013 - I have had a bittersweet plant for years, it blooms but not berries. How do I tell if it is male or female so I can buy the opposite? It is currently blooming.
view the full question and answer

Are freshwater sponges poisonous if eaten by a dog?
September 25, 2009 - Are freshwater sponges, native to Missouri, poisonous if eaten by a dog?
view the full question and answer

Will a Venus flytrap bite?
December 01, 2008 - Will a venus flytrap bite a person? Taylor
view the full question and answer

Alleotrophic effects of caffeine found in Ilex species
January 24, 2007 - I'm doing research for my biology class on the alleotrophic effects of caffeine. I'm planning to use Ilex vomitoria as the caffeine-producing plant. As the control I want to use another non-c...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.