En Español

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

Consumption of carbon dioxide from South Korea
December 07, 2011 - I am curious about what flowers consume CO2 for growing (especially 1-year life flower). Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Determining male/female wax myrtles
March 06, 2009 - We are planning to use Wax Myrtle as a screen plant, and want to be sure that we are successful in having berries for the birds. We have read that berries are only on the female plants. When we aske...
view the full question and answer

Comments on article in Austin paper
January 22, 2012 - Why can't we comment on your piece in the Statesman? It says no comments possible at the bottom.
view the full question and answer

Is a height of 5 to 8 feet forOenothera biennis (Common evening primrose) normal?
August 30, 2014 - I have identified a version of Evening Primrose Oenothera biennia L. In my yard, Livonia Michigan. These plants range in height from 5-8+ feet. Is this typical? The references I find indicates 3-5 fe...
view the full question and answer

Are Cuscuta spp. (dodders) in Cuscutaceae or Convolvulaceae?
March 13, 2012 - USDA plant database has the species Cuscuta in the CUSCUTACEAE FAMILY; you have it in the CONVOLVULACEAE FAMILY. Which is correct? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center