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 - September 30, 2009

From: Surrey, BC
Region: Canada
Topic: Trees
Title: Pacific dogwood not fruiting
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

We have a beautiful Pacific Dogwood in front of our balcony. In some years it has fruit (berries) but has not for the past two years. When it does, it becomes a magnet for Northern Flickers. Is the presence of fruit cyclical? I have heard the flickers' distinctive calls and they want to know where the berries are! Thanks. Birdman of BC

ANSWER:

There are many reasons that your tree may not be fruiting as abundantly as it did in the past.  You did not mention whether or not there has been a lack of flowering as well. Generally, dogwoods are not considered to be alternate bearers like apple trees are.

If it is not flowering, it is likely a cultural issue; either not enough nutrient, water or sunlight.

If it is flowering, but not fruiting, the issue is somewhat more complex. Perhaps the flowering cycle was "off" due to an early spring and the necessary pollinators weren't around yet or perhaps the general population of pollinators is down.  If the fruit is setting but not maturing, that is yet another issue.

Although I cannot really answer your question, I hope I have given you enough ideas that you may be able to figure out if you have a problem that can be remediated.  I highly recommend you contact your local agricultural extension service.  They will be able to tell you if there is a regional issue and will be able to diagnose a disease or cultural problem if you can take them a sample or a more complete description.

Agricultural extension is organized somewhat differently in Canada than it is here in the US and is provided by the agricultural colleges.  The easiest way to locate the service is by determining if there is a Master Gardener's association in your area.  They can point you to the help you need or recommend a reputable nurseryman in your area.

In the meantime, I hope your flickers find an alternate fruit source ... I have a Pagoda dogwood that was stripped bare by the birds about a month ago!

 

More Trees Questions

Possible identification of Post Oak in New Braunfels, TX
January 27, 2006 - I live 6 miles north of New Braunfels in the Hill Country and own 5 acres of land. The property consists of many escarpment live oaks, texas persimon, and ashe juniper. I believe I also have some Te...
view the full question and answer

Tree for little sun and clay soil in Brooklyn
January 07, 2011 - I need help choosing a specimen shrub or small tree for difficult city conditions. Its a tricky sun exposure only getting about two hours of direct sun at the hottest time of day with clay soil and in...
view the full question and answer

Planting ornamental cherries in GA
February 18, 2011 - What is the correct way to plant ornamental cherry trees in N. Georgia Mountain clay soil? Which is the hardiest variety?
view the full question and answer

Looking for fruit and nut trees to plant in San Augustine, TX
April 05, 2011 - I am setting up residence in San Augustine, Texas on approximately 9 acres of land. We wanted to plant a few of each type of fruit and nut trees that would prosper in the area (for wildlife and for o...
view the full question and answer

Law against planting cottonwood in Madison WI
October 08, 2013 - I was told that there is an ordinance against planting cottonwood trees in Madison, WI. Is this true?
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