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 - 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

Looking for juniper trees (Juniperus ashei) for sale
December 05, 2008 - Does anyone know anyone that sells Juniper trees in pots - the central Texas kind.
view the full question and answer

Plants for oak shade from Whitney TX
December 24, 2012 - I live in Whitney, Texas and have a number of beautiful Live Oak trees in a portion of my yard providing deep shade. Asian Jasmine grows in about 5 ft circle around them and then nothing! I have walk ...
view the full question and answer

Transplant shock in Chinkapin oak from Copperas Cove TX
June 18, 2012 - I have a newly planted chinkapin oak, appx 14' tall, in the Copperas Cove TX area. It has done great for the first two weeks. Now the leaves are yellowing (June) and beginning to dry up. I water it ...
view the full question and answer

Trees for privacy screen
August 08, 2012 - Hello, We'd like to plant a privacy screen to hide our view of an adjacent apartment complex. Ideally the trees or other plantings might be a native species, and preferably they would eventually rea...
view the full question and answer

Galls on live oak trees in Austin, TX
April 14, 2005 - I am a resident of a condominium complex in Austin that has numerous Live Oak trees. Can you explain what the gall type things are hanging from the trees at this time of year and all over the grounds?...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center