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

Sunday - August 01, 2010

From: Mt Pleasant, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Dogwood under a black walnut in Mt.Pleasant MI
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Can I grow red or yellow twigged dogwood near a black walnut?

ANSWER:

You can plant a Cornus sericea (redosier dogwood) anywhere you choose; whether it will thrive or even live more than a year or so under a Juglans nigra (black walnut) is another question entirely. Both are native or near your area of Isabella County, in central Michigan, USDA Hardiness Zones 4a to 5a.

The problem, as you may know, is a characteristic of black walnut to emit juglones, substances intended to discourage or prohibit competition from other plants. We found an excellent article from  Virginia Cooperative Extension Black Walnut and Allelopathy which fully explains this procedure. Even plants some distance away can be affected because every part of the tree exudes the juglones, including roots which may extend 3 times the size of the crown. However, this same article had a chart of plants that were resistant to the effects of allelopathy, including trees and shrubs. On this chart of resistant plants "dogwood, flowering" was listed. There are 14 members of the genus cornus, dogwood, native to North America, and all of them appear to us to be flowering including Cornus sericea (redosier dogwood).

Therefore, we are assuming that it would indeed be okay to plant the dogwood in the area of the black walnut. If the dogwood does fail to thrive, you can always blame moles or bugs or too much rain or too little rain, just don't blame the researchers or Mr. Smarty Plants. 

From the Native Plant Image Gallery:


Cornus sericea

Cornus sericea

Juglans nigra

Juglans nigra

 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Small shrubs for flower bed in Denton, Texas
September 16, 2009 - I have a small flowerbed that faces south on the front of my house. What small shrubs would be best in that situation?
view the full question and answer

Wound from non-native date palm thorn Naples FL
November 12, 2012 - Was trimming my pygmy date palm when a frond fell and a thorn pierced my rubber gloves and stuck me in the web of skin between my thumb and forefinger. Did not see a broken thorn but area where struc...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Simsia calva from Albuquerque NM
January 27, 2014 - Hi - I was given some simsia calva seed from the LBJ wildflower center. It doesn't have a lot of info about starting the seeds, so any help is much appreciated! I tried starting some outdoors last ye...
view the full question and answer

Plants that will grow on the Connecticut coast
June 08, 2010 - I live on the coast in Connecticut and have a hard time growing plants here. I live about 1/2 mile from the beach and find that my soil is very rocky. The only plants that have done well in my yard ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native bougainvillea in Beaufort SC
July 06, 2011 - Bougainvillea-Can I grow these in Beaufort SC?
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