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

Thursday - November 18, 2010

From: Bainbridge, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Pollinators, Propagation, Shrubs
Title: No berries on dogwoods in GA
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

I have 4 native dogwood trees. I have owned the property for 4 years. They have never produced berries. Can you tell me why? are the trees male and female, and could I have all males?

ANSWER:

Unfortunately, your description "native dogwood trees" is not precise enough as our Native Plant Database indicates that there are 5 different dogwood species native to Georgia.

Cornus alternifolia (Alternateleaf dogwood)

Cornus amomum (Silky dogwood)

Cornus drummondii (Roughleaf dogwood)

Cornus florida (Flowering dogwood)

Cornus foemina (Stiff dogwood)

Following these links to detailed plant information pages will help you identify which plant you have.  All these can develop into small trees but I suspect you have the most popular: Cornus florida.

Unfortunately, without seeing the plants, we can only hypothesize why your trees have not produced berries.  I assume they have been flowering or you would have mentioned that, so the problem is that the flowers are not being fertilized or the fruit is failing to develop.  Dogwoods are not dioecious the way hollies are, so the lack of a male/female is not your problem. 

With the declining bee population, pollination could be a problem, especially if the plants flowered very early before there were many pollinators around; but that is not likely to happen in four consecutive years.  More likely the problem is that the fruit is not setting or developing due to conditions or tree health.  Anthracnose in flowering dogwood has been a serious threat to this beautiful native tree.  It is more of a problem to trees in their native setting (shady, moist conditions) than in sunny, drier suburban lawns.

We recommend you contact your county agricultural extension service once you have identified your trees.  A phone conversation with an agent describing your trees and their situation will likely bring you an answer more easily than we can provide clues. They will be aware of problems that other homeowners in your county are experiencing.

 

From the Image Gallery


Silky dogwood
Cornus amomum

Silky dogwood
Cornus amomum

Roughleaf dogwood
Cornus drummondii

Texas baby blue eyes
Nemophila phacelioides

Roughleaf dogwood
Cornus drummondii

Roughleaf dogwood
Cornus drummondii

More Shrubs Questions

Cool, wet summer effect on evergreen sumac
August 28, 2007 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I have 3 evergreen sumac bushes that I planted as a screen between my house and my neighbors two years ago. They are located in a part of our yard that receives a lot of runof...
view the full question and answer

Request for seeds or cuttings for Malvaceae from French Botanical Garden
September 03, 2011 - hello We create a botanical garden devoted to the Malvaceae, can you help us by sending us seeds or cuttings? friendly the director jean-marie Jolicard botanical garden beaulieu 23170 LÚpaud F...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of shrub in Georgia
May 26, 2010 - I have a bush that has red berries. It is evergreen and the leaves are a soft green. The berries are white at first and turn red. The bush is like a cluster of twigs that are in one area kind of li...
view the full question and answer

Identification of wild shrub in Michigan
October 22, 2008 - I have what appears to be a wild shrub that I want to identify. It has green foliage and is bush-like. It is about 10' tall. This fall I noticed light red berries and thorns..after cutting it down...
view the full question and answer

Replacement for boxwoods in Ohio
February 26, 2014 - I want to replace my boxwood plants but I don't know what would be a good replacement. I have a hydrangea plant that is in the middle and I would like something to go on each side of the hydrangea. I...
view the full question and answer

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