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

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 Pollinators Questions

Non-blooming or fruiting Oregon grape holly in Elmhurst IL
May 14, 2010 - I have an Oregon grape holly bush that has never bloomed and has never had fruit. I have had the bush for at least 6 years, it is approximately 5 ft tall. Have had no problems, just no flowers/fruit....
view the full question and answer

Pollinating Pawpaws
February 06, 2013 - We have many good sized pawpaw trees in our area but they never bear any fruit. I've checked them at different times in the fall over the years but no fruit. Someone told me that the flowers were po...
view the full question and answer

Butterfly and Pollinator Plants for Indianapolis Garden
June 23, 2015 - I live in Indianapolis, IN and would like to have a native garden. I'd be especially interested in plants that help butterflies and bumble bees. There's a fairly dry area on the west side of the hou...
view the full question and answer

Flying insects attacking yucca flacida in Wilmington NC
June 11, 2010 - How do I treat flying insects from eating the flowers on my Yucca Flaccida shrub.
view the full question and answer

Pollination of Fendlera rupicola
July 17, 2014 - How/by what is Fendlera rupicola pollinated?
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center