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

Baby blue-eyes
Nemophila phacelioides

Roughleaf dogwood
Cornus drummondii

Roughleaf dogwood
Cornus drummondii

More Shrubs Questions

Shaping cenizo in Duncanville TX
October 02, 2009 - Our Silverado Sage, which we expected to be 4' to 5' high and wide based on the label when we purchased it about 10 years ago, is nearly 7' tall and very random in shape (not the evenly rounded sha...
view the full question and answer

Dead woody plants in wildlife garden in Austin
March 02, 2011 - I am an enthusiastic and pretty successful wildlife gardener, have studied my Wasowski "Bible", but I can't get any evergreens established in my yard! We live on blackland clay, which I amend with ...
view the full question and answer

Selecting a tree for a backyard in San Antonio, TX
May 11, 2013 - Hello Mr. Smarty Plants, I recently moved into a home in West San Antonio right outside Loop 1604..my treeless backyard is fairly small at about 55 ft long and 15 ft wide. I am torn because I can't ...
view the full question and answer

California plants poisonous to dogs from Sacramento
July 01, 2012 - Found dodonea viscosa purple. Is it poisonous to dogs? Also Gold Star Potentilla. Going drought tolerant and need small trees, shrubs and plants not poisonous to dogs for sun and partial sun.
view the full question and answer

Evergreen for privacy screen in Northern California
October 19, 2012 - Hello, My neighbor just logged their property and we need a very quick growing evergreen shrub/tree (for privacy of ugly cabin) that grows to at least 10' -15' tall. We live in northern Cal. about ...
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