Contact Us Host an Event 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

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

Natural privacy hedge for Kyle Texas
January 06, 2014 - I am looking to make a natural privacy screen in the Kyle Texas area. I am being pointed towards Leyland Cypress by some and told to shy away from this tree by others. I found Green Giant Arborvitae a...
view the full question and answer

Problems with water oaks from Laurel MS
October 05, 2013 - The leaves on my mature water oak trees have been falling since the leaves matured. My area has had an abundance of rain this year, 11 inches above normal. All the trees in my area are doing the same....
view the full question and answer

Pruning non-native peach in Austin, TX.
June 18, 2015 - I planted two five gallon Texas Star peach trees last February but didn't have the nerve to prune them back to knee height. After having been convinced that this is a good thing to do, I'd like to k...
view the full question and answer

Wound in Monterey Oak from Austin
June 20, 2012 - I have a 10 year old Monterey Oak that has developed a wound that is secreting a white bubbly substance that has attracted all the bugs, like butterfly's , pill bugs, ants, and several others I don'...
view the full question and answer

Cherry Laurel for North Central Texas
May 16, 2010 - I want a small evergreen tree (approx 20'x 15')and would like to plant a Cherry Laurel. Would this be a good choice in North Central Texas (DFW area)? If not, any suggestions? Thank You.
view the full question and answer

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