Saturday, June 16, 2012

Stump the expert

One of our local radio stations has a weekday call-in show, and on Thursdays the subject is "outer spaces" with a local nurseryman as the main expert. I tune in when I can, but can never think of a question I need answered. Not that I know everything, but with Google at hand, I can usually find out what I need to know online.

Anyway, the other day, I thought of a question and quickly fired off an email while the show was in progress. (You can call, Tweet, FB, or email your question.)

I have a viburnum dentatum 'Blue Muffin' that barely produces any fruit. I've been told I need another species of dentatum to cross pollinate (so I planted a 'Chicago Lustre' on recommendation by others, including a nurseryman, without effect), I've been told no cross pollinator is necessary, I've been told I need another 'Blue Muffin'. Your opinion? And if I need another species of dentatum, what would you recommend?

The online consensus is, yes, you need a cross pollinator, a different variety of dentatum. What nurseries tell me (except for the guy who sold me the 'Chicago Lustre' which BTW does NOT bloom at the same time as the 'Blue Muffin') is no, I don't need a cross pollinator. This year the blossoms were untouched by frost, and still only one berry (if that) per cluster has formed. I would plant another dentatum if I could be sure it would help, but in general, they are not a favorite, primarily because the blossoms STINK - every time I walk by one in bloom, I wonder what died.

I also wonder if I need more pollinators, e.g. bees. The summers have been incredibly dry for several years and there are very few bugs in my backyard. I don't mind the lack of mosquitoes at all, but am concerned over how few bees I see. I have considered getting a hive myself, but while I like the idea of keeping bees, I am daunted by the work involved.

Anyway, the expert on the radio show flat out said he did not know the answer to my question, not without doing some research. At least he was honest.

1 comment:

Jason said...

What results in more berries on backyard shrubs is kind of a mystery to me. I have three black haw viburnum - two different varieties. Last year there were a modest number of berries. This year, no berries. Ditto spicebush, and I'm pretty sure I have a male and female among the five bushes. I have a whole bunch of grey dogwoods that failed for years to produce any berries. This year, berries galore. I'm sure there's a logical explanation for this, I just don't know what it is.