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Name: Steve
Status:  other
Age:  40s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 1999-2001 

I have a lovely hickory tree that deposits approximately 3,000 large hickory nuts in my yard every year. None of the nuts are any good due to the fact there is not another hickory tree in the area to pollenate.

Is there any way to stop this tree from flowering every spring as to decrease the massive number of nuts we pick up every year, one at a time? Years ago a "fad" existed where a tree could be fertilized and pesticided through an injection in the tree truck using applicators. These applicators stayed in the truck all year and a small amount of product seeped into the tree, as needed.

I do not know what these applicators are called, but I was wondering whether something like this could be used to make this tree defertile.

Sorry, no such method to stop fruiting except for removing all the flowers or taking down the tree.

Anthony Brach, Ph.D.


I do not have any information on the 'defertilization' technique you suggest, but I thought I might provide some information regarding the hickory's reproduction.

In my estimation, the hickory nuts you see are not simply infertile because there is not a tree for cross pollination. A silvics book I consulted confirms that some hickory species' nuts are only 70-85 percent viable. I suspect that fertilization is occurring even lacking a cross pollinator, and that approximately 70-85% of the nuts could germinate given good conditions. The remainder of the nuts (15-30%) are non-viable, possibly due to some genetic or physical defect.

Because the hickories are monoecious, both female and male flowers occur on the same tree, so the trees can be self-fertile; a cross-pollinator, therefore is not required for reproduction.

Thanks for using NEWTON!

Ric Rupnik

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