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Can You Treat Evergreen Trees So They Will Not Produce…

Marcenne Asked

Can you treat evergreen trees so they will not produce pine cones?

The Gardener’s Answer

Hello, Marcenne: Plants that produce pine cones are considered conifers. This group of plants is known as gymnosperms. These woody plants are most commonly evergreen trees but there are some smaller shrubs as well. The cones they produce are actually organs necessary for reproduction. The female cones contain seeds inside of them. The males cones produce pollen and are usually much smaller than the female cones. When the cones become mature they fall off and break open or break down, allowing the seeds inside to be dispersed either by wind or sometimes birds, depending on the species. So, to answer your question, there is nothing you can spray or treat your plants with to make them not produce cones. This is their survival tactic and unless the tree or shrub is no longer living it will continue to produce cones. For the home gardener this can become a maintenance issue, but nothing a rake and a little time won’t cure. You can give them to your friends for holiday decoration or cover them with peanut butter and seeds for the birds to enjoy!

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