The magnificent mulberry is an underappreciated plant. It's simple to cultivate and produces a delicious fruit that goes well with anything from wine to sorbet. Mulberries have a reputation for being dirty and invasive, so some people avoid them. That isn't fair since it all depends on where you plant and what your objectives are.
We'll teach you how to make mulberries work for your area if you're thinking about growing them. Mulberry tree fruit resembles an extended blackberry and comes in sweet and sour varieties.
They're challenging, fast-growing, and consistent producers. Mulberries may be used as a dye and have therapeutic properties. The wood may also be used for fence and furnishings.
How to Grow
Mulberries have a negative reputation in part because they are planted in the incorrect places. Because some types have staining berries and roots that may extend up to 100 feet or more, don't plant them near your sidewalk, driveway, irrigation system, or patio. Plan since the trees may grow huge — some white types may reach 80 feet tall. In strong winds, the branches might become fragile and fall. That's why it's a good idea to grow a mulberry near a cattle pen. The fallen twigs and berries are a favorite feast of chickens, pigs, and goats.
Although they require full sun, several kinds do well in partial shade. Regular trees should be spaced 20-25 feet apart, whereas dwarf trees should be spaced 10 feet apart. Mulberries like wet, well-drained soil with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5. Dig a big hole that is at least twice the size of the root ball, with lots of compost and peat mixed in. Mulberries may be grown in pots if you don't have enough room in your yard. Choose a dwarf option and place it in a large container. Buying young trees is the most convenient approach to cultivate mulberries.
Mulberries may be found locally, in tree catalogs, or on the internet. Cutting plants is also a viable strategy. In the early summer, trim a 12-inch branch with at least three buds. In improved soil, plant the entire branch 3-inches deep. Keep the soil wet for a month or until shoots appear. Once these sprouts have grown to be 4-inches tall, transplant them. Seedlings may occasionally be seen growing on the ground in untamed regions if you're fortunate.
Birds will consume the berries and then scatter the seeds on the ground, where they will germinate and develop into trees ready for transplantation. Seeds may reproduce the plant, but it will take an additional three years for the plant to bear fruit. Gather many berries from a friend's or a wild tree and soak them for 24 hours.
Remove the seeds from the liquid and store them in a plastic bag with a wet paper towel in the refrigerator for 90 days. Seeds may also be ordered via catalogs. Plant the seeds at least 4-inches apart in potting soil. It should take 14 days for them to sprout. Mulberry grafting may be challenging. The most reliable approach is bench grafting in the spring. Mulberry graft unions are susceptible to cold. Therefore they should be overwintered in an unheated but sheltered location for the first few years, such as a garage or basement.
Things To Consider
Fertilize the mulberry tree every 7 to 10 days, either on the soil or directly on the tree as liquid fertilizer, to promote maximum growth and development. Mulberry trees must be pruned to prevent them from becoming bush.
Unlike those growing in the ground, Mulberry trees planted in pots do not need as much trimming. Mulberry trees are trimmed in the winter when they are dormant or after the fruiting season.
Pruning may also be done regularly to remove dead or diseased branches. Mildew, root rot, and leaf spot are all diseases that afflict mulberry trees. By avoiding overwatering the plant and maintaining sufficient drainage, you may prevent the occurrence of these diseases.
Mulberries are related to figs and breadfruits and belong to the Moraceae family. The red variants are from North America, while the purple and white types are from Asia. In 1621, hardworking settlers transported mulberries from China to Virginia in the hopes of establishing silk commerce. The industry failed to take off, but the trees survived.