How to Grow Beautiful Mulberry Trees.
Mulberry Trees are members of the Moraceae family, which includes figs, breadfruit, and sassafras trees. They offer so much value to their grower but require very little attention and care. Mulberry is a fast-growing temperate tree; it produces many fruits every year, is resistant to most pests, and will remain disease-free year after year.
Variety and Species
There are about 68 species in the genus Morus family. We find most of these in Asia. However, there are four dominant species found in the United States, namely:
Red Mulberry (Morus rubra): It’s a medium-sized tree with a short trunk, broad and rounded crown. Leaves on the Red Mulberry tree can be up to 8 inches long. Its leaves turn bright yellow during fall. Flowers and fruits on the Red Mulberry are very similar to those found on its white counterpart. However, the deep red and almost black fruit is very distinct, growing to about 3/4 to 1 1/4 inches long.
White Mulberry (Morus alba): Native to China and used for medicinal purposes and silkworm food. Its roots, leaves, bark, and fruit are also widely used in herbal medicine. In traditional Chinese medicine, White Mulberry acts on each set of pathways in the body along which vital energy flows, i.e., heart, liver, kidneys, lungs, and spleen. It aids in the treatment of anemia and constipation to prevent colds, flu, cavities, and premature gray hair. The cultivation of the White Mulberry is widespread across the world. These places comprise the United States, Mexico, Australia, Turkey, Iran, and Argentina.
White Mulberry: is a source of natural remedies in treating various disorders and diseases, including diabetes, arthritis, sore throat, flu, common colds, constipation, high blood pressure, cough, muscle, joint pain, etc.
Paper Mulberry (Broussonetia papyrifera): An invasive species in the United States imported from Asia. It has made its home in countries including Taiwan, China, Japan, Korea, Burma, and India. In addition, it grows in parts of Europe, the United States, and Africa as an introduced species. This variety spreads aggressively.
Black Mulberry (M. nigra): The family of Moraceae is dominant in the United States. However, this tree is native to Southwestern Asia, where it called home for centuries. Its hairy leaf surface can quickly identify the Black Mulberry.
Climate and Location
Mulberry plants thrive in USDA Hardiness Zones 5-9. This plant is well known for spreading. Hence, it will be ideal for locating them where you would like to establish a wooded area in a relatively short period, i.e., five years or less. Mulberry plants are also known to spread fast so that you can install a few tree colonies with minimal effort. Keep in mind that the black, red, and paper varieties can grow up to 35 feet tall or more depending on the care provided, and they live well over 100 years. The White Mulberry’s sibling can get to about 70 feet tall or slightly higher in ideal circumstances.
Planting and Care
Mulberries trees thrive and grow well in well-drained, fertile soil and tolerate various soil conditions except for wet or waterlogged soils. They are known for their ability to withstand drought and salty soil conditions; this makes them ideal for planting in various areas, including the seaside and urban communities. Mulberries prefer well-drained, fertile soil and tolerate any conditions except wet soils. They withstand drought and salt conditions, making them good urban or seaside planting. Mulberry plants enjoy and do exceptionally well under the sun’s full glare but will also tolerate light shade. When planting, it will be best to allow 25 to 30 feet of space around each plant and avoid over-watering, as this will quickly kill off the plant. They tolerate a pH range of 5.0-7.0.
Pruning trees will establish a healthy and vibrant branching structure and prevent a situation where you have too many branches in very close proximity to each other. When the Mulberry plant is secure, very little pruning will be needed.
How long do mulberry trees produce fruit
Mulberries trees bear ripened fruits in early summer, and this typically continues for two-to-five-week intervals. A well-established and matured tree can yield several fruits in a season. Mulberry fruits are pretty easy to pick and, sometimes, way too easy to pluck from the tree. Fruit is amazingly delicious when picked fresh from the tree and eaten. You can use its fruit to make delicious jams, syrups, marmalade, juice tarts, jellies, and wine. They can also be dried and eaten as a snack and added to your oatmeal cookies and muffins. Mulberries are one of the ingredients added to the kombucha drink.
Pest and Diseases
Mulberries face a couple of issues other than winter damage. Young trees can be vulnerable to cankers. Cut cankers off and burn them as soon as you discover them. Mature trees are less susceptible to cankers. Mulberries fruits are also vulnerable to ‘popcorn’ disease. It is a situation where the berries bulge, making it look like popped corn. The best prevention for this kind of condition is to gather and destroy affected fruits.
Growth and Maturity.
After planting, Mulberry trees begin producing fruit for approximately ten years. The variety of the plant will determine the color of the fruit. The primary colors of this plant are white, black, red, purple, and sometimes pink.
The fruits are highly nutritious; they are a rich source of vitamins, including Vitamin C, K, K, and E; and minerals including magnesium, potassium, and iron.
White Mulberry leaves are a vital source of nutrition for silkworms. In China, the cultivation of White Mulberries for the production of silk dates back thousands of years.
Interesting Mulberry Facts:
You can use Mulberry fruits in pies, muffins, and pastries. Additionally, you can pluck ripe fruits and consume them right from the plant. However, keep in mind that certain varieties of Mulberries do not produce any fruits and are grown for ornamental purposes. Mulberry leaves are oval with toothed edges. The leaves change colors from green into a yellowish color during fall.
These trees can grow to heights of about 30 to 80 feet. White Mulberry is the largest among the variety, while Black Mulberry is the least popular variety.
The Mul-berry fruit is a collective fruit of several tiny fruits filled with a single seed dissimilar to raspberries. The stem of the Mul-berry fruit remains centrally in the fruit after harvesting.
Mulberry plants produce male and female flowers on the same tree or separate trees. Flowers are greenish or cream, arranged in a manner intended for wind pollination. There are a variety of Mul-berry species that can produce fruit without being pollinated.
Linking Mulberry trees to evil spirits is popular in Germany. This belief stems from specific ideas that the devil is fond of the Mul-berry tree because he uses its root to polish his boots. In the ancient Roman empire, they used leaves of White Mul-berry to treat certain diseases of the mouth and lungs. Native Americans have used Mulberries as a laxative and to cure certain infections of the intestines. The food and fabric industry uses the color pigments in the Mul-berry fruits as coloring agents; meanwhile, the colors in the fruits, primarily black, red, orange, purple, and blue dyes, are first isolated from the fruit and then used as a coloring agent. In the wood industry, they give preference to the wood of this tree as its light and ideal for manufacturing fence posts and barrels. Another widespread use of the Mul-berry trees involves its branches; they use them to manufacture baskets. In ideal conditions, Black Mulberry can survive and produce fruits for hundreds of years.