Mulberry Tree Growing Instructions

Mulberry Tree Growing Instructions

If you see a mulberry tree in a wooded area or its distinctive berry-coloured stains along the sidewalk, you will likely not see a native red mulberry. It could be a white mulberry or a combination of both. The English brought white mulberry trees to North America in the early days of the American Revolution to help establish a silkworm industry in America’s young textile industry.

The silkworm’s favourite food is white mulberry, and the Colonies had enough land to plant the caterpillar’s feast. This grand plan fell apart, and white mulberry became a thriving species due to its easy germination and widespread spread. The red mulberry tree, which is also a popular choice for mulberry trees, is native to North America and seen less often.

Mulberry Tree Growing Instructions
Mulberry Tree Growing Instructions

Mulberry trees of any type make beautiful additions to landscapes. The red and white varieties and any hybrids produce berries that are strikingly similar in appearance to blackberries. They also have dark green leaves with serrated edges. You can plant mulberry trees early in the spring. They will quickly grow to heights of 10-12 feet within six years.

Botanical NameMorus spp.
Common Name Mulberry tree, red mulberry, white mulberry
Plant TypeTree
Mature Size35–50 ft. tall, 35–40 ft. wide
Sun ExposureFull sun, partial shade
Soil TypeRich, moist but well-drained
Soil pHNeutral to acidic
Bloom TimeSpring
Flower ColorYellowish-green
Hardiness Zone4–8 (USDA)
Native RangeNorth America, Europe
ToxicityMildly toxic to humans (when unripe)

Bright red berries from the Mulberry Tree are displayed on a branch of the fruit.

The mulberry tree in the middle of the field with bright green leaves

Closeup of bright and dark red mulberry berries

Mulberry Tree Care

Mulberries are easy to grow, even if you don’t have the best of thumbs. However, they may not be suitable for every garden. You should choose one of the many seedless cultivars, such as Morus alba “Chapparal,” a weeping variety and Morus alba “Kingan,” which is drought-tolerant and suitable for some drier areas.

Mulberry trees can grow very fast and have a lot of roots. It would help if you planted your tree away from important structures such as your driveway or foundation. Also, avoid features like utility lines, septic lines, and sewage lines. This will ensure that roots don’t damage your property. Also, consider the tree’s maturity and choose a location where the tree can produce berries.

Light

Mulberry trees can grow in full sun or partial shade. However, as with all fruiting trees, more sunlight equals more fruit. Mulberry trees will likely be taller once they reach maturity. Therefore, it is important not to worry about the light when planting your tree.

Soil

Mulberry trees can be adapted to clay, loam, or sandy soils. As long as there is sufficient drainage, they can handle it. Mulberry trees can also thrive in all pH levels, from neutral to mildly acids.

Water

To help establish strong roots, water your mulberry tree regularly and deeply after planting it. It is advised to water it at least two to three gallons per day for the first year. Mulberry trees can withstand drought once established. However, prolonged dry weather can cause a decrease in fruiting and early dropping of the berries.

Temperature and humidity

Mulberry trees can withstand temperatures as low as -25 F during dormancy, depending on their species. They produce the best fruit when temperatures are between 68 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

Fertilizer

Mulberry trees can thrive without much fertilizer, but they may benefit from an annual application. Use a balanced mixture of 10-10-10 and 1 pound fertilizer per inch for your tree’s trunk.

Mulberry Tree Variety

Morus alba: Also known by the name white mulberry tree or Morus alba, this species is the most widespread. Because of its blackberry-shaped, white fruits, it can easily distinguish it from other species in the genus. You can still find it in nursery shops in ornamental and sterile cultivars, suitable for planting.

Morus rubra is a native red mulberry tree that is quite short-lived. It has rough leaves twice as long as Morus alba and has a coarse, hairy underneath.

The fruit turns from a light green colour to a dark purple or red when it is ripe. It is often difficult to find red mulberry trees in the nursery trade.

Morus nigra – Black mulberry trees are 40 feet tall. They produce berries that are dark purple (almost noir) and quite large when they ripen.

Morus australis: Korean mulberry, the size of this variety is very small and can grow to 20-30 feet in maturity. The fruit is light green with a slight gloss and can range from nearly white to deep reddish and purple.

Morus centifolia, Texas mulberry trees, are native to the Southwest. They look more like a shrub than a tree and can grow to 25 feet in height. These edible fruits, red, purple, or almost black, are great for drawing wildlife to your property, especially birds.

Harvesting Mulberries

After three years, your mulberry tree should be producing fruit. When it does, you need to be ready for harvest. The berries will be ready from June to August. However, they won’t all reach peak ripeness immediately. The berries that are darker in colour will taste sweeter. Mulberries can be very tender and easily crushed. If the fruit falls to the ground, it can create a sticky mess. Make sure you collect it quickly to prevent any damage to wildlife or insects.

Handpicking, which can take a lot of time, and placing a sheet or tarp under the tree to give it a shake are two ways to pick mulberries. The unbruised fruit can be collected and prepared as jelly or jam. You can also freeze the berries for future use.

Common Pests and Diseases

Mulberry trees might have to deal with various pest problems, such as whitefly, scale and mealybugs. These bugs will not cause significant damage to mature trees. They are tough enough to withstand it. This is a good thing because it is difficult to treat a 50-foot tree. You can use a horticultural oil such as neem oil to treat an infestation of young saplings.

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