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Mulberries from wild seedling  RSS feed

 
pollinator
Posts: 197
Location: Illinois USA - USDA Zone 5b
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I love raising fruit, and that has been a major focus for this homestead so far. We moved to our current place in July of 2013. The land was developed with a small house and outbuildings, but it had few trees - it was almost a blank slate. While I have planted many traditional fruit trees and shrubs, I have also planted some fairly non-traditional trees, shrubs and vines. One of my favorites are mulberry trees.

The week we moved in, we found a small mulberry seedling growing up against the house. It could not stay there, of course, and so we dug it up. We transplanted it to a spot near the chicken run. It was tiny and we stood over it after it was transplanted. My husband questioned whether it would ever get to any size during our lifetimes (we are older, but not extremely elderly). I laughed and said it would shade our chickens and provide fruit before he knew it, if I could keep it alive its first summer.

July is not prime tree planting season here in the Midwest, particularly not for a bare root transplant, and especially not for a bare root transplant that is not dormant. I was not entirely sure that I could keep it alive, let alone growing, but it did get some shade from the chicken yard in the late afternoon, and I watered it deeply once per week. It survived and even grew a little bit that first summer.

This past summer, 2018, I took a photo of it at 5 years from transplant. You can see that it is no longer a tiny twig that we stand over! Also in this photo you can see a newer mulberry seedling that I transplanted on the other side of the gate. I was so pleased with the first tree that I decided to transplant another volunteer seedling mulberry. As the years go by I expect our harvests will be quite substantial!



The young tree provides some shade for our chickens. Moreover, it provides fruit. As a wild seedling rather than a grafted variety the fruits are not large, but they are tasty. It fruits over a period of several weeks in the summer, which is nice for leisurely harvest. We eat some, and we feed prodigious amounts to the chickens.
 
Posts: 37
Location: Ohio 5b6a
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We  have a neighbor who has one and the birds have stole the seeds and planted them in quite a few places on our farm.  I was going to purchase some and while out walking one day I saw the different shaped leaves and looked them up.  Here I have 7 mulberries and I didn't know it.  Now I watch and try to get the berries before the birds do.  We do start all sorts of trees from seeds and sometimes forget what we planted.  This year I found a persimmons tree I must have planted 5-6 years ago.

Time does fly by. 12 years ago my 2 year old son and I planted 2 rows of red and white oaks at the end of our rotation pasture.  They were seedlings.  Now they range from 5-8 inches in diameter.  Couple more years and they will feed the cows and pigs.  Learning to stack functions is neat to see in the long run.
 
Myrth Gardener
pollinator
Posts: 197
Location: Illinois USA - USDA Zone 5b
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Christopher Shepherd wrote:We  have a neighbor who has one and the birds have stole the seeds and planted them in quite a few places on our farm.  I was going to purchase some and while out walking one day I saw the different shaped leaves and looked them up.  Here I have 7 mulberries and I didn't know it.  Now I watch and try to get the berries before the birds do.  We do start all sorts of trees from seeds and sometimes forget what we planted.  This year I found a persimmons tree I must have planted 5-6 years ago.

Time does fly by. 12 years ago my 2 year old son and I planted 2 rows of red and white oaks at the end of our rotation pasture.  They were seedlings.  Now they range from 5-8 inches in diameter.  Couple more years and they will feed the cows and pigs.  Learning to stack functions is neat to see in the long run.



Yes, the songbirds love mulberries too! We have mowed over quite a few, as I don’t have time to “rescue” and move every seedling that pops up in a bad place. But we do have a few growing along the fence line in the pasture. Those, I don’t try to harvest, prune, or treat in any way as an orchard tree. They belong to the wildlife, and are a free, no labor part of the hedgerow I envision, surrounding our pasture, one day.

Speaking of tree rescue and hedgerows, for a few years now I have been rescuing eastern redcedars planted by the wild birds. But that really should be the subject of another post - it is quite far afield from tree fruits. 😸
 
gardener
Posts: 5594
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Nice mulberry trees, we have two that we planted in 2014 courtesy of the State of Arkansas because of the tornado, they are now 8 inch diameter trunks that stand over 15 feet tall and they produced enough fruit for our birds and for us to have some to eat.
I have to prune some low branches this year and those will become new mulberry trees.

I'm still trying to find some huckleberry bushes and service berry bushes.
 
Posts: 76
Location: Central Indiana
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I love mulberries.  Our neighbors had one behind their fence row but when they fixed their fence the company that did it took the tree out.  I managed to grab quite a few berries and got some put in the ground and marked so i can watch for trees in spring.   Fingers crossed i'll get at least one tree.
 
Myrth Gardener
pollinator
Posts: 197
Location: Illinois USA - USDA Zone 5b
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I pruned the 5 year old mulberry tree last fall. I had previously done a little pruning on it, but I raised it more, to make it less shrubby and easier for mowing, etc. The branches went to my future hugelkultur pile (it's on my long To Do list). I will raise it more next year.

It leans because I did not stake it as a wee transplant. It is shaded by a barn to the west and thus wanted to head east before it grew taller than the barn. But it is nonetheless happy in that spot, producing heavily and quite disease free. I think the trunk gives it character.

The newer transplant is not shaded and is growing nice and straight.
20181022_110521.jpg
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Posts: 39
Location: Southeastern Louisiana
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That's a gorgeous tree Myrth! I'll have to see how mulberries do in my area. I'd love that sort of quick-growing low foliage in my yard.
 
master pollinator
Posts: 605
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, NC, US
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Great pictures Myrth!

That's awesome getting tasty fruit from the wild mulberry seedlings! I haven't found any wild seedlings in my area yet, and a lot of people have never even heard of mulberries around here.

I planted a few varieties this past Fall, so I'm hoping to enjoy some soon!
 
Myrth Gardener
pollinator
Posts: 197
Location: Illinois USA - USDA Zone 5b
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Thanks, Alexis and Steve! We get quite a few wild seedlings of various types volunteer around our property each year. I love finding them and, when I have the time, I will transplant them. They are well-adapted to our climate and growing conditions. And who can argue with free?
 
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