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Anyone grow Mulberry?

 
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These tiny colorful berries are good source of iron and vitamin C.
Mulberry.jpeg
[Thumbnail for Mulberry.jpeg]
[Thumbnail for Mulberry.jpeg]
 
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My grandmother's farm in northern Missouri had quite a few of them.  Does anyone know varietals that will work in zone 3b?
 
master pollinator
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I planted a Persian Mulberry this Spring and plan to plant more varieties in the Fall.  
 
gardener
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Alex Arn wrote:My grandmother's farm in northern Missouri had quite a few of them.  Does anyone know varietals that will work in zone 3b?



If any would do it it would be Northrop (sometimes spelled Northrup). I believe it's good to zone 3. That's its rating but I would definitely protect it when young

https://www.treepeony.com/products/northrop-mulberry
 
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I planted one last year, seems happy despite our extreme soil. Not big enough to fruit yet.
 
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I had a couple on my old property growing naturally. I have harvested them in the past and made a decent jelly but have had no success doing anything else with them like dehydrating. The lack of flavor and delicate buggy fruit would keep me from growing them intentionally, but the birds (including chickens) love them.
 
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I love Mulberries! Grew up eating them. We had a couple in a field near my house and every June we would sneak out and munch away. I am surprised by the people that don't know you can eat them.  There was a tree on the edge of the parking lot where I use to work and I was so excited about it. Every person I mentioned it too had no idea what I was talking about.  Oh well, more for me !!!lol    I would really like to grow some white ones so I could try and raise some silkworms but they are not allowed in my area. People are afraid they will cross with the native varieties and harm them. I wonder if you could grow them in a giant pot and keep them indoors or in a greenhouse?  
 
Alex Arn
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James Landreth wrote:

Alex Arn wrote:My grandmother's farm in northern Missouri had quite a few of them.  Does anyone know varietals that will work in zone 3b?



If any would do it it would be Northrop (sometimes spelled Northrup). I believe it's good to zone 3. That's its rating but I would definitely protect it when young

https://www.treepeony.com/products/northrop-mulberry


Thanks for the tip.  Ill plant some next spring.
 
Lyda Eagle
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would have been good if I had put this in my comment before .... sorry

Illinois Everbearing Mulberry
grows in zone 4 and can take temps to -25F
so it might be one you could try.
 
pollinator
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Maria,   I have a bunch but they are all immature.   I have a couple that are 6ft but no berries yet.  I can't believe those little mulberries have berries already.  Nice
 
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As I understand it, red mulberries and white mulberries are both native and highly resistant to popcorn disease.  However, they hybridize vigorously, and the hybrids are supposed to be (mostly) susceptible to popcorn disease.  Also, a lot of nurseries sell hybrids without saying so.  I have a whole line of mulberries and would like to hear feedback on this topic.
 
pollinator
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Alex Arn wrote:My grandmother's farm in northern Missouri had quite a few of them.  Does anyone know varietals that will work in zone 3b?



I didn't know this until recently when I was looking up some information about mulberries, but there is only ONE native mulberry in the USA -- red mulberry (Morus rubra). According to the USDA Plant database it probably won't do well in your area. It more or less stops in a north-south line from South Dakota to Texas. However, if you don't mind going to a non-native species, the white mulberry (Morus alba) has been introduced successfully in your neck of the woods and beyond. I don't know what the quality of the fruit is, but you could probably find cultivars easily enough through a nursery.
 
pollinator
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I have 2 young morris nigra (black mulberries) growing in my yard (here in Australia just called ‘black’, and it’s probably the ‘English’/‘Persian’ cultivar). The second is a dwarf and the berries are growing for the first time with the start of spring. Both produce fruit even at just 2 years old and they develop on the new growth, so you prune as much as you like and will get new berries each time new shoots grow! What’s wonderful is that the berries ripen at different times, so you can go to eat fresh berries every single day for months. As the tree grows bigger you’ll have more than you can handle (provided the birds don’t eat them all); it’s like having dozens of blackberry plants on a single tree.

Black mulberry is the best flavoured by far. My son thinks they’re blackberries. Most Australians have fond memories of very stained red hands and clothes from devouring them straight off the tree. With smaller and smaller plot sizes this has now unfortunately become an uncommon childhood experience, but I was determined my children get to experience it even though we only have a pretty small yard.

White mulberry (Morris Alba) has no flavour when fresh. At best it tastes like just sugar. It does dry the best though, and in Iran dried white mulberries are sold as a common dried fruit and if you’re a type of person who likes the taste of dried fruit you’ll love having them. I’ll grow one in a wine barrel one day, just for drying them. They grow into very large trees so I don’t have ground space; wish I did though.

I wish I could taste red mulberry (Morris rubra), but it’s an American native and they don’t sell it in Australia. I assume it won’t taste as good as black mulberry given that most people in the US have no interest in it.

Along with the white I’ll also buy a red shahtoot or Pakistan mulberry. Again it’s not as good as black, and has been described as less juicy and almost vegetable-like, but I’m curious anyway and going to try.

Mulberries are very strong trees and prolific producers. Anyone who has the space should have at least a black mulberry tree.
 
Deb Stephens
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Tim Kivi wrote:

I wish I could taste red mulberry (Morris rubra), but it’s an American native and they don’t sell it in Australia. I assume it won’t taste as good as black mulberry given that most people in the US have no interest in it.



I beg to differ on this one Tim! Red mulberries are delicious--way better than blackberries in my opinion. They are sweet and juicy and like the black mulberry, they ripen over a long season so you can eat them fresh for a very long time. I think the reason most Americans don't eat them (unless, like me, they grew up eating them) is that the majority of my fellow citizens don't even know they exist. Most Americans think food comes from a grocery store. If it isn't there or in some fast food restaurant, they don't see it as food. Sad but true.
 
pollinator
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Just planted one that was given to the university. Not sure the cultivar. I remember eating them when we lived in Kansas. Hoping to get a few more to fill in a bit.
 
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Mulberries are one of the three things that are tied for first place on my list of favorite fruits.

I have several of them growing wild on my property. They don't fruit every year, though, so I'll be adding some named cultivars eventually. I have noticed that the wild ones bear fruit depending more on stress than on the size of the tree. I've gotten berries off a tiny little sapling 2 feet tall, but that sapling only bore fruit the year after it survived a huge drought.

At one of my old jobs, there was an area behind the building that had run wild. The mulberries back there were covered in big, sweet berries every summer. I'd sometimes sneak in on the weekends just to pick them. When I'm ready to plant more trees, I'll probably grab a few cuttings from those, to see if it was the tree or the growing conditions that made them so productive.
 
Deb Stephens
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Ellendra Nauriel wrote:Mulberries are one of the three things that are tied for first place on my list of favorite fruits.

I have several of them growing wild on my property. They don't fruit every year, though, so I'll be adding some named cultivars eventually. I have noticed that the wild ones bear fruit depending more on stress than on the size of the tree. I've gotten berries off a tiny little sapling 2 feet tall, but that sapling only bore fruit the year after it survived a huge drought.

At one of my old jobs, there was an area behind the building that had run wild. The mulberries back there were covered in big, sweet berries every summer. I'd sometimes sneak in on the weekends just to pick them. When I'm ready to plant more trees, I'll probably grab a few cuttings from those, to see if it was the tree or the growing conditions that made them so productive.




I've noticed that mulberries are inconsistent fruiters (is that a word? ) as well. I've got one tiny tree--only about 5' tall when it started bearing (it's about 15' now) and several others that are much larger that have never born fruit. They are everywhere around here on our property and in the national forest next door, but I only find a few that consistently bear fruit and they come in every size, shape and condition. I'm not sure what the factor is that promotes fruiting but I sure wish I did so I could get more of them to fruit!
 
Ellendra Nauriel
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Deb Stephens wrote:
I've noticed that mulberries are inconsistent fruiters (is that a word? ) as well. I've got one tiny tree--only about 5' tall when it started bearing (it's about 15' now) and several others that are much larger that have never born fruit. They are everywhere around here on our property and in the national forest next door, but I only find a few that consistently bear fruit and they come in every size, shape and condition. I'm not sure what the factor is that promotes fruiting but I sure wish I did so I could get more of them to fruit!




If stress is the key, then swatting the branches with something might help. It sounds ridiculous, and I haven't tried it myself, but a friend who runs an orchard swears by it. She uses a rolled-up newspaper, but I've found other accounts of people using baseball bats, or just random fallen branches they found. I'd be hesitant to use something too solid, because it might do too much damage. But the trick is to do just enough damage to the tips of the branches, so it signals the plant that its in danger. Plants respond to threats by propagating, which in fruit trees means bearing fruit.

My friend uses this trick on trees in the orchard that are old enough to flower, but for whatever reason haven't started yet. She's used it on trees that were up to 10 years past their official bearing age, and every time they flowered the following year.

Again, I haven't tried this myself. But its on my list of things to test out someday.
 
Deb Stephens
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Ellendra Nauriel wrote:
If stress is the key, then swatting the branches with something might help. It sounds ridiculous, and I haven't tried it myself, but a friend who runs an orchard swears by it. She uses a rolled-up newspaper, but I've found other accounts of people using baseball bats, or just random fallen branches they found.



Sounds so MEAN! I'm not sure I could do that--I would feel so bad about it afterward.
 
Tim Kivi
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Deb Stephens wrote:I beg to differ on this one Tim! Red mulberries are delicious--way better than blackberries in my opinion. They are sweet and juicy and like the black mulberry, they ripen over a long season so you can eat them fresh for a very long time.



In that case it’s a no-brainer: people should grow all three (black, red, white)! And a few different cultivars of each is even better.

Black mulberry has no problem producing yields every single year. So if you want reliability then consider a black.

The only two problems of mulberries here are that when birds eat the berries they scatter red poop on peoples’ properties after eating them. The other is that mulberries have invasive roots systems, so keep them away from plumbing, paving and foundations. But that’s what makes them such tough trees.
 
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My plan is to plant a Pakistani mulberry, they seem to have large fruit, on a particularly steep slope point to help hold up the hillside. I'm not sure that I've ever eaten one, but that's okay, if I don't like them, somebody, something will. I'm trying to balance my food needs with the wildlife.
 
Tim Kivi
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About the only room I have left in my yard now is for half wine barrel planters by the brick wall. I think i’ll just fill them with different mulberry cultivars because they’re easy to grow, provide terrific shade in the summer, and they produce a lot.

I made a mistake earlier on the three species of mulberry. The three types are morus nigra, morus rubra, and morus macroura. It refers to the wood, not the colour of the berries.
 
pollinator
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I found a mulberry growing on my fence line.  Maybe in a year or two i can have a taste.  From the leaf it looks to be a rubra hybrid.
I have ordered a Miss Kim From England's Nursery which is my preferred source for alternative fruit trees.
 
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I grew up with a large mulberry tree in the backyard (Maryland). Not sure the variety, but the fruits were dark like a blackberry, and many silkworms were successfully raised on its leaves. :) It was a favorite project of our fourth grade class.

I did notice that the fruits were ALWAYS covered in tiny bugs like someone else mentioned. I want to say they were extremely tiny worms of some sort but my memory isn’t great. Does anyone know what they could’ve been and how to prevent/fix that? I’d love to have my own mulberry tree again one day.

Thanks all!

-Julie
 
Deb Stephens
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Julie Inmon wrote: I did notice that the fruits were ALWAYS covered in tiny bugs like someone else mentioned. I want to say they were extremely tiny worms of some sort but my memory isn’t great. Does anyone know what they could’ve been and how to prevent/fix that? I’d love to have my own mulberry tree again one day.
-Julie



NO, NO, NO!!! Those are NOT worms but part of the berry. (My mother used to think the same thing and it made me not want to eat them when I was a kid. Another one of those old folk myths!) Mulberries are actually compound fruits (technically a multiple fruit is called a syncarp) where each little round ball (the technical term is drupelet) is a fruit all by itself although they cluster together to form what we call the berry. Those thread-like things coming off the individual fruits are just the styles leftover from the super tiny flowers. Mulberries form catkins with each individual flower composed of a calyx with 4 sepals. They don't actually have petals like most flowers. So that is what you are seeing--not bugs or worms, but flower parts. Enjoy them, they're delicious!
 
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Has anyone eaten cooked mulberry leaves? I have eaten the tiger paw shaped young leaves with no ill effects.
 
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We have a type of mulberry growing here in El Paso as a by-product of the local Chinese silk industry from early in the last century.  These mulberries are either male or female.  The mulberry was subsequently banned here because the male trees throw horrendous amounts of pollen in the spring which cause allergies in most people by their sheer volume.  In the right light, look like tiny cannons going off.  The female trees of the same cultivar have large purple fruits by the gallon.  They are smaller than the male trees and can be sexed at an early age because the leaves are smaller from the get-go.  My recommendation if planning to plant mulberries is, if other trees are in the area for pollination purposes, plant only the female trees.  Also plant them where the stains from the fruit won't be a problem, although the birds will eat the fruit and also stain anything near the tree.  These trees live a long time given care and adequate water.  Not xeric but not too needy either.  Must not be pruned in the summer, only the winter, as a large yellow-and-black borer will attack the tree and eventually kill it or severely damage it.  Woodpeckers and flickers will help finish it off with their hunting for grubs and creating new wounds.  Also broken limbs may lend themselves to an ugly, difficult-to-treat weeping bacterial infection.  Any pruning should be followed by covering the wound with some type of anti-bug deterrent (tar for instance), as the borers smell the sap and lay eggs around the wound within minutes sometimes.  Should be planted fairly deeply as the roots will come up if not.  Male trees, allowing for their spring pollination of a couple weeks (depending on the weather), will eventually shade an area of about 50' around, making for great deep shade, but they will not get too tall by contrast with other large deciduous trees.  The leaves are edible and make ideal food for green iguanas (and probably other herbivores), especially the young leaves.  We also have the native mulberry growing in wet areas in the surrouding desert that has small berries and is altogether a bit smaller than the introduced tree.  
 
Tim Kivi
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Islamabad (Pakistan) is full of male mulberry trees as they were planted there as a design of the newly-established capital. The pollen there’s so horrendous that people die and they’re taking them all down.

I’ve never encountered a male mulberry. They’re a classic neglected backyard tree in Australia that just lives on and and keeps producing juicy, stainy black-coloured fruit.
 
Ellendra Nauriel
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Deb Stephens wrote:

Julie Inmon wrote: I did notice that the fruits were ALWAYS covered in tiny bugs like someone else mentioned. I want to say they were extremely tiny worms of some sort but my memory isn’t great. Does anyone know what they could’ve been and how to prevent/fix that? I’d love to have my own mulberry tree again one day.
-Julie



NO, NO, NO!!! Those are NOT worms but part of the berry. (My mother used to think the same thing and it made me not want to eat them when I was a kid. Another one of those old folk myths!) Mulberries are actually compound fruits (technically a multiple fruit is called a syncarp) where each little round ball (the technical term is drupelet) is a fruit all by itself although they cluster together to form what we call the berry. Those thread-like things coming off the individual fruits are just the styles leftover from the super tiny flowers. Mulberries form catkins with each individual flower composed of a calyx with 4 sepals. They don't actually have petals like most flowers. So that is what you are seeing--not bugs or worms, but flower parts. Enjoy them, they're delicious!




Ummm, unless those styles have legs and can crawl around, at least some of them are most definitely bugs!

I don't see them on every berry like Julie did, but often enough that I look carefully before eating one.
 
gardener
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Those "bugs" are most likely the larval stage of a member of the Drosophilidae family (fruit fly).
Dusting with DE might help deter the critters from multiplying further.
Drosophila are designed to locate fermenting fruit, they can detect ripening fruit too.

I have two 4 year old, 20 foot tall Black Mulberry trees and I have 4 volunteer Red Mulberry trees scattered around our farm.
We have been very fortunate to not have any Drosophilidae locate us YET! one day it will happen, that is just how the earth mother works.

Redhawk
 
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Jerry Davis wrote: Male trees, allowing for their spring pollination of a couple weeks (depending on the weather), will eventually shade an area of about 50' around, making for great deep shade, but they will not get too tall by contrast with other large deciduous trees.  



So... Is my thought correct, that the female trees don't grow as tall as male trees?

My first volunteer mulberry is male. No fruit. I have a longterm plan to graft a named cultivar onto it, maybe Illinois Everbearing. Will the roots make my tree as large as a male? I didn't choose its' placement, nature did. I really don't want a 50-foot tree at the corner of my garden. Ideally, I'm thinking 20 feet. I guess pruning will be another chore to get done this winter. Happily, my second volunteer is female.

What has been ya'lls experience with the age of fruiting wood? If I remember correctly when I pruned the female, it did not fruit the following spring. The wood needed to experience a winter before fruiting the following year.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Mulberry fruits on new wood so no problem with pruning.
Peaches, pears and plums fruit on second year wood so when you prune those, they don't fruit the next spring.
To always get fruit from pruned trees follow the rule of 1,2,3 pruning. You prune 1/3 of the tree as deeply as you want, next you prune 1/3 of the tree 1/2 way back and the third 1/3 is simply end trimmed.
Over a three year period of pruning you will have pruned all the branches but the tree will have born fruits for you all along the way.

Our mulberry trees don't exhibit any sex orientation, all of them fruit massively which allows us to gather mulberries as well as them feeding the birds.
Every year but this one, hummingbirds have built nests in the mulberries, figs and even the pear trees.

This year after leaf fall, I have to do a hard pruning to all our orchard trees, except the plums, they aren't big enough so far to need severe pruning to fit their space.

Redhawk
 
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Many the mulberries growing in cities all over the eastern U.S. are actually the Asian "white mulberry" which can actually have red or purple berries. http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=d439

We had three large specimens in our backyard when we moved in; they cast very dense shade and almost nothing else grew in the yard for that reason. They also are INCREDIBLY productive.  When they fruit for a couple weeks in July we have a carpet of fruit inches deep on the ground which attract a lot of flies along with other wildlife.  So we cut two down and built furniture from them, and left one in the back of the yard for shade and fruit.

I have used the fruit for juice, popsicles, jams, baked goods in the past.  However, compared to I mostly leave them for the birds and squirrels now.  The taste of the mulberries is all right, but harvesting the very soft fruit from a tree as tall as a house I would end up with a lot of smashed fruit contaminated with bird and squirrel droppings, plus infestation with thrips or other little buggies.  

I think to get a good clean harvest, pollarding the mulberry would be the way to go, so you could pick them standing on the ground.
 
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Ben Schiavi wrote:Has anyone eaten cooked mulberry leaves? I have eaten the tiger paw shaped young leaves with no ill effects.



I have not eaten them but have used the dried leaves and berries in TCM tonics. They are an ingredient in a sleep aid that I brew. They are also used in a number of other TCM brews http://www.shen-nong.com/eng/herbal/sangye.html
 
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I was very surprised at the tuffness of the mulberries i planted. I ordered a few trees and they were very small. I was thinking there was no way they would survive the watering schedule i could provide.  I planted one in a raised bed near my house so it could grow and i would relocate it the following year. The following year came and i needed it gone to plant something early. I dug about 12" of very thick root which was amazing.  It went a lot further down, i just couldn't get to it. I set the tree off to the side and forgot about it. It sat exposed for a few freezes (overnight freezes). When i finally planted it i figured i had killed it so i didn't spend much time on it. I stuck it in a depression on a slope. I layed a log in front of it like a dam and filled it with woodchips.

It's growing well.
 
Dennis Bangham
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Megan Palmer wrote:

Ben Schiavi wrote:Has anyone eaten cooked mulberry leaves? I have eaten the tiger paw shaped young leaves with no ill effects.



I have not eaten them but have used the dried leaves and berries in TCM tonics. They are an ingredient in a sleep aid that I brew. They are also used in a number of other TCM brews http://www.shen-nong.com/eng/herbal/sangye.html



I found out that Mulberry Leaves have some melatonin.  What other ingredients do you add?  I may make some extractions.
thanks
 
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I had one I was happy to see survive. Then a kid stepped on it and yeah, no mulberry now. lol
 
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I planted one black Mulberry and never got fruit then the birds planted two right next to each other and I found out one male and one was female the female bears fruit every year the mail just flowers and pollinates it they are black and the birds love them and plant them for us we enjoyed them.  Everyone has purple souls on their feet when the season is ripe! btw we ended up digging our kitchen  grey water system to lead to near the roots of said Mulberries and they love it!
 
Tim Kivi
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Anyone tasted the less common red shahtoot and Pakistan mulberry? I’m surprised that at my local Rare Fruit society I can buy some trees like highly desirable figs for just a few dollars yet when it comes to mulberries they’re all around $45, so I haven’t taken the plunge, especially as the black mulberry is widely regarded as the best of all. Even so i’m still eager to taste them.
 
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I have two Dwarf Everbearing mulberries that just went into the ground. They are actually clones of clones that I bought for cheap on Amazon a few years back. I planted the parents into the ground and sold the house before getting any berries from it. They fruited in the pots I had them in... totally neglected though.

I just got a Shangri La and a Illinois Everbearing in the mail a month ago. They are up-potted till next Spring. Going into the garage along with my first round of Figs I just got in the mail as well.

I look forward to seeing the rapid growth and eating the fruit. I had some amazing "wild/naturalized" Pakistani types that I found as a child. Always wanted my own since then...

I drove by the old house at the beginning of Summer and the "Dwarf" trees had tripled in size in the year since I left. Looks like they love ultra compacted clay!
 
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