Can anyone verify if mulberries are NFTs? Some weeks ago I dug up a couple of dormant, suspected, baby mulberry trees that were growing too close to my parents' house (the roots are bright orange, so pretty sure they're bird/squirrel planted mulberries).
As usual, I messed up with keeping the soil around the root ball, so I got a good look at the roots, and noticed they were covered in nodules, just like the local mimosa & other leguminous trees.
I am still learning about the different nitrogen fixing trees in my area, and was only aware of cottonwood being a non-legume NFT around here, so am wondering if I can add mulberry to my list, or if these just have some disease I should be aware of... I planted these two trees by the chicken & pig pens for a source of future food & shade, but there are some smaller ones that I haven't yet dug up, and considering planting those in the forest garden and around the other planting areas as a source of biomass & (possibly) nitrogen.
Thank you, in advance, for any knowledge/info!
Apparently paper mulberry has a symbiotic bacteria that does fix nitrogen..
"The research team used a technique known as comparative genetics and discovered that the paper mulberry tree also develops a complex set of flavonoids. The compounds help a plant's roots attract nitrogen-fixing bacteria such as Pseudomonas and Rhizobia, which boost growth in the leaves and stems.Feb 28, 2019"
Well, shucks. A brief web search informed me that the paper mulberry, while edible, is not considered an actual "fruit tree." They also come in male & female specimens, and propagate via seed, suckers, or damaged root pieces (per Wikipedia); though wiki didn't mention the nitrogen.
*Thinking out loud*
I suspect the 2 I dug up are likely the same gender, as they were growing in the same place, but there must be trees of each sex in the area since there's, what I assume are paper mulberries, widely distributed across 7 acres (that I've explored), though I haven't seen a mature tree (yet).
On the plus side, any fruits I do get should be able to supplement feed for the pigeons, doves, poultry, and pigs. Plus the leaves as forage material (allegedly up to 20% protein - dry matter). Then there's the nitrogen fixing a biomass for mulching to consider, so I suppose, for now, the positives outweigh the negatives for letting them grow; particularly since 2 of my annual goals are to produce more biomass & animal food on-site. If they try to "run" via suckering, I can always set up a paddock around them and let them pigs & geese take care of it.
But I sure was hoping for a free fruit tree...
I have some paper and some regular on my land and we eat off both varieties.
The paper have been allowed to get tall and so are a bit tough to harvest from. But we shake the branches and the ripe berries fall. I havent found them to be terribly aggressive in spreading. The only downside so far is the silk moths are attracted to them. And that can be a plus or minus. I tend to remove the cocoons to protect my other fruit trees, but there are other thoughts on how to benefit from their presence.
In general, I'd consider paper mulberry an asset particularly where some shade would help with soil / understory development.
I do think grafting could be good, but also just shaping them while young so you can reach the fruit.
Excellent, thank you for sharing your experience! I feel much better about planting them as a resource around the property. I'll probably dig up the other seedlings from my parents' place to transplant here. Hopefully that'll give me at least one male and a few female trees. 🤞
Solar Station Construction Plans by Ben Peterson -- ebook