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Growing Mulberries Naturally

 
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Steve Thorn wrote:I'm looking into possibly black locust, jujube, and roses in a combination with lilac, agastache, and hyssop for strong smelling plants to hopefully deter them.



I've been looking for something I can plant that will give me something to flavor kombucha with. Blueberries don't do it for me. I know some people use rose hips, and now I'm wondering about jujube. What do they taste like? Ison's carries them, and I've been pleased with the quality of other plants I've bought from them.

I've been thinking about planting some Jostaberry plants: https://www.isons.com/shop/berry-plants/specialty-berry-plants/jostaberry/

 
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Diane Kistner wrote:I know some people use rose hips, and now I'm wondering about jujube. What do they taste like?



I haven't planted one yet, but hope to this Fall. I've heard it tastes like a sweet and slightly mealy apple and are best dried.

Should be interesting.
 
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Planted my first mulberry. Donated to the university, but I've taken responsibility for all donated trees after they killed about 100 I had gotten donated, through dumb neglect (no accommodation for the dry season and no protection from goats). Now I plant and fence every one and cut open white plastjc shopping bags to serve as sun shades on the west side of each young tree.

Anyhow, my mulberry is a rooted cutting that had a tiny berry on it when I got it, so I should be getting fruit very soon. Should I pick off flowers or fruit when I see them for the first 6-12 months for it to get better established, or does it really matter?

Mine is a weeping variety that I'm really excited to have, but I don't know the name. I'm sure it's somewhere. I'm excited to eat the fruit, but even more for the chickens and bunnies.

It's great seeing everyone's progress. I'm learning a lot about plants I've never grown before!
 
Steve Thorn
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Priscilla Stilwell wrote:Planted my first mulberry. Donated to the university, but I've taken responsibility for all donated trees after they killed about 100 I had gotten donated, through dumb neglect (no accommodation for the dry season and no protection from goats). Now I plant and fence every one and cut open white plastjc shopping bags to serve as sun shades on the west side of each young tree.



I've had to protect mine too Priscilla, from deer instead of goats though.

I bet you wouldn't have to worry about using the plastic bags to shade the trees, the big leaves on mine seem to cast a lot of shade, especially if you don't prune.

I leave mine growing naturally around the base of the plant for the most part, which provides some extra shade and polyculture benefits.

Anyhow, my mulberry is a rooted cutting that had a tiny berry on it when I got it, so I should be getting fruit very soon. Should I pick off flowers or fruit when I see them for the first 6-12 months for it to get better established, or does it really matter?



It really helped mine when I picked off the developing fruit this first year. It was struggling, being so young and trying to ripen the fruit. When I removed the fruit, it really exploded with growth about a month or two later.

Mine is a weeping variety that I'm really excited to have, but I don't know the name. I'm sure it's somewhere. I'm excited to eat the fruit, but even more for the chickens and bunnies.

It's great seeing everyone's progress. I'm learning a lot about plants I've never grown before!



That's exciting, I hope you have some tasty mulberries soon!
 
Steve Thorn
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I love how mulberry leaves look. I get relaxed just walking through the food forest and seeing them. Maybe it's because they look slightly tropical.
Tropical-looking-mulberry-leaves.jpg
Tropical looking mulberry leaves
Tropical looking mulberry leaves
 
Steve Thorn
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This praying mantis up in the mulberry reminded me of a ninja for some reason.
Ninja-praying-mantis-in-a-mulberry.jpg
Ninja praying mantis in a mulberry
Ninja praying mantis in a mulberry
 
Steve Thorn
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A few of the baby mulberries from my largest mulberry tree. This is just its second growing season and there are a handful or two of mulberries forming on the tree right now.
Baby-mulberries-forming-on-a-two-year-old-mulberry-tree.jpg
Baby mulberries forming on a two year old mulberry tree
Baby mulberries forming on a two year old mulberry tree
 
pollinator
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I started some mulberry cuttings this year.  A few survived but learned it may be better to just stick them in the ground in early winter.  I now have 3 World's Best (Dwarf) and one Hicks to put in my backyard. I will put the dwarf between my current fruit trees (Asian Persimmon and Asian Pear).  
Found a wild one just outside my fence but I think it is a male.
 
Diane Kistner
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Dennis Bangham wrote:I started some mulberry cuttings this year.  A few survived but learned it may be better to just stick them in the ground in early winter.  I now have 3 World's Best (Dwarf) and one Hicks to put in my backyard. I will put the dwarf between my current fruit trees (Asian Persimmon and Asian Pear).  
Found a wild one just outside my fence but I think it is a male.



I didn't realize mulberries have males and females. I planted a number of red mulberry cuttings I got from a friend who started them last spring. They seem to be doing well. My plan is to pollard them at about six and a half or seven feet when they get big enough. That's what my friend did, and she had glorious trees that the deer didn't demolish with plenty of fruit for the picking.

I'm in Athens, Georgia. I planted a Hana-Fuyu persimmon from Ison's Nursery in late winter that still has not started to bud out yet. They said not to worry, that theirs don't break bud until late May, early June. I hope they're right and it's not dead. What type do you have, Dennis?

 
Dennis Bangham
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You can always graft another mulberry onto what you have.
I planted a Hana early last year and it is well underway in leafing out.  
Scratch the bottom bark off, that is above the graft, to see if you see green. If you see nothing but brown, it is dead. I lost two Mansamoto this year.  
I started some Giant Fuyu from seed so I will replace with these.  I am hoping one of them is a male so I can get more seeds.
 
Diane Kistner
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Dennis Bangham wrote:You can always graft another mulberry onto what you have.
I planted a Hana early last year and it is well underway in leafing out.  
Scratch the bottom bark off, that is above the graft, to see if you see green. If you see nothing but brown, it is dead. I lost two Mansamoto this year.  
I started some Giant Fuyu from seed so I will replace with these.  I am hoping one of them is a male so I can get more seeds.



It still looks green, so I'm hopeful. Let me know how your Giant Fuyus do! I've never grown persimmons of any kind before, so this is an adventure for me.

 
Steve Thorn
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Dennis Bangham wrote:I started some mulberry cuttings this year.  A few survived but learned it may be better to just stick them in the ground in early winter.  I now have 3 World's Best (Dwarf) and one Hicks to put in my backyard.



I've heard good things about those varieties, exited to see what you think about them when you get some fruit.

Were those varieties from the cuttings, and how did you do your cuttings that did survive?
 
Dennis Bangham
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I did them from cuttings but tried several different methods and because of this had high failure rate.  This time, I put them in a small plastic greenhouse with a pond fogger and humidistat.

I wish I would have just stuck them in the ground. I did some goumi that way and it works great.
 
I am now using a pork rind bucket (humidity tent) and small 5 inch plastic pot for future. I can exhale into the bucket before putting it back on.  So it is either CO2 or pork rind breath that helps.
 
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Oh My Stars... I rip out at least 30 seedlings a year and feed them to my goats. I have an old tree on my property and each year the birds drop the seeds every where. If I don't get to them when they are a foot tall by September I'll be digging out a 4' tree with a tap root from hell. Wish I could send you all some.
 
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Steve, if you have time, could you please post some update on the mulberry trees too?

I bought two kinds of mulberry seedlings from hirt's last year, one Pakistan and the other drawf everbearing. They both grew vigorously in ground. The Pakistan mulberry even grew up to 8 ft tall with multi branches of half to one inch thick. But they all died back to the ground in winter and grew back from rootstock since mid May. I found very few information of how they grow in zone 6b. I would like to read about other people's experiences growing all kinds of mulberry trees.
Thanks in advance.
 
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Yeah I'll be glad to May!

Don't worry, you're not alone with the mulberries dying back. Two of the three I planted last year died back, and one of those didn't grow back from the roots.

Illinois Everbearing may be one to look into. It seems to be more cold hardy.

I'm also hoping to find and taste test some native mulberries and try to find good tasting ones to propagate and grow, since they should already be very adapted to the local climate and easy to grow.
 
May Lotito
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Thank you, that's helpful.
I do see several big mulberry trees in a local park. And they produce very early, ripening in middle of May. But the fruits are also small, just the size of my finger nail. I tasted one, typical mulberry, not super sweet or sour. I guess I can take a cutting or scavenge some fruits off the ground.
 
Dennis Bangham
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Diane Kistner wrote:

I'm in Athens, Georgia. I planted a Hana-Fuyu persimmon from Ison's Nursery in late winter that still has not started to bud out yet. They said not to worry, that theirs don't break bud until late May, early June. I hope they're right and it's not dead. What type do you have, Dennis?



I have a Jiro and a Hana.  Both are well leafed out and the Jiro has a lot of fruit.  Squirrels are a problem for me.  I am about to plant two Giant Fuyu and a regular Fuyu.  My Mansamoto both died but the root stock remains so maybe I will learn grafting next spring.
 
Steve Thorn
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The tall mulberry produced about a handful of berries this year. Here are two unripe ones near the top of the tree. I'm thinking that it will produce a ton of berries next year!

It has been growing really fast this year also, gaining about 3 feet in height already this year, and producing multiple branches that have also grown about 3 feet long also. It is a huge tree for being planted less than two years ago.

My other mulberry that died back to the roots is also growing very fast this year. It's grown about 3 feet, maybe 4, already this year. Hopefully it'll survive the winter this year.
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May Lotito
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Steve, what variety is your tree? It looks a lot like mine with those big leaves.
 
Steve Thorn
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The taller one is supposed to be Illinois Everbearing and the other one is supposed to be Pakistan. Haven't got any fruit (the birds got the handful of fruit on the taller one this year) yet to know for sure though.
 
Steve Thorn
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The two mulberries at the top are getting pretty big and the top one is starting to turn darker. Maybe the birds will leave these for me to get a taste this year.
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Steve Thorn
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I love how the branches and leaves look on this mulberry tree.
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Steve Thorn
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This mulberry grew back from the roots after dying back this spring. It's getting some height now, and the leaves are huge on this one and a really nice dark green color.
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So, do any of you mulberry enthusiasts eat the leaves?
I tried some raw,  too tough., not tasty.
Dried they make  nice smelling powder, but that's as far as I have gone.
I throw my trimed off branches  to the chooks, but I don't know if  they are eating the leaves,  or just shredding them.
 
Steve Thorn
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I haven't tried any of the leaves yet, I keep forgetting to taste them.

I wander if different varieties have different tasting leaves?
 
May Lotito
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Any follow up on the two precious fruits?

Look like the mulberry shoots is going to outgrow the cage pretty soon.
 
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Last year I experimented on 3, 3-year old trees.  One I coppiced (cut at ground level), one I pollard (kept one stem and only one stem at shoulder hight, and one I left and trimmed the dead branches when the buds started to swell.  

The coppiced one SHOULD do better from everything I've read, but it was the last to leaf out in the spring and is still smaller than the other two.

The pollard one was second last one to leaf out.  About a week after the not pruned one.  It's doing okay, but the top of the pollard died off, and it branched out all up and down the stem as well as from teh root.  So it didn't do the thing I had hoped it would.

The one I left leafed out earliest and has more than twice as many leaves as the other two combined.


But that is what happened one year in my climate on an unusual winter.  So I need to do some more experiments to get a better idea of what works in my climate.
 
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May Lotito wrote:Any follow up on the two precious fruits?



I got to harvest one!

I don't think this fruit harvester was made for such small fruit, but it worked!

A very small first harvest, but still very tasty, and I was impressed with the flavor! It was sweet with a good balanced flavor.

The other one is still ripening on the tree, I hope to get a second taste test from that one too!


Look like the mulberry shoots is going to outgrow the cage pretty soon.



Yeah I probably need to make the cage a little bigger, they grow so fast!
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Steve Thorn
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r ranson wrote:Last year I experimented on 3, 3-year old trees.  One I coppiced (cut at ground level), one I pollard (kept one stem and only one stem at shoulder hight, and one I left and trimmed the dead branches when the buds started to swell.  

The coppiced one SHOULD do better from everything I've read, but it was the last to leaf out in the spring and is still smaller than the other two.

The pollard one was second last one to leaf out.  About a week after the not pruned one.  It's doing okay, but the top of the pollard died off, and it branched out all up and down the stem as well as from teh root.  So it didn't do the thing I had hoped it would.

The one I left leafed out earliest and has more than twice as many leaves as the other two combined.


But that is what happened one year in my climate on an unusual winter.  So I need to do some more experiments to get a better idea of what works in my climate.



That's an interesting experiment!

From what I've seen, pruning can make the tree more prone to freeze damage or disease, so I'm trying to let them mulberries grow without pruning as much as possible. The one that produced fruit hasn't been pruned. It grew straight up its first year, and has put out a lot of nice side branches this year without being pruned.

Interested to see how it turns out!
 
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My primary goal for mulberries is to produce as many leaves as possible for growing silk.  I have a selection of several different types (and lost the tags so I don't know which is which) which all seem to have different growth patterns.  

We also kept two trees to grow tall without pruining as they should be the ones with the big berries.  
 
May Lotito
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r ranson wrote:Last year I experimented on 3, 3-year old trees

So I need to do some more experiments to get a better idea of what works in my climate.



Great jobs on the experiments and thanks for sharing. Unexpected results are valuable, they make you think harder.

I supposed you pollard/copiced the trees in winter.  Does that mean considerable nutrients were still stored in the branches and lost due to the cutting?  Or chlorophyll exiting in the bark still carry out photosynthesis to support root growth?

My first year tree had die back in the top 1-2 ft whole winter. The lower parts still look viable and woods were pliable to bending. It tried to leave out in spring time as I saw new buds forming up on the side branches. But it failed and new growth started from the base. I kept the old branches all the way till new shoots were a few inches tall. I guess that give the tree time to reroute the nutrients. By that time old branches were all dead and dried up. Besides, new ones are growing very vigorously, I am expecting them to regain the 8 ft height later this month.

I am also blaming the dieback to bad weather. It suddenly dropped to freezing temperature, didn't let the tree to get prepared.  

Looking forward to more experiments and good news from you.
 
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i did the pruning in march, which is the "correct" time for my area.  Ill try the incorrect time next year.
 
May Lotito
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Not sure if you've seen this but check this out

https://permies.com/t/116581/Easy-DIY-fruit-picker#947871

The PVC one seems pretty neat.
 
Steve Thorn
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I don't think I had seen that before, that pvc one does look neat!
 
Steve Thorn
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This big leafed mulberry had its smaller shoot nibbled on by a deer, and now the main shoot is really growing fast and putting on a lot of new growth.
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I planted a mulberry last fall, it’s doing very well and getting to be taller by the day. It has not flowered or produced any berries. Do I need two trees to produce a fruit?
 
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That'a a good question Melissa, and welcome to Permies! If you purchased a named variety mulberry it will produce fruit by itself and doesn't need a pollinator.

Some wild trees however can be either male or female. The female trees will produce fruit, but the male trees won't.

Mulberries are kind of interesting in that they'll produce fruit without being pollinated, but to produce viable seeds that will grow into new trees, they have to be pollinated.
 
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