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Weeping Mulberry vs. Persian Mulberry--which one has a longer season?

 
Nicole Alderman
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Hi all!

We just bought both a weeping mulberry and a Persian mulberry. We want to plant one of them close to the house (zone 1 or 2) for ease of picking berries. We found a place where the berries won't be staining everything, but only have room for one tree. We'd like to plant the one that has a longer fruiting season so we have easier access to the berries.

Aaaaanyway, I've searched the web, but I can't find any information as to the length of these species fruiting season. Does anyone know which has a longer fruiting season?

Thank you!
 
Dillon Nichols
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I can't definitively state the season for either, but I have some secondhand info.

I have a 'black persian' mulberry, but it hasn't borne any fruit yet. There seems to be a lot of vagueness in terms of cultivar names, so this may or may not be the same as you have; there are also white persian mulberries.

Black mulberries in general should have a fairly lengthy fruiting period starting in mid-late summer.

It looks like weeping mulberry is a Morus Alba, white mulberry, species. From what I have read, Alba and Rubra, and hybrids thereof, should be ready for harvest by late spring.

You might also consider tree size; a black persian should top out at 30+ feet, while the weeping mulberry apparently might top out somewhere between 9-15ft depending on cultivar.

Are you trees marked as to Morus Alba, Rubra, or Nigra?

You could always try grafting between them, later!
 
Nicole Alderman
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I went outside with my flashlight to read the labels on the trees. The Black Persian is Morus Nigra, and the weeping on is Morus Alba Pendula. I'm confused by the term "white" mulberry. Quite a few websites I'm reading say that morus alba is a white mulberry, but my mulberry already has a little black berry on it. Can a "white" mulberry not actually be white? If it's not white colored, does it stain (I know some of the darker varieties like the Pakistan mulberry don't stain)?

Hmmm, upon further reading, I'm finding out that the morus alba pendula might not even taste that good, reportedly having an insipid taste. Anyone have any experience with this? We might just have to put the Persian near the house, regardless of season, if it's the one that tastes good...
 
Dillon Nichols
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Mulberry naming is really confusing; the Alba/Morus/Nigra(White/Red/Black) distinctions do NOT reflect the colour of the berries! Alba/'White Mulberry' berries can be white or lavender/purple, right through to black. I am not sure how much variation in fruit colour the Morus and Nigra types can show.

I have no idea about staining, I was assuming anything dark stained...

I have no direct experience with Morus Alba Pendula, but I was under the impression that it's generally treated as an ornamental.
 
Ethan Kolasinski
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Hello. I have both Teas Weeping mulberry and a Persian mulberry. BOTH BERRIES ARE VERY TASTY, with the Persian berry having a much bolder flavor, with a more sweet/tart complex taste. The weeping tree fruits about a month or two before the Persian. So far, my weeping tree has produced far more fruit. Both are about 4 years old. I suspect the Persian will eventually produce more fruit as it gets bigger, but that may take a few more years. The fruiting season of both are approximately the same as far as length of season, with the Weeping producing edible fruit around May 1st, and the Persian about a month to six weeks later. The Pendula weeping mulberry tree is also a beautifully ornate and original looking tree. Plant it where it can be viewed year round. I like to prune it into a mushroom shape in winter. It looks awesome! I am also training it to be a natural "fort", where one can hide inside the tree, and also pick fruit from within. It is my favorite tree of all that I have. Alba, Rubra, and Nigra refer to the hue of the bark, not the color of the fruit. Hope that helps if it's not too late (you may have already planted).
 
Nicole Alderman
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Thank you, Ethan! I ended up buying both a black Persian (Morus Nigra) and a weeping mulberry (Morus Alba Pendula), planting the weeping one by my pond in hopes it will grow and weep over the pond. That's really great to know about the bark colors. I had noticed that the persian's bark was darker, but hadn't known about the connection. That's great to know! I'm also excited to hear that both bear yummy fruit for a long time. Mine did not grow much last year, hopefully only because I planted them in late May, during a very dry and hot summer (for us). I'm hoping they'll do much better this year!

Do you give your mulberries any sort of amendments? I'm wondering if there is anything I can do to help them be happier. Thank you!
 
Dylan Mulder
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Would anyone happen to know just how small you can keep a mulberry tree and still get fruit?

I'm lucky enough to live in a region where morus rubra and morus alba are the most commonly occuring fruit tree in the wild. I know of a few choice wild specimens that I've been eating fruit off of since I was a young fool, and while I'd like to establish some cuttings from them, these are seriously large trees! Some are so tall, the only way to get any fruit is to wait for a strong breeze and pick them off the ground! Space is in high demand, and I don't relish the idea of picking tiny fruits atop a ten foot ladder.

I saw that Baker's Creek is offering dwarf morus nigra, which they claim will produce at a height of six feet.

What about morus rubra, and other morus species? Does it take a naturally dwarfing specimen? Can they be kept bush sized with just pruning? Are they grafted onto a dwarfing rootstock?

Edit: Also, I can confirm that morus alba has insipid fruit. Most wild morus alba I've encountered have entirely flavorless fruit. The rare ones that do have flavor tend to just be tart/astringent. In contrast, most every morus rubra I've encountered has delightful fruit (the rare few are very very tart!)
 
John Polk
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Also, I can confirm that morus alba has insipid fruit.

Yeah. My parents had one in their yard for 30 years. Never grew over 6 feet tall.
The berries were so boring that I quit picking them after the 2nd year.

Mulberries are good to grow in the vicinity of cherry trees.
The birds will eat ALL of your cherries unless there is a nearby mulberry tree which they prefer.
(However, if the albas are insipid to us, I would guess that they might not be preferred by the birds either.)
 
Dillon Nichols
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Would anyone happen to know just how small you can keep a mulberry tree and still get fruit?


I would expect min size to vary based on cultivar, since some stay small on their own.

I haven't done it, and I do not know what compatibility issues there may be, or what success rates are like, but grafting to a smaller/dwarfing variety is apparently not uncommon, so you might try that as a solution to your space issue.
 
nancy sutton
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Just a thought... Mike at Burnt Ridge Nursery near Morton, WA... would have good advice on growing/eating characteristics of mulberries, here in PNW. He did say that you can prune them mercilessly, and they bounce right back.
 
Dylan Mulder
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Dillon Nichols wrote:I would expect min size to vary based on cultivar, since some stay small on their own.

I haven't done it, and I do not know what compatibility issues there may be, or what success rates are like, but grafting to a smaller/dwarfing variety is apparently not uncommon, so you might try that as a solution to your space issue.


I found this in one of my old books, which sheds some light on compatability.

"Propagate the native varieties of mulberries by planting their seeds. To propagate named varieties, take either softwood cuttings or hardwood cuttings from wood grown in the previous season. Weeping mulberries are grafted on mulberry seedlings. Usually seedlings grown from the white mulberry (M. alba), a native of China, or the red (M. rubra), an American native, are considered the best for grafting." Lewis Hill, Secrets of Plant Propagation.

nancy sutton wrote:Just a thought... Mike at Burnt Ridge Nursery near Morton, WA... would have good advice on growing/eating characteristics of mulberries, here in PNW. He did say that you can prune them mercilessly, and they bounce right back.


Thanks for this, I spotted this right on their website.

"Grown freely they can achieve the stature of a nice shade tree or with annual pruning they can easily be maintained as a bush since the fruits are produced on the new growth. "

So it seems they can be kept small through a combination of grafting to dwarf rootstock and hard pruning, or perhaps, just hard pruning. I think I'd like to put some plants in the ground and find out the hard way.



 
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