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Newbie question re Mulberry Tree

 
Lila Wiese
Posts: 2
Location: Cleveland, GA, Planting zone 7b, USA Latitude 34.59, GA red Clay, Avg. Rain fall 64"
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I'm trying to learn my way around and hope I'm doing this right. If not, someone please advise me. My question has to do with a small Mulberry tree I just purchased this week. It seems I waited too long to locate a Mulberry tree of the size I wanted so at a local nursery, I found two small ones and went ahead and purchased one, knowing they grow fast, and wanting to be sure I didn't miss out entirely this year. On each of the trees they had, the trunk had been somehow broken about two inches above the soil line and there were two side shoots about 2-3 feet tall. The owner of the shop said if it were hers, she would cut one off and stake the other to make it the trunk. It sounded logical to me but when I got it home, my husband said it won't produce fruit. I'm wondering if I should return it. Can anyone please tell me if this tree is worth keeping? Thanks so much!
 
Casie Becker
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Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
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I'm not hearing anything that should prevent the trees from producing fruit. If it only bears on year old wood (like peaches) then you may miss one year of production.

I'm wondering why the nursery owner would remove one branch? Is this was being grown primarily as a shade tree? Otherwise, I would view the lower branching as a good thing. Train both branches to grow out angled away from each other and both branches will produce fruit that is closer to your reach rather than just the lower limbs of one branch.

When I was a child there was one old mulberry tree in our neighborhood which had three or four massive trunks which I suspect started much as your branches are now. It produced abundantly for a long season every year, and was a prime climbing tree as well providing great shade.
 
Lila Wiese
Posts: 2
Location: Cleveland, GA, Planting zone 7b, USA Latitude 34.59, GA red Clay, Avg. Rain fall 64"
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Thank you, Casie! I grew up with a terrific Mulberry tree in our yard that I also loved climbing and eating the fruit from. He mentioned it being a side shoot and thus being non-productive, but since I am unschooled at this time in side shoots, I wanted to check on here. Your memory of that particular tree may be just what I needed to hear!
 
Dillon Nichols
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The modestly sized mulberries in a local food forest seem to have been treated this way, and are classic round single-stem fruit-tree shape. So, if I were to ever make it there while they have fruit on them, I can't reach a damned thing without a ladder. The upside is the bulk of the tree is out of reach of deer.

My own young mulberries are deliberately being pruned for multiple trunks from close to the ground, since I anticipate them living inside a fence for a while. If they need to be revised to deer-resistant plans, this will probably involve multiple trunks. I see plenty of blossoms on the side shoots...

This page suggests morus nigra at least can be pruned in a variety of ways while still bearing well: https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=642
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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hau, Lila. Mulberry trees are fast growing and will fruit after 2-3 years, single trunk trees can grow to 40 feet tall and 40 foot spread, pruning will keep them to a manageable size.

I would air layer the extra side branch to get another tree from the one you mentioned.
Multi trunk mulberry is a great way to get the size you want along with more berries in a shorter time period.
The mulberry can be found as single trunk, multi trunk and bush types. The bush type is actually just a multi trunk.

As to how fast they grow, we planted two one year old trees and their first year they put on 2.5 feet of growth in height and the trunks went from 1cm in diameter to 4 cm diameter in that first year.
These trees are in their 3 year of life and we should get our first berries next year (their third year in our soil).
One of the things most folks either don't know or have forgotten about fruiting trees is that from seed sprout to first fruit is normally around 6-7 years.
You might see fruit sooner but you will also see a lot of fruit drop in those early years, root systems need to develop enough to support fruit before you will see less fruit drop.

Fish emulsion is one of the best fertilizers for fruit trees. P and K are needed more than N for optimal fruit tree growth and fruit set.

 
alex Keenan
Posts: 487
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Mulberry popup everywhere on my property. I like to cut the main trucks as they grow to force them to spread.
A tall growing mulberry like the wild one I have mostly feeds the wild birds if it is too tall to pick. The closer to the ground the branches the better chance of me picking them or them falling to my chickens.
 
John Walsh
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I assume they are grafted? If they are "broken", do you mean broken at the graft? If the shoots are below the graft, they are not guaranteed to produce fruit. Most Mulberry is dioecious and a seedling rootstock has a 50% chance of being male. No fruit, just pollen.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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John Walsh wrote:I assume they are grafted? If they are "broken", do you mean broken at the graft? If the shoots are below the graft, they are not guaranteed to produce fruit. Most Mulberry is dioecious and a seedling rootstock has a 50% chance of being male. No fruit, just pollen.


I've never seen a grafted Mulberry at any nursery.
 
Todd Parr
Posts: 572
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:
John Walsh wrote:I assume they are grafted? If they are "broken", do you mean broken at the graft? If the shoots are below the graft, they are not guaranteed to produce fruit. Most Mulberry is dioecious and a seedling rootstock has a 50% chance of being male. No fruit, just pollen.


I've never seen a grafted Mulberry at any nursery.


Same here. I did a google search and found that people and found that people do indeed graft them, but I wouldn't bother. They grow so fast and the birds plant so many for you, have to remove some. If half are female, a person would have all the mulberries they know what to do with in no time. I have volunteers all over the place and the ones I have that bear fruit have lots and lots of it over an extended period of time.
 
John Walsh
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There's more than one nursery owner on this forum that sells thousands of grafted Mulberries every year. If it has a name, it is grafted. It is impractical to clone Mulberry from cuttings, the success rate is generally very low. As I pointed out, Mulberry is almost always dioecious and the males do not produce fruit, so grafting is the only way to ensure the sex of the plant. Also, a grafted tree can fruit in a couple of years, whereas a seedling might take eight years or more to fruit. If you're wondering why someone would even buy a Mulberry, you might want to try comparing an improved cultivar to one of your 'weed' Mulberries.
However, you guys sure sound like you know what you're talking about so maybe I am just dead wrong.
 
Todd Parr
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Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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John Walsh wrote:There's more than one nursery owner on this forum that sells thousands of grafted Mulberries every year. If it has a name, it is grafted. It is impractical to clone Mulberry from cuttings, the success rate is generally very low. As I pointed out, Mulberry is almost always dioecious and the males do not produce fruit, so grafting is the only way to ensure the sex of the plant. Also, a grafted tree can fruit in a couple of years, whereas a seedling might take eight years or more to fruit. If you're wondering why someone would even buy a Mulberry, you might want to try comparing an improved cultivar to one of your 'weed' Mulberries.
However, you guys sure sound like you know what you're talking about so maybe I am just dead wrong.


Maybe we are just talking about different kinds of Mulberry? I can tell you that on my land, birds planted mine and the females fruit within 2 or 3 years. I have so many popping up that if they don't fruit within a few years, I cut them down and use the regrowth for wood chips after that. I never have enough wood chips, so fast-growing Mulberries help with that. Improved cultivars may very well taste better, but mine are chicken food, and they seem to like these pretty well I may try ordering an improved one just to try it out. I wasn't saying you were wrong, just that I had never heard of grafting them before.
 
Dillon Nichols
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None of the(admittedly few) mulberries I have bought have been grafted, and I've never seen a grafted one for sale, but this might be because they aren't a very common plant up here, only sold by permie nurseries, not the mainstream folks.

Two are named cultivars, which have clearly been cloned by cuttings (based on appearance when bought).

I've successfully cloned(~25% success rate) from a morus nigra, but no success with a variety of others... Will be trying again with different methods.
 
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