Growing Mulberry Fruit Trees: Care, Description, Uses, & Major Species: Mulberries are a genus of primarily deciduous trees growing to tall, belonging to the subfamily Moroideae of the family Moraceae.
The Fruit of Mulberry Trees are very useful in many ways. They are high in antioxidants, fiber, minerals and vitamins. The controversy about eating berries is whether or not they have exceptional benefits above other fruits because they are low in sugar and carbohydrates. I believe that mulberries do offer more benefits than most all other fruit because it has 5 times as much vitamin C as an orange, 4 times more antioxidants than blueberries, 3 times more potassium than bananas and twice the iron of spinach! In addition, there is some evidence that they lower blood pressure.
So here’s a list of all the mulberry benefits! Not only are they delicious, but growing them can provide income to small-scale growers.
The fruit is most often eaten fresh, but can be used in cooking, jam and wine making. The leaves can be used for feeding livestock (cattle), composting, or as a food source for silkworms. Numerous other uses include: wood products (furniture), mulch, decorative applications (crafts) and more. If you would like to plant them around your home to help prevent soil erosion; this article will show you everything that you need to know about how to grow mulberry fruit trees!
Growing Mulberries – How To Plant And Care For Them?
Choose a location that gets full sun with good air flow. Grow trees at the same depth they have been growing in their containers or slightly deeper. The mulberry takes about 3 years to produce fruit so plant them 2-3 years before they are planned to be used for fruit production. When planting mulberries, dig a large hole and mix one half the soil from the hole with one half organic matter such as peat moss or composted manure. Top dress with well rotted cow manure (about two inches) around the drip line (edge of where leaves meet twigs). Remove all broken or dead branches and prune as desired once per year. Cut back any twiggy growth on the main trunk two to three feet off the ground every few years.
Mulberry Tree Planting Directions
Select a location that gets full sun and has good air flow. Dig a hole twice as wide as the root ball, but not quite as deep. Mix half of the soil with well rotted compost or peat moss for planting your mulberry trees. When filling in the hole, make sure to plant them at about the same depth they were originally growing in their containers. After you have filled in all around your tree, water it generously to help settle the soil around its roots and give it a good start for getting established. Mulberries can be propagated through seed or semi-hardwood cuttings. Seeds will take about 2-3 years to produce a fruit bearing tree, and semi-hardwood cuttings will take roughly 4-5 months (start them in December or January). Plant two or more trees together for cross pollination if you want maximum fruit production.
Mulberry Trees – How To Prune & Fertilize Them?
Pruning: Mulberries should be pruned once a year after the first spring leaves have emerged and any dead branches removed at that time. Pruning should not be needed during the fall, winter and early spring. Any pruning should be done over three weeks so as not to shock the young trees with drastic changes in temperature/humidity levels. Mulberries are not generally pruned except to remove dead, diseased or broken branches. Any pruning of healthy branches typically results in smaller fruit size.
Fertilization: Apply a mulch around the base of the tree at least 6-8 inches deep. If your soil is poor or you want larger trees, then fertilize with well composted manure when new growth emerges in spring. Spread about one inch around the drip line (where the leaves meet the twigs). If you choose not to do this yearly fertilizing with cow manure, then use an all purpose 16-16-16 fertilizer about two weeks after leaf emergence in April/May and then again when berries start to form in June/July . Do not use a fertilizer high in phosphorous or potassium on your mulberry trees, because this will result in lots of small fruit.
Mulberry Tree Care
Pruning: Mulberries should be pruned once a year after the first spring leaves have emerged and any dead branches removed at that time. Any pruning should not be done during the fall, winter and early spring. Not much pruning is needed for these fruit trees other than to remove any diseased or broken branches. If you do choose to remove healthy branches it typically decreases the amount of fruit produced by the tree; so avoid doing this if possible. Any pruning of healthy branches typically results in smaller fruit size.
How To Prune Mulberry Tree?
Remove all dead, diseased or damaged branches any time of the year. If you wish to prune for shape or size, then do so in early spring before new growth begins. Avoid pruning during winter and late fall because this can cause shock to the tree resulting in reduced fruit production or failure to grow altogether. Make cuts just outside an outward facing bud that faces either inward toward the center of the tree, or outward away from middle of tree. Once your mulberry trees are established they will benefit from yearly feeding using well composted manure around the drip line (the point where leaves meet twigs) about two inches deep. This should be done in early spring before leaves emerge and again when the berries begin to form, usually beginning in June. Mulberries prefer a slightly acidic soil so adding a few tablespoons of sulphur or aluminium sulphate at the bottom of a hole about 1 foot deep will help keep your trees healthy.
Make sure to plant two mulberry trees together to ensure cross pollination, which is necessary for ripe fruit production. These plants are very fast growing but can also be short lived so it is suggested that you replace them every 10 years or so. If you plan on pruning any of these fruit trees heavily, wear thick gloves because the bark will irritate your skin if given the chance. There isn’t much available information about how to grow mulberries indoors or in a greenhouse so I would suggest keeping your mulberry tree(s) outside and away from any windows. Also, these trees grow very large so keep that in mind when you choose a location for them.
Growing Mulberries In Containers?
The University of Illinois Extension recommends growing mulberry trees indoors in containers to prolong the fruit-bearing life of the plant. They also recommend using an acidic potting medium such as peat moss or perlite with fertilizer added every two weeks throughout the spring and summer with enough water added to prevent it from drying out. Read more about growing mulberries here!
Mulberries require cross pollination for full fruit production so be sure to plant at least 2 trees together for this purpose. Keep in mind that they grow very fast and also get quite large, so you may want to plant them in a location where they can be easily pruned if needed.
Provide mulberry trees with lots of water during the spring and summer especially when they are fruiting to ensure good fruit production. Mulberries can produce fruit within a few years after planting, though it may take longer depending on the rootstock used for your particular tree. This is a short lived perennial plant, most often lasting between 10-15 years before needing replacement. It’s important to note that some mulberry varieties require more chill hours than others which means that this factor must be taken into consideration when choosing a variety for your location. Make sure to check out our growing guide to see all the different types of mulberries and which ones are best suited for your climate!
How to Care for a Mulberry Tree
Care for a mulberry tree typically involves planting, pruning and feeding. Mulberries are fast growing plants that require a lot of sunlight throughout the day to produce fruit. If you live in an area where this plant grows well, it makes an excellent choice for a fruit-bearing hedge or screen. This can be easily achieved by planting two trees together because mulberries need cross pollination from another variety to fully bear fruit each year. Growing mulberry trees in containers indoors is also possible if that’s your only option due to location constraints. These types of trees prefer loamy soils with high levels of organic matter and benefit from yearly feeding using well composted manure around the drip line (the point where leaves meet twigs) about two inches around the tree. Mulberry trees can be easily pruned to keep them to a desired height and width for fruit production, as well as aesthetic appeal. You’ll also want to cut back any dead or damaged branches as soon as you see them.
What Are Some Uses For Mulberries?
- Mulberries are edible and make excellent pies, jams, jellies, syrups and mulberry wine.
- Of course the easiest way to eat these juicy fruits is to just pick them off of the tree and enjoy their sweet taste straight from hand! No matter where you live in North America it’s likely that there is a nearby mulberry tree if you take a moment to look around.
- These plants have been used throughout history by many different cultures and civilizations because of their high nutrient value and ease to grow.
- If you haven’t tasted mulberries yet, it’s well worth the investment to plant a few trees in your garden so that you can start picking fresh fruit year after year.
- I hope this article was helpful and answered all of the questions you had about how to care for mulberry plants and how they grow.