How long does a mulberry tree live


Lifespan of Mulberry Trees | Home Guides

By Dannielle Doyle

The common mulberry (Morus spp.) is a deciduous shade tree that is hardy to U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 or 5 through 8. It produces small, edible fruits, commonly known as “mulberries.” The fruits grow up to 1/2 inch long and are dark purple to black in color when ripe; some mulberry varieties produce white fruits. Mulberries are eaten fresh and used to make jelly, wine and desserts. Mulberry trees grow in various conditions, allowing them to have a long lifespan.

Typical Lifespan

  1. Although mulberry trees are highly adaptable to a range of growing conditions, their lifespan still depends on the care they are given over an extended period of time. The two closely related species of mulberry trees are white mulberry (Morus alba) and red mulberry (Morus rubra). White mulberry trees have been known to live for more than 100 years while red mulberry trees rarely live more than 75 years. Most mulberry trees grown in landscapes have a lifespan of only 25 to 50 years. Improper pruning, inadequate water, insects and diseases shorten the life of mulberry trees.

Growth Rate and Size

  1. Mulberry trees are rated as fast-growing, capable of developing 10 to 12 feet during a six-year period. White mulberry trees can grow to 80 feet tall at maturity while red mulberry trees tops out at 70 feet with a comparable spread. The trees have a dense habit, with a round-topped canopy and tightly knitted slender branches, often developing a “witches' broom.”

Proper Culture

  1. Mulberry trees grow best in locations that have full sun exposure, but they perform well in partial shade, too. They prefer moist, well-draining soil that is fertile but tolerate a range of soil conditions, including gravely, wet and alkaline soils, making them a good candidate for controlling erosion. They transplant easily and adapt to urban and seaside conditions.

Pests and Diseases

  1. Like many trees, mulberry trees often are affected by insect-related injuries and diseases, such as white peach scale, bacterial blight, leaf spots, cankers and two-spotted mites. When a mulberry tree is infected, the cause should be identified and controlled or it is likely to kill the tree eventually. Insect pests can be controlled with an insecticidal program; follow all label instructions listed on the insecticide container.

References

  • Cornell University: Cornell Fruit Resources -- Minor Fruits: Mulberries
  • University of Flordia IFAS Extension: Mulberry Tree
  • University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service: Minor Fruits and Nuts in Georgia -- Mulberry
  • California Rare Fruit Growers Inc.: Mulberry Fruit Facts
  • CBC News Online: In Depth -- Environment: Lifespan of Common Urban Trees
  • Manual of Woody Landscape Plants; Michael A. Dirr

Writer Bio

Dannielle Doyle is an award-winning horticulturalist and garden writer whose work has appeared in publications such as the "Bryan Times" newspaper, the "San Francisco Chronicle" and "Green Profits" magazine. Doyle is a certified Ohio State University master gardener and holds a degree in landscape technologies.

How to Grow and Care for Mulberry Tree

Mulberry is a medium-sized deciduous tree that produces small, tasty but messy fruits in summer. There are two species commonly found in North America: red mulberry (Morus rubus), a native of eastern North America; and white mulberry (Morus alba), a native of China that is now widely naturalized in North America. Both the red and white species—as well as any hybrids—possess dark green leaves with serrated edges and feature berries that look strikingly similar to blackberries. White mulberry is a rampant spreader and hybridizer, so it's likely that the trees staining sidewalks and driveways with their fruit are this species or a hybrid form. Regardless of their issues, mulberry trees of all types can make acceptable landscape additions as long as they're selected and cared for properly. Mulberry trees are best planted in the early spring and will grow quickly.

The leaves and unripe fruit of mulberry contain a latex that is mildly toxic to humans.

Common Name Mulberry tree, red mulberry, white mulberry
Botanical Name Morus spp.
Plant Type Deciduous tree
Mature Size 30–60 ft. tall, 20–40 ft. wide
Sun Exposure Full, partial
Soil Type Rich, moist but well-drained
Soil pH Mildly acidic to neutral
Bloom Time Spring
Flower Color Yellowish-green
Hardiness Zone 4–8 (USDA)
Native Range North America, China
Toxicity Leaves, unripe fruit mildly toxic to humans

The Spruce / K. Dave

The Spruce / K. Dave

The Spruce / K. Dave

Getty Images 

Mulberry Tree Care

Mulberries are easy trees to grow, but they aren't suited to every garden. For many people, it will be best to pick one of the seedless (and fruitless) cultivars available, including Morus alba "Chapparal," which is a weeping variety, and Morus alba "Kingan," a very drought-tolerant cultivar suitable for some drier regions.

It is important to keep in mind that mulberry trees have very prolific, fast-growing roots. Plant your tree away from important structures such as your foundation, driveway, or garage, and features such as utility, septic, or sewage lines, so you don't risk the roots damaging vital elements of your property. You should also take the tree's mature height into consideration and pick a spot where it can be kept relatively free of pruning (which causes it stress) and let it do its job of producing berries and enjoy the many fruits it will offer you.

Warning

White mulberry, a native of China, is considered a seriously invasive plant in much of the Midwest and in scattered locations elsewhere. It is best to select a sterile cultivar whenever possible in these regions Controlling the spread of fruiting trees is very difficult, as birds readily spread the seeds after eating the fruit.

Light

Mulberry trees can thrive in both full sun and partial shade conditions, though as with many fruiting trees, more light equals more fruit.

Soil

Mulberry trees are somewhat adaptable and can deal with clay, loam, and sandy soil with ease, as long as the mixture can maintain sufficient drainage. The trees can thrive in a range of pH levels varying from neutral to mildly acidic.

Water

Water your mulberry tree deeply and regularly after initially planting it in order to help it establish a strong root system—two to three gallons per week for the first year is recommended. Once established, mulberry trees are fairly drought tolerant, though prolonged dry weather can lead to a reduction in fruiting or early dropping of the unripe berries.

Temperature and Humidity

Depending on the species, most mulberry trees are cold-hardy and can handle temperatures as low as minus 25 degrees Fahrenheit during dormancy. They produce the optimal amount of fruit in regions where growing-season temperatures are between 68 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

Fertilizer

Mulberry trees often do quite well with no fertilization, though they can benefit from a yearly application. Feed your tree once in late winter, using a balanced 10-10-10 mixture and measuring out 1 pound of fertilizer for each inch in the trunk's diameter.

Types of Mulberry Tree

There are five species of mulberry trees, three of which are likely to be seen in North America:

  • Morus alba: Also known as a white mulberry tree, this is the most common mulberry species found in North America. This native of China can be easily distinguished from other trees in the genus thanks to its blackberry-shaped fruit, which begins white but darkens to purplish red.  It is available in the nursery trade in several cultivars that are ornamental and sterile, making them more suitable for landscape use.
  • Morus rubra: The native North American red mulberry tree has rough leaves that are twice as long as Morus alba and feature a coarse hairy underside. The fruit starts light green then turns to red or dark purple when ripe. Red mulberry trees are often difficult to find in the nursery trade but they can be found growing wild in eastern Canada and the U.S.
  • Morus nigra: Black mulberry trees average 40 feet tall and feature dark purple (almost black) berries that are quite large when ripe. This native of Asia is not commonly found in North America.
  • Morus australis: Also known as Korean mulberry, this species is a small tree, reaching only 20 to 30 feet at maturity. It features light green foliage that is slightly glossed and fruit that ranges in color from almost white to deep red and purple. It is not a common landscape tree in North America.
  • Morus celtidifolia: Texas mulberry trees are native to the Southwest and appear more shrub-like, growing to a maximum height of just 25 feet. The edible fruits are red, purple, or nearly black and are fantastic for drawing wildlife to your landscape, especially birds.

Pruning

Routine pruning is not necessary with this tree, but damaged or crossing shoots should be pruned away in late fall or winter while the tree is dormant, which helps avoid sap loss.

Propagating Mulberry

Mulberry trees are easily propagated by rooting semi-hardwood branch cuttings. Here's how to do it:

  1. In spring as new growth is starting, cut 6- to 8-inch long segments from the tips of 1/2-inch diameter branches—branches that are relatively new but not completely soft and green—using sharp pruners.
  2. Dip the bottom of the cuttings into rooting hormone, and plant the ends in small pots filled with commercial potting soil or seed starter mix.
  3. Water the pots well, then place them inside 1-gallon clear plastic bags bound with rubber bands.
  4. Place the pots in a full shade location until they root, checking periodically to make sure they remain moist.
  5. When the cuttings have rooted (generally after about one month), you can take off the plastic bags and continue growing them in the pots until fall, when they can be planted in the garden.

Not every cutting will successfully root, so it's a good idea to take at least four or five cuttings to increase your odds.

Growing Mulberry From Seed

Mulberry trees are incredibly easy to grow from seed, as evidenced by the rampant self-seeding they produce. Fruits collected from the tree can be dried to collect seeds for planting, or you can simply wait for volunteers to spring up and carefully transplant them to new locations.

Potting and Repotting Mulberry

Container culture is not common for these plants, since they are fast-growing and can quickly achieve a size that's too large for most containers. That said, if you are willing to prune often and willing to sacrifice the tree when it becomes too large after a few years, it's entirely possible to grow mulberry in a large container for a sunny deck or patio, though the messy fruit can be a hindrance in these locations.

Use ordinary commercial potting soil amended with plenty of compost, in the largest, widest container that's practical. It's better to start with a large pot rather than repotting as the plant grows larger, as repotting is not very practical.

Be prepared to water and feed more often with a container-grown mulberry tree. For winter, try to move the potted tree to a slightly sheltered location.

Tip

Not all mulberry trees are messy. Only the female trees produce the fruits that create the mess. If what you want is a mess-free mulberry tree, find a reputable nursery to purchase a male mulberry tree from.

Overwintering

Protecting the trunks of young trees with metal shields or hardware cloth for the first few years will shield them from rabbits, deer, and other browsing animals that gnaw on the bark. After three years or so, the trees are usually large enough to resist animal damage.

Routine fall cleanup of fallen fruit is a good idea to reduce the rampant self-seeding that occurs with mulberry trees. These hardy trees require no protection against winter cold if they are being grown within their accepted hardiness range.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases

Mulberry trees may have to contend with a variety of pest issues, including whitefly, scale, and mealybugs. The good news is that these bugs won't really cause much damage to mature trees—they're tough enough to withstand it, which is good because treating a large 50-foot tree is no easy feat. If you notice signs of an infestation on a more vulnerable young sapling, you can apply a horticultural oil such as neem oil.

These trees are relatively free of disease problems, though bacterial blights and fungal leaf spot diseases may sometimes occur. Diseased plant parts should be removed as they are noticed. Fungal diseases are rarely fatal and usually require no treatment.

Mulberry trees are more likely to incur pest and disease problems in warmer climates.

How to Get Mulberry to Bloom

Generally speaking, homeowners don't want to encourage mulberry trees to bloom, since the flowers aren't showy and they lead to messy fruits that are of no use unless you want to harvest them for jams, jellies, or other recipes. But if you want to encourage blooming and fruit production, simply make sure the tree's basic cultural needs are being met—plenty of sunlight, regular water, and annual fertilizing.

The most common reason for bloom/fruit failure on a mulberry tree is lack of soil nutrients and late spring frost that kills the flower buds.

Common Problems With Mulberry

The most often mentioned issues with mulberry trees involve their messiness and invasive spread.

Stains From Fruit

The fertile, fruiting varieties of this tree are often considered nuisance plants in urban environments, since the fallen fruit will stain pavement and cars, and the stains can easily be tracked indoors. To avoid this, it's best to plant one of the sterile cultivars that don't produce fruit. If you do want the fruit for the benefit of feeding birds or making jams, try to position the tree in an area of your yard where the fruit will not create a mess.

Rampant Spread

Mulberry trees can spread very easily through self-seeding. Garden areas immediately around a tree may see hundreds of volunteer seedlings, which, if not immediately plucked, can quickly develop root systems that make the saplings hard to eradicate. If you have a fruiting mulberry tree, learn to recognize the seedlings and pluck them out as soon as they appear.

FAQ

  • White mulberry trees were introduced to North America by the English prior to the American Revolution in an effort to establish a silkworm industry in young America's burgeoning textile industry. White mulberry is the silkworm's preferred food and the Colonies had land to spare to grow the caterpillar's favorite feast. Unfortunately, this grand scheme failed, and the white mulberry population went rampant due to its ease of germination and spread.

  • Your mulberry tree will be ready to produce fruit after approximately three years, and when it does, you better be ready to harvest. You can expect the berries to be ready between June and August, though that's not to say that they'll all hit peak ripeness at the same time. As a general rule of thumb, the darker the fruit, the sweeter the taste. Be warned that mulberries are very tender and will crush easily. The fruit can cause a sticky mess if allowed to fall to the ground, so be sure to collect it promptly to protect against insects, wildlife, and property damage.

    The two methods of picking mulberries are handpicking, which can be very tedious, or placing a tarp or old sheet under the tree and giving it a good shake. You can then collect the unbruised fruit and carefully prepare the berries as part of jelly or jam, or freeze the berries to use them periodically as desired.

  • More than a few gardeners give up on mulberry once they realize how messy and invasive the tree can be. Even if the tree is cut off at ground level and the trunk dug up and removed, small remaining pieces of the root can quickly sprout up again. The best solution is to first cut down the tree and dig up as much of the root structure as possible, then apply a concentrated non-selective herbicide (such as glyphosate) to whatever green growth sprouts up again.

    And keep an eye out for volunteer plants sprouting up; any mulberry tree in the neighborhood will spread itself by seeds in the droppings of birds that consume the fruit.

  • White mulberry trees (the most common type) are known to live for as much as 100 years, though lifespans of 25 to 50 years are more common for landscape cultivars.

  • White mulberry has glossy green leaves, while red mulberry has dull green leaves. With white mulberry, the fruit is greenish-white as it first appears, gradually darkening to reddish-purple. On the red mulberry, the fruits are reddish from the start.

  • Mulberry is a medium-sized tree with a densely rounded crown that can make a good understory tree in a big yard. But the fruit can be quite messy, so it's best to plant the tree out of the way, where it can provide fruits for the songbirds that love them but where human feet can't stomp on them. This is not a tree you want hanging over a patio, driveway, or sidewalk.

    If you wish to use mulberry as a small shade tree in more heavily trafficked areas, it's best to choose a sterile cultivar that produces neither fertile seeds nor fruit.

Article Sources

The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. White Mulberry. University of Redlands.

  2. Not All Trees Are Good Trees. University of Illinois Extension.

  3. Mulberry—Morus spp. University of California Integrated Pest Management Program. 

  4. Mulberry. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.

Mulberry tree - capable of a lot!

Silkworm cocoons

Without this tree, we would not have silk. Progress has risen to unprecedented heights, artificial silk has already been invented, and a full-fledged replacement for the mulberry tree has not yet been found. The talents of the mulberry are not limited to feeding the silkworm. This tree, revered since ancient times, is capable of much.

Tree of life

The mulberry tree, or mulberry, is also known among different peoples under the names here, mulberry, mulberry tree, tyutina, tutina. This genus is not very extensive, and includes, according to some sources, 10 species of trees growing wild in the subtropics of Asia, Africa, and North America.

Mulberry is considered a sacred tree and highly revered by the peoples of the East. Amulets made from its wood have served as amulets of Eastern women since ancient times. The mulberry tree is reputed to be the "tree of life", capable of protecting from evil, as well as a symbol of diligence and respect for parents. In China, the mulberry represents the union of the principles of yin and yang. She is credited with magical power, the ability to resist evil, to divert lightning from the garden in which she grows. According to legend, Alexander the Great drank mulberry vodka during his victorious campaign in Persia and India.

But the mulberry tree was especially famous as a raw material for the production of silk. Only this breed is a complete and favorite food for the silkworm, which gave people the most beautiful, refined and prestigious fabric. In ancient times, real dramas played out around the silk issue. And although in our time passions have subsided, a worthy replacement for mulberry has not been found in this matter.

The mulberry tree is considered the “tree of life”, able to protect from evil, also a symbol of diligence and respect for parents. In China, the mulberry represents the union of the principles of yin and yang.

Silk

Silk business

Chinese princess Xi Ling Shi is credited with the discovery of silk. The fateful incident happened around 3000 BC. e. Sitting under a mulberry tree, Xi Ling Shi drank tea. A silkworm cocoon fell into her cup and began to unravel in hot water with thin iridescent threads. So the Chinese empire seized the secret of silk production, becoming a monopoly in this industry for many centuries.

China has long kept the secrets of silk production. Actively trading in raw silk and silk fabrics, the empire forbade the export of herns - silkworm eggs. An attempt at such smuggling was punishable by death.

And precious fabrics were transported along the Great Silk Road, which ran through Central Asia to Constantinople.

But everything hidden becomes clear. One of the Chinese princesses in the IV century AD. e., having married the king of Bukhara, she brought him silkworm eggs as a gift, hiding them in her hair. In 552, two monks delivered gerns in hollow bamboo staffs to Emperor Justinian of Byzantium. After the IV Crusade (1203–1204), silkworm eggs came from Constantinople to Venice. In the XIV century, sericulture began to be practiced in the south of France. And at 159In the year 6, silkworms were first bred in Russia - first near Moscow, in the village of Izmailovo, and over time - in the more suitable southern provinces of the empire. At the same time, the mulberry tree traveled the world for the silkworm, eventually conquering many countries on various continents.

Mulberry leaves
Silkworm caterpillars
Butterfly mulberry silkworm

Life of a silkworm

Caterpillars of the silkworm ( Bombyx mori ), pupating, clothe themselves in a silk cocoon, from the threads of which natural silk is woven. One butterfly can lay up to 700 eggs. The silkworms hatched from them grow within a month, actively feeding, and undergo 4 molts.

And the whole secret is that only mulberry leaves give caterpillars the ability to produce silk, and young leaves are needed to obtain high-quality raw materials. The worms eat mulberry leaves with such gusto that Pasteur compared the loud crunch they make to "the sound of rain falling on the trees during a thunderstorm." Currently, caterpillars are fed on cut mulberry branches. At the same time, the next year the branches on the tree grow again.

While pupating, caterpillars weave a cocoon, the shell of which consists of a continuous silk thread up to 1500 m long. In nature, the color of the cocoon can be different: pink, light green, yellow. But only breeds with white cocoons are bred in culture. Unfortunately, the butterflies are not allowed to come out of the chrysalis. Cocoons are kept for a couple of about two hours, after which the caterpillars die, and the cocoons are further processed.

Only mulberry leaves give caterpillars the ability to produce silk, and it is young leaves that are needed to obtain high-quality raw materials.

From the mulberry family

Mulberry is a deciduous tree from the mulberry family, it reaches a height of 15–20 m. The leaves are simple, lobed, serrated along the edge. The stems and leaves of mulberries contain milky juice.

Mulberry

Plants are monoecious or dioecious, ie male and female flowers are on different specimens. Same-sex flowers are collected in inflorescences: staminate (male) - in drooping cylindrical ears, pistillate (female) - in short oval on very short peduncles. Male flowers consist of a simple 4-segmented perianth and four stamens. The female flowers have the same perianth and pistil with two stigmas. The fruit is a false juicy drupe, up to 3 cm long, from red to purple, edible.

Mulberry lives up to 300 years, but there are also centenarians. So, in Jericho grows mulberry, under which, according to legend, Jesus Christ was looking for shadows. She is over 2000 years old.

Black, white, red

Black mulberry ( Morus nigra ) originally from South-West Asia, where it has long been cultivated for edible fruits and widely spread to the territory of Iran, Afghanistan. Blooms in May-June. The fruits are dark purple, almost black, sweet and sour in taste, ripen in July-August.

White mulberry ( M. alba ) comes from the eastern regions of China. It was this type of mulberry tree that was first cultivated as food for silkworm caterpillars. From here began its victorious march across countries and continents. White mulberry spread to Central Asia, India, Pakistan, Iran, and later in the Transcaucasus. It has been cultivated in Europe since the 12th century. Known in America since the 16th century.

In the 17th century, by order of Alexei Mikhailovich sh. White tried to breed in Moscow, but the climate for her was too harsh. Therefore, it began to be cultivated in the Lower Volga region and the Caucasus.

White mulberry easily runs wild and grows without human help. It blooms in April-May, the fruits are white, pink or red, ripen in June, the taste is cloyingly sweet. This species has many decorative forms: ‘ P endula’ with thin branches hanging to the ground; G lobosa’ with dense spherical crown; M acrophylla’ with large leaves up to 22 cm long; ' A urea' with golden yellow young shoots and leaves.

Red mulberry ( M. rubra ) native to eastern North America. The fruits of the tree are dark purple, sweet, fragrant. In terms of frost resistance, it surpasses sh. white. It has a decorative form: felt T omentosa’ with white felt leaves on the underside.

For various occasions

Mulberry is used in ornamental plantings, it strengthens the banks of irrigation canals and reservoirs, and is introduced into the composition of shelterbelts.

In the old days, fabrics were dyed yellow with mulberry leaves. The wood of this species is dense, resilient, heavy. It has long been used for the production of musical instruments, dishes, souvenirs. Ropes were twisted from the inside of the bark (bast) and fiber was obtained for the manufacture of coarse fabrics.

Paper was first made from mulberry bast in China. Not so long ago it was believed that in 105 AD. e. Chinese dignitary Cai Lun worked out the process of making paper from crushed mulberry fibers mixed with ash, hemp, rags and water. But archaeological excavations have confirmed that the process of paper production in China was discovered even before our era. Paper was obtained from the bast of mulberry.

Military fruits of mulberries contain up to 25 % sugars, organic acids, tannins, pectin, coloring substances, flavonoids, carotene, vitamins A , c , in 2 , in , in , in B 4 , PP, E , potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, copper, zinc, rubber .

Mulberries

Treats and medicines

Mature mulberry fruits contain up to 25% sugars, organic acids, tannins, pectin, dyes, flavonoids, carotene, vitamins A, C, B 2 , B 9 , B 4 , PP, E, potassium , magnesium, phosphorus, iron, copper, zinc, rubber. In the leaves of white found tannins, flavonoids, coumarins, organic acids, resins, essential oils, sterols.

Almost all parts of the plant are used in folk medicine. The fruits have antioxidant properties, an infusion of them is used as an anti-inflammatory, expectorant, diaphoretic, diuretic. Fresh fruits help with stomach ulcers, enterocolitis, dysentery, dysbacteriosis, and diseases of the biliary tract. Fruit syrup is used for cardiovascular diseases (myocardiostrophy and heart disease), anemia, as a hemostatic agent for postpartum, uterine bleeding. Infusion rinse the throat and mouth with inflammatory diseases. Unripe fruits have astringent and antiseptic properties. An infusion of the leaves is prescribed as a tonic, antipyretic, vitamin remedy, to lower blood sugar levels. Fresh leaf juice soothes toothache, and leaf decoction is a good antipyretic. A decoction of the bark helps with heart disease, it is recommended as an expectorant for bronchitis, asthma, and also as a diuretic for hypertension. Root bark juice is an antihelminthic.

But there are also contraindications. Mulberries should be used with caution in hypertension, as in hot weather it can cause an increase in blood pressure. It should not be used by people with diabetes. Eating large amounts of ripe berries can cause diarrhea. Drinking cold water after taking fresh berries can cause flatulence.

Various types of mulberries are widely used in cooking. Compotes, jams, pie fillings, wines, mulberry vodka, soft drinks, and vinegar are prepared from fruits. From the juice of ripe fruits white extract (bekmes) is produced. It is eaten with butter mixed with finely crushed walnuts or simply with bread.

Currently, a large number of varieties and hybrids of mulberries have been bred. The most prolific variety is ‘Balkha’, from which up to 600 kg of fruits are harvested from a tree. Many families in the East and today, according to tradition, harvest up to 500 kg of dried mulberries per year.


The legend of the mulberry tree

According to legend, the mulberry tree owes its appearance to a magic dress made of thin fabric. It was woven by a silkworm for a girl. The dress was not only beautiful, but also gave a special attraction to the woman who put it on. At the same time, she could not eat anything for days. Women passed magical outfits to each other, and the world was replenished with beauties. But when the next mistress of the dress became the wife of the king, she refused to share the dress with anyone. Upon learning of this, her friends burst into the palace, tore the dress from the queen's hands and tore it to shreds. And at that moment the hem of the dress turned into a tree trunk with branches. Shreds of the torn dress flew up and turned into swollen pinkish buds, from which wide leaves immediately blossomed, forming a lush dense crown. So, according to legend, the mulberry was born.

Mulberry is a tree that restores youth. Cultivation, care, reproduction. Photo — Botanichka

Representatives of the mysterious mulberry family are found all over the globe. Ficus, rubber tree, cow tree, breadfruit and finally mulberry are all from this family. Huge evergreen and deciduous trees, creepers, perennial herbaceous forms inhabit large areas on earth. In the southern regions and the central zone of the Russian Federation and the CIS, mulberry or mulberry trees are ubiquitous, the fruits of which are used for food, and the leaves are fed with silkworms, whose cocoons are used to produce natural silk threads. In Central Asia, mulberry is called the king-tree and the king-berry for its medicinal properties. In the countries of Central Asia and China, mulberries are dried for future use and fed to old parents in order to prolong their healthy life.

Black mulberry (Morus nigra). © Roberto Pla

The content of useful substances in mulberry

Mulberry fruits in their composition give health to lovers of these delicious berries. They contain glucose and fructose, organic acids. They include vitamins C, E, K, PP, a complex of B vitamins and carotene. Widely represented in the berries "Mendeleev's table". A number of macronutrients (calcium, sodium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and others) and microelements (zinc, selenium, copper, iron) are part of the mulberry seed. Tsar-berry is an excellent dietary product. The content in the fruits, the strongest natural antioxidants - carotene, vitamin C and E, selenium, relieve the aging body from many diseases, has a rejuvenating property.

Medicinal use of mulberries

Official medicine uses mulberries in the treatment of anemia caused by gastritis (high acidity). In folk medicine, fresh juice, decoctions, infusions are an indispensable remedy for the treatment of tonsillitis, tonsillitis, stomatitis of the biliary tract, gastrointestinal tract, pneumonia and bronchitis with a prolonged cough, and many other diseases. Mulberry bark in the form of a decoction is the strongest anthelmintic. An infusion of berries will help with coughing, and leaves - with hypertension.

Mulberry fruits. © Fanghong

Botanical description

Mulberry is a deciduous tree reaching 10-35 m in height with a strong branched root. Life expectancy ranges from 200-500 years. Forms a powerful spreading crown. The leaves are simple, serrated, long-petiolate, alternately arranged along all shoots. For 4-6 years of life forms a crop of berries. The fruits are edible, represented by a seed of drupes hidden in an overgrown fleshy perianth. Fruit length 2-5 cm, white, pink, dark purple flowers. The taste of berries is sweet and sour, sweet, sugary-sweet with a pleasant light aroma. On light soils, it forms additional adventitious roots that strengthen the soil.

Mulberry in home breeding

Mulberry (morus, tut, mulberry) is separated into a separate genus, which is represented by about 20 species, but 2 species are most often used in home breeding: black mulberry and white mulberry.

Biological features of black mulberry

Afghanistan, Iran, Transcaucasia are considered to be the main area of ​​distribution of black mulberry. These are tall (up to 15 m) trees with a spreading crown distinguished by the brown-brown color of the skeletal branches. Perennial branches are short, numerous, form a dense growth of young shoots inside the crown.

Leaves 7-15 cm, broadly ovate with deep heart-shaped incision at the base, dark green, leathery. To the touch, the leaves are coarsely rough on top, the underside is soft-haired. Trees are single and dioecious. The fruits are dark red or black-violet, shiny, sweet-sour taste.

White mulberry (Morus alba). © vlasta2

Biological characteristics of white mulberry

China is considered to be the birthplace of white mulberry, although it grows in all Asian countries. White mulberry reaches a height of up to 20 m. The color of the stem bark, in contrast to black mulberry, is brown with a large number of cracks. Young branches are grayish-green, sometimes also brown. The crown is quite dense from the abundance of young shoots. Leaves are soft and herbaceous. They differ in external form.

Leaves simple or 3-5 lobed with serrated margins, long-petiolate. Petioles are covered with delicate pubescence. In spring and summer, the color of the leaves is dark green, and in autumn - straw yellow. Trees are dioecious, dioecious. The berries are very large (up to 5.5 cm), white, red and black, sugary-sweet.

Varieties of mulberry

Varieties of white mulberry have fruits not only white, but also red and black. One of these varieties "Black Baroness" forms early (June-July) large crops of large sweet berries with a weak pleasant aroma. Withstands brief frosts down to -30 °C.

Magnificent black mulberry variety for home breeding "Shelly No. 150" is an excellent decorative and deciduous culture. The variety was bred in the Poltava region and is distinguished by huge leaves, which, together with the petiole, can reach 0.5 m in size. Berries up to 5.5 cm with high taste. An adult tree forms up to 100 kg of berries.

The berries of the "White tenderness" and "Luganochka" varieties are distinguished by their unusual taste and color. White and creamy-pink fruits up to 5.0-5.5 cm.

White mulberry (Morus alba). © Emilian Robert Vicol Mulberry blossom. © mauroguanandi

Cultivation of mulberries

Choosing a place for planting

Mulberries are long-lived. Therefore, it is necessary to choose a place in the garden so that for many years the culture can freely grow and develop. Mulberry trees can reach a height of up to 30-40 m, but in a limited suburban or house area, it is more practical to form a culture, especially in the middle lane, in the form of a shrub or a low (2-4 m) tree. Light-loving culture, not demanding on soil conditions.

A well-developed, branched root system anchors sandy soils by forming numerous additional adventitious roots. Mulberry, unlike many crops, can grow on saline soils without reducing the quality of berries and leaves (white mulberry) used as food for silkworm caterpillars. Does not tolerate waterlogging.

Planting mulberries

At home, monoecious trees are more often grown so as not to take up extra space, but if the area of ​​​​the site allows, then a complex of a dioecious plant is planted nearby - a male and female tree. If the culture is formed in the form of a tree, then the plants are placed at a distance of 2.5-3.5 m from each other. Bush forms are planted after 0.5-1.0 m. The landing pit has been prepared since autumn. The depth and width of the pit from autumn is 50x50x50 cm, in spring it can be expanded and deepened under the root system of the seedling.

The best time for planting is spring, but in the southern regions, seedlings are also planted in autumn. The excavated soil is mixed with humus or mature compost (0.5 buckets), nitrophoska or phosphorus-potassium fertilizer is added (2 matchboxes per seedling). The roots of the seedling are carefully spread along the tubercle of soil at the bottom of the pit and covered with prepared soil. Be careful! Mulberry roots are fragile, do not damage when compacting the soil. A bucket of water is poured under the seedling and the soil is mulched (with peat, straw, dry weeds, and other materials).

Watering

Mulberry needs watering up to 4-5 years of age. Mature plants, having a deeply penetrating root system, provide themselves with water on their own and do not need special watering. During a period of prolonged drought, so that the fruits are not crushed, 1-2 waterings are carried out. Watering is carried out in the first half of summer and stopped in the second decade of July. This is necessary so that the young tree has time to mature before frost, otherwise freezing of young annual shoots is observed.

Top dressing

Feed young mulberry plantings starting from 3 years of age. Top dressing of young seedlings is carried out with organic and mineral fertilizers for irrigation, followed by mulching of the trunk circle or the soil around the bush. The norms and types of fertilizers are the same as for other horticultural crops.

Mulberry in the park. Gorky, Odessa. © Yuriy Kvach

Crown formation and pruning

To form a mulberry in the form of a tree, a stem of 0.5-1.0 m is left, cutting all side shoots to this height. The crown is formed spherical, in the form of a bowl or a broom, no more than 2-4 m in height. For beginners in gardening, it is better to invite a specialist to form a mulberry crown.

Formative pruning is best done in the spring before bud break, but at a temperature not lower than -10*C. To limit height growth, the central shoot is shortened every 2 years by 1/3-1/4 of the length. If the crown is formed in the form of a ball, then the lateral lower branches are left shorter (cut off 1/3) than the middle ones (cut off 1/4). And from the middle of the future ball, shorten upwards in the reverse order. When forming a bush with a broom-shaped crown, the central shoot is not isolated, but pruned at the same height. The bush is usually formed from root shoots, leaving 3-4 of the strongest shoots.

Sanitary pruning (removal of old, diseased, dry, growing inside the crown) shoots and branches is carried out in the fall after leaf fall 1 time in several years. If the young growth did not have time to mature, it can be cut off immediately or left for spring sanitary pruning.

To form a weeping shape, cut off the branches on the lower and side buds (the branches will bend down). When creating such a form, strong pruning will not damage the decorative effect of the tree, but the yield will be lower due to the sparseness of the crown.

Anti-aging pruning on mulberries is carried out when berries are crushed and the yield is reduced. In this case, all branches are shortened by the same length (about 1/3), the crown is thinned out, cutting out the oldest ones (1-2 branches).

White mulberry, weeping form. © Glmory

Mulberry reproduction

Mulberry is propagated by seeds, vegetatively (by root shoots and layering), green cuttings, grafting.

At home, it is most rational to propagate mulberry vegetatively, separating young shoots from the mother plant in spring. In the south, reproduction by shoots can be carried out in autumn. A long warm period allows the young seedling to take root well.

A melange crop can be formed by grafting one tree. A tree with white, red, black, pink berries will be unusual.

Harvesting

Mulberries ripen gradually, so the harvest is repeated many times. Harvest selectively by hand or lay a film under the crown and shake off ripe berries. Harvest, depending on the variety, ripens from the third decade of May to the end of August.

Black Mulberry fruits. © SantiSilkworm caterpillar on black mulberry. © Gorkaazk

The use of mulberry in design

On the streets of cities, in parks and green plantings of recreation areas, mulberry is often used in solitary and group plantings, in the form of hedges. In group plantings, they often use a pyramidal shape, and weeping to decorate paths and recreation areas. Unusually decorative branches with large leaves and berries falling to the ground. The trees retain their decorative effect even in winter, surprising with artistic figured pruning of old and young branches. Recently, low trees with a spherical crown have been used for park ridges.

Mulberry interesting