How to trim fruitless mulberry trees

How to Cut Back a Fruitless Mulberry Tree | Home Guides

By Amelia Allonsy Updated December 01, 2021

Fruitless mulberry trees include the 'Fruitless' cultivar of the white mulberry (Morus alba 'Fruitless') or male selections of white mulberry cultivars, including 'Stridling,' 'Kingan' and 'Urban.' Landscapers prefer fruitless mulberry trees over fruiting varieties because they provide the same shade benefits without the mess associated with dropped fruits. Fruitless mulberry roots are potentially invasive and should be planted away from septic systems and sidewalks. You can cut back the fast-growing fruitless mulberry in a process called pollarding to encourage a full round canopy and prevent fruitless mulberry trees from outgrowing the landscape.

Pollarding Method

The fruitless mulberry is cut back to leave three to six main branches stemming from the trunk and all lateral or secondary branches are removed. The main branches are also cut back, leaving stubs only a few feet in length. Each spring, new growth shoots sprout from the pollard heads also known as knobs at the end of these main branches. Repeat the process every one or two years, removing all of the new sprouts back to the knobs.

Why Pollard?

Fruitless mulberry trees are incredibly fast-growing trees. A mature tree left unpruned can grow 30 to 50 feet tall and quickly take over a small landscape space. Pollarding allows you to restrict the tree's size so it only grows as tall and wide as the growth of its new shoots.

Landscapers similarly use this technique for other fast-growing trees, including willows and crepe myrtles. This is an extreme pruning method that requires a lot of work and must be repeated in order to maintain the desired shape.

When to Prune

You should cut back a fruitless mulberry within the first three years of its life to begin training it in this formal shape. The pollarding method follows the same pruning schedule as other pruning methods.

The best time to pollard fruitless mulberries is in late fall or early winter when the deciduous tree is dormant because the cuts are less shocking to the trees. Fall pollarding also helps to ensure full growth during the active growing stage in spring and summer. In some climates, you can also pollard a tree early in late winter or very early spring before leaf buds form. Pruning after leaf buds form seriously restricts plant growth.

History of Pollarding

Use of the pollarding method traces back to medieval Europe and was basically started by accident. Members of the peasant class were granted permission to cut foliage and new branches from trees for use as firewood, animal feed and building material. When only the new foliage and branches were harvested, it was discovered that the trees maintained their shape and health, and continued to grow new branches each spring.

Pruning Mature Fruitless Mulberry Trees

According to Nate's Nursery, mature fruitless mulberry trees should be pruned only when necessary. At this point yearly pruning is undesirable. Excessive pruning weakens the tree's limbs, increases the plant's susceptibility to pests and diseases and lowers its life expectancy. Prune mature mulberry trees only to remove crossing limbs or those that approach structures or power lines, and to rid the tree of dead or diseased branches. You may also wish to prune in order to raise the level of the lowest branches.

The Gardenerdy website recommends that you always leave at least two-thirds of the original foliage when you prune. Make sure that the branches you trim are uniformly distributed along the entire height of the tree.


  • Nate's Nursery: Trees of the High Desert – Fruitless Mulberry
  • Gardenerdy: How to Prune a Fruitless Milberry Tree

Writer Bio

A former cake decorator and competitive horticulturist, Amelia Allonsy is most at home in the kitchen or with her hands in the dirt. She received her Bachelor's degree from West Virginia University. Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle and on other websites.

How to Prune a Fruitless Mulberry Tree

Pruning fruitless mulberry is done for shaping the tree, controlling its size and removing weak branches. Adopt correct tips for fruitless mulberry tree pruning, and you can enjoy the sight of a healthy, disease free and well-shaped ornamental tree in your yard for many years to come.

The fruitless or male white mulberry is a popular landscaping tree in areas, where summer is long and the climate is hot. Basically introduced for the purpose of feeding silkworms, it has become a tree of choice for beautifying the yard. It belongs to the genus Morus, which comprises about 16 species including the fruit bearing mulberry cultivar. Desired features of this 30-50 feet tall ornamental tree are lobed, bright green leaves, drooping branches and beautiful round shaped crown.

Fruitless mulberry grows at a very fast rate and provides shade with its dense crown. Hence, it makes an excellent cultivar for growing in streets, public places and home garden. As compared to the fruit bearing mulberry, the fruitless variety is less messy. You don’t need to clean up the fallen fruits every time during the peak season. Also, it is adapted to drought condition and grows luxuriantly in several types of soil. You can also maintain it within the desired height range to suit your landscape design.

This weeping mulberry tree calls for basic growth requirements, such as growing in moist soil, maintaining slight soil acidity (pH 6-6.5), exposure to partial or full sunlight and occasional trimming. Pruning is usually done once in every year or two years. For growing in a home garden, ensure that you trim it once in a year. Otherwise, the branches will overgrow and pruning after two years will become a challenging job. Detailed instructions for how to trim a fruitless mulberry tree are discussed below.

Pruning Time

Correct timing is crucial for cutting the branches of any tree. This especially holds true for mulberry, since it has the tendency to ooze more sap than other cultivars. So, when to prune a fruitless mulberry tree? The best time for pruning this deciduous tree is spring for a young tree, and late fall or early winter for an older tree. During this period, it remains dormant and less active. As a consequence, there is less risks for bleeding.

Pruning a Young Mulberry

For a young tree, most gardeners prefer cutting off the top portion along with its main branches. This technique known as pollarding allows seasonal growth of branches to about 10 feet and more during the growth season (spring). Besides this, shaping a young tree can be achieved with the help of crown reduction method. In this pruning technique, you are expected to keep the leader and lateral branches at uniform length.

Pruning an Older Mulberry

Pruning an old fruitless mulberry tree is proceeded to keep it strong and disease free. If you have been following pollarding technique, then you need to continue the same. The two thumb rules for pruning a older mulberry tree are retaining 2/3 of the original foliage which otherwise will weaken the tree, and making sure that the trimmed branches are distributed uniformly along the tree height.

If you remove excess branches from the bottom portion leaving more in the top crown, it will appear unsightly, which you don’t want at any cost. As far as pruning a fruitless mulberry tree is concerned, mark the weak branches first and prune them close to the trunk, but above their knuckles (or collars). Any outward growing branch can be cut down in the same way. After removing the twigs, use pruning tars over the cut surfaces to minimize disease and pest infestations.

In a nutshell, removing the tree branches is a part of fruitless mulberry tree maintenance guidelines. This not only helps in shaping the crown, but also adds vigor to the tree. However, both fruitless and fruiting mulberry tree varieties are very sensitive to pruning and injuries. Hence, reducing cuts as much as possible is the objective to restore normal growth and vigor of this ornamental tree.

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How to prune a mulberry tree? | Horticulture

" white mulberry ", popularly called mulberry, It is a tree from western asia , which is one of the most characteristic varieties of the Moraceae family, and when allowed to grow, this tree is capable of reaching 15 meters in height; however, as a rule, it has a height of no more than 5 meters

When in the garden, it is usually pruned once a year To keep its development within the limits that are desirable for each season, you can prune the mulberry tree not only when when it's fully grown, but also when it's shedding leaves when the hospitalization cycle hits.0003

In the first case it is necessary to prune in April and August to gradually remove branches that grow in the wrong direction or in the wrong place, in this case it is a "preventive" pruning.


  • 1 Real pruning
  • 2 How to prune a mulberry tree?
  • 3 Mulberry care

Real pruning

" real pruning ", Takes place in winter, namely in December and February, since at this time the mulberry tree is dormant, and it is usually recommended to prune when each of the leaves fell off, as each of the elements he needed, and kept them in his trunks and branches.0003

Mulberry consists of a tree that can be cut to create an extensive shade There are two types of pruning: the first is training, and the second is preventive.

Training takes place in the first years of the tree's life, when future branches that will form the main structure of Morera ; While preventive pruning attempts to remove all diseased, crossed and/or old branches, this pruning can be done annually and remember that mulberries can be pruned when they are in full growth as well as when they are shedding leaves.

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How to prune a mulberry tree?

Mulberry can be cut into any of its shapes throughout the year due to its rusticity, however it is advisable not to do this in spring .

This tree can be cut with scissors or hand saws for thin branches and a chainsaw for thicker branches. In any case, must make clean cuts being careful not to cut yourself in the cut area.

Usually the cutting area is made completely glued to the so-called structural branches; don't forget it Mulberry has a great ability to grow and germinate. during its development. Structural branches, that is, those closer to the main trunk, usually thicken each year until true "stumps" are formed, which can be pruned to encourage the renewal of these branches in the next year.

This species pruning "rejuvenation" It is carried out every 4-6 years, and it is convenient to distribute the complete renewal of its structural branches in about 2-3 years, in one year they are pruned, and in the next others, until all are pruned.

Depending on the age and vigor of the mulberry tree, numerous branches are formed when it is pruned. The young wood of this tree is usually not very suitable for use as firewood and is usually not allowed to be dumped in a landfill, so if you have a powerful wood chipper, you can instead create excellent compost quickly.

Mulberry care

When caring for mulberry trees, consider the following:

Ubicacion : Outside where sunlight gives full light.

irrigation : It should be watered regularly, at least twice a week in summer and about every 7-9 days the rest of the year.

Floors : All soils except acid.

Pests : Usually attacked by aphids in summer.

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Pruning mulberry (mulberry) in summer, autumn, spring: schemes, video


  • 1 Why is the pruning of the mulberry
  • 2 Features of pruning of different types of mulberries
  • 3 Types of pruning
    • 3. 1 Formative
    • 3.2 Omoiling
    • 4, Correctly prig it to bended tedvo
    • ) mulberries in spring
    • 4.2 How to prune mulberries in summer
    • 4.3 How to prune mulberries in autumn
  • 5 Formation of mulberries over the years
  • 6 How to grow mulberries in the Moscow region
  • 7 Plant care after pruning
  • 8 Conclusion

Mulberries are quite a frequent guest in the gardens of southern Russia. This tree from year to year gives good harvests of berries, and often without any care. Despite this, many gardeners prefer to cut the mulberry tree. And it is absolutely justified. Mulberry pruning is a very useful event that allows you to beautifully shape a tree, increase its yield and avoid many diseases.

Why mulberry pruning is needed

Mulberry trees are grown not only for harvest. They are very decorative, especially varieties with a weeping crown, so gardeners often decorate summer cottages or house adjoining areas with them. And also the green of the mulberry tree is used as a fodder crop for the silkworm. For any of these purposes, pruning will be useful. It helps to maintain the crown in a healthy state, allows you to competently form a tree in a certain way so that it is convenient to work with it in the future.

Pruning gives a powerful impetus to the development of new shoots, enhances lateral branching and growth of green mass. As a result, the crown is denser, and the tree synthesizes more nutrients through photosynthesis. Timely cutting of old, diseased and damaged branches significantly heals the tree, prevents diseases from developing, and reduces the number of pests. All these measures improve the decorative appearance of mulberry, and also increase its yield.

Peculiarities of pruning different types of mulberries

How to prune a mulberry tree depends on its purpose. If it is planted to obtain a crop of berries, it is formed as a fruit tree, laying several fruit-bearing tiers. A tree planted for ornamental purposes is pruned according to its chosen crown shape, maintaining its type and dimensions. Technical trees, the foliage of which serves as food for silkworm caterpillars, are pruned so that branching and the amount of green mass are maximum.


There are several types of mulberry pruning. All of them are carried out to perform certain tasks and differ from each other. There are the following types of mulberry pruning:

  • sanitary;
  • anti-aging;
  • forming;
  • decorative.

Formative pruning

Formative pruning is carried out in the first few years after planting a mulberry seedling. During this period, the mulberry is characterized by intensive growth, at this time the foundation of the tree is laid, its skeleton is formed. Mulberries are planted not only to harvest berries. Often it is used in landscape design, as well as for technical purposes, as a food base for breeding silkworms. Depending on this, the mulberry is formed:

  1. Fruit tree.
  2. Ornamental tree on a trunk with a spherical crown.
  3. Broom.
  4. A tree with a weeping crown.
  5. Custom.

The method of forming the mulberry crown also depends on the region in which the tree grows. The bushy form is more winter-hardy, so this method is widely used in cold regions. Some varieties of mulberry are distinguished by long annual shoots, therefore they have a predisposition to form a tree with a weeping crown.


Over time, the yield of mulberries can be significantly reduced. You can restore it with anti-aging pruning. This procedure is usually carried out over several years. During this time, old wood is gradually removed, in return for it, new shoots are grown, on which fruiting is transferred. At the same time, dried and broken branches, as well as diseased and affected by pests, are removed. Shoots that thicken and grow deep into the crown, vertical tops and competitors are removed. The interior of the crown is illuminated.


Sanitary pruning of mulberries should be carried out annually at least 2 times per season. This is early spring, when the tree has not yet entered the growing season, as well as autumn, the time after the end of leaf fall. During sanitary pruning, broken, dried and damaged branches are removed, the tree stem is cleaned. Shoots are also removed, on which there are traces of disease damage.

How to prune the mulberry tree

To prune the mulberry tree correctly and not cause irreparable damage to the tree, certain rules must be observed:

  1. Tree pruning is allowed only at certain times of the year.
  2. Only high-quality, well-sharpened and disinfected tools should be used for cutting. The cuts left by sharp edges heal much better and faster.
  3. The older the trees, the more severe pruning can be done. Young trees must be pruned carefully, otherwise it can lead to their death.
  4. Green, non-lignified shoots can be broken off by hand or pinched at the top, thereby stopping their growth if they are unnecessary or improper growth.
  5. Proper technique must be observed when removing 'ring' shoots or pruning into a promising bud or shoot.

How to prune mulberries in spring

Mulberries are pruned in spring when there is no danger of big frosts, otherwise the cut shoots will definitely freeze. You can start this procedure only after the air temperature is stable above -10 ° C. In the southern regions, mulberry can be cut already in early March, in more northern regions - in April. The exact time of spring pruning is chosen taking into account the climate of the region. It is important to have time to do this procedure before the start of sap flow, then the rehabilitation period for the mulberry will be minimal.

Mulberry pruning in spring includes all the main types of work. At this time, they do a sanitary cleaning of the tree, form the crown of a young mulberry, and also perform work to rejuvenate old plants.

How to prune mulberries in summer

The scheme for mulberry pruning in summer is very simple. Major work at this time, as a rule, is not carried out. The only exception is the trimming of decorative mulberry, the crown of which needs to maintain a constant shape. At this time, only the young growth that goes beyond the dimensions is cut off. At this time, the growth of green non-lignified shoots can be limited if they are planned to be removed in the future. To do this, their top is simply pinched off with a fingernail. This measure allows the plant to direct nutrients to the growth and maturation of berries, and not to excessive shoot formation.

How to properly prune mulberries in autumn

In autumn, mulberry pruning is usually done only for sanitary purposes. The tree is inspected, if necessary, damaged and dried branches are cut out. Particular attention should be paid to the crown if the appearance of diseases or pests was noted on it during the season. Branches affected by fungus or other pathologies are removed, after which they must be collected and burned.

Mulberry formation by years

There are several schemes for forming mulberry pruning in spring. Depending on the purpose of planting, the tree crown can be formed as follows.

  1. Fruit tree crown. In the first year, the seedling is cut to a height of 1 m. All other shoots are removed completely. In the second year of life, you need to choose from the regrown lateral shoots 3-5 of the strongest, extending from the central conductor at an angle of 45 ° or more, located at a height of 0.7 m from the ground and above. All other shoots must be removed. The central conductor is cut off, leaving 4-5 buds on it above the upper side branch. The lower skeletal branches are cut to a length of 0. 3 m, the upper ones must be shortened even more. In the third year, the tree is considered formed.
  2. Spherical decorative crown. It is formed on a bare trunk at a height of 1-1.5 m. The central conductor is cut off at a height of 2-4 m, depending on the need. Pruning of lateral shoots is carried out by 1/3 in the upper and lower parts of the crown and ¼ in the middle. The main thing is that the crown is uniform in circumference and looks like a ball.
  3. Decorative broom. Very beautiful type of crown. First you need to completely clean the trunk from side shoots to a level of 1-1.5 m from the ground. Then you need to choose 3-5 strong lateral shoots that have a large angle of departure and are located approximately at the same height from the ground. The rest must be removed. The selected branches are cut off by 4 buds. The conductor must be cut at the same level as the upper skeletal branch.
  4. Weeping crown. To form such a crown, it is necessary to grow a tree with a stem to a height of 1. 5 m. Each of the shoots growing higher is cut to 4-5 buds, which should be directed outward. Every next spring, all growing annual shoots are also cut to 5-6 buds looking outward.
  5. This order is maintained until the complete formation of the crown.
  6. Bush. Mulberry bush formation is used in areas with adverse weather conditions. To form a crown of this type, it is necessary to select 3-5 strong lateral shoots extending from the trunk at a height of 0.15-0.4 m in the first year of the seedling's life. They are cut into 4-5 buds, all other branches are removed. The central conductor is cut off at the height of the upper skeletal branch.
  7. In the second year, the procedure must be repeated, choosing 3-4 more shoots. Last year's shoots are cut by 1/3. In the third year, the bush should consist of 6-8 equivalent trunks. Weak side shoots and improperly growing branches must be cut into a ring.

Once the crown has been properly shaped, it is maintained in the correct size by trimming and thinning out the annual growth.

Important! In subsequent years, only sanitary and rejuvenating trimmings are made.

How to grow mulberries in the Moscow region

The Moscow region is not a typical area for planting and growing mulberries. The natural area of ​​​​its growth is located south of the Kursk and Voronezh regions. However, it is quite possible to grow a mulberry tree in the Moscow region and even to the north. To do this, choose white varieties of mulberry, such as Belaya Staromoskovskaya, Admiralskaya or Belaya Medovaya. Their winter hardiness is higher than that of red and black varieties. When landing, the place is very important. It should be open and sunny, but at the same time well protected from the north and east winds.

The best results when growing mulberries in the Moscow region are formed in the form of a low (up to 1.5 m) bush on a very short trunk. This form makes it possible to bend the shoots to the ground for the winter and cover them. Sanitary cleaning is carried out in this region in late April or early May, after the removal of winter shelter. Autumn pruning of mulberry in the Moscow region, as a rule, is not carried out so as not to weaken its winter hardiness.

Plant care after pruning

Mulberry does not require special care, it is a very undemanding plant. After pruning, it is advisable to only feed the plant a little. In the spring, this can be done by introducing rotted manure, humus, as well as a complex nitrogen-containing fertilizer, for example, nitroammophoska, into the root zone. After autumn pruning, you can add a little superphosphate to the soil. Nitrogen fertilizers are not applied at this time of the year.

Cut branches must be collected and burned, especially after sanitary pruning. Fungus spores, pathogens and insect pests can live in them. After that, the stems of the trees must be whitewashed. Such a measure will prevent excessive heating and cracking of the tree bark under the bright spring sun. Whitewashing is also a good preventive measure against insect pests and their larvae, wintering in cracks and folds of the bark.

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