Upper North Shore Sydney Australia

Mulberry

Mulberry

Morus spp. Moraceae  Mulberry Morus alba fruits m

Mulberries can be grown either as (heavily pruned) bushes or standard trees. Be warned some varieties can become very large trees and last 40 years. They are deciduous trees that provide good shade in summer and in autumn leaves turn yellow and then drop.

Planting

Mulberry trees are very hardy, they like a pH soil of 5.5 – 7 and preferably a loamy soil in a warm location. Mulberries are self-fertile, so you only need to plant one tree to get heaps of the soft, luscious fruit every year. The best for small gardens are grafted weeping mulberry purchased as bare-rooted trees. Plant when the plant is dormant during the winter. Be extra careful when back-filling the hole that you don’t damage the roots they can be quite brittle and fragile. Potted plants can be planted out in the early spring. Prepare the hole early with a good amount of aged compost, well-rotted farmyard manure and some blood and bone to give the young tree a good start.

Plant Care

Mulberries like to be well-watered, especially to help them establish a good root system, which is fairly shallow, in the first 2 years. Avoid planting other plants under your mulberry tree and place the mulberry away from paths and buildings that may be disturbed as the tree grows and its roots expand outward.

Water as needed and adding a layer of mulch would be highly beneficial for your plant. Again water well when the fruit begins to form, especially if you live in a hot climate, in case your fruit drops before they have even begun to ripen

Harvesting

Mulberries are self-fertile and will pollinate themselves, so you don’t have to plant more than one tree to get the soft, luscious fruit every year. Your garden planted tree will fruit the very first year, and in each successive year the crop will be better than the last. It will fruit well for at least 40 years. Keep pinch pruning to reduce tree size and be able to reach the fruit and keep netted when ripening if you wish to avoid the birds leaving strong mulberry stains on everything. Trees grafted onto dwarf rootstock are slow to establish and may take many years before your first crop.

Storage

Mulberries are usually eaten fresh from the tree are also ideal to use in jams, wines or apple and mulberry pies. Unwashed the berries will keep several days in a refrigerator in a covered container.

Varieties suitable for the Sydney Basin

Black mulberry (Morus nigra) fruit is large, resembling a blackberry and are considered the tastiest and most versatile of the mulberries, juicy with a good balance of sweetness and tartness.

Red mulberry (M. rubra) has delicious sweet fruits that can reach 10cm in length

White mulberry (M. macroura -‘Shatoot’) is a smaller tree, although, the largest of the mulberries, sometimes coming in at 10 cm in length! White in colour, they begin to go sweet when they are still half green, and become honeyed and sweet when fully ripe. With 30% sugar content the fruit can be dried and reduces down to an intensely sweet little snack.

White mulberry (M. alba ‘Pendula’) Is a pretty weeping form mulberry and another smaller variety of tree with greenish yellow fruit and provides good food for silkworms.

 

Note

Paper Mulberry (Broussonetia papyrifera), a native of Asia, was promoted in the 1980s as a permaculture species for paper making.

It is a significant invasive weed in several countries where it threatens local native vegetation.

In addition to its environmental impacts, its pollen is thought to cause inhalant allergies.

Reference: Californian rare fruit growers

 http://www.crfg.org/pubs/ff/mulberry.html

5 thoughts on “Mulberry”

  1. Jyotsna Field says:

    Where can I purchase a grafted (not small root stock) weeping mulberry(modus Nivea) in Sydney Metropolitan area?

  2. Brenda Debenham says:

    Hi Jyotsna
    Although we do not recommend a supplier per se…..
    For a grafted weeping mulberry I would suggest Fleming’s Nursery.
    You could also ask Winter Hill Tree Farm who stocks their weeping variety.
    I have purchased, other, dwarf bare root trees from Daley’s and Yalca and had great results. They mostly concentrate on trees with reliable fruit. Mulberry trees are amenable to hard pruning and I have seen beautiful, healthy, ‘Black English’ trees pruned to a lollipop shape in formal gardens.

    1. Jyotsnafield Field says:

      Thank you for the helpful suggestions.

  3. Leonie says:

    Is a dwarf Mulberry tree a special variety or can a normal mulberry tree be pruned into a small dwarf size and contained in a large pot, would it have problems fruiting etc.
    Appreciate your assistance
    Kind regards
    Leonie

    1. Brenda Debenham says:

      Hi Leonie
      A dwarf mulberry (bush) of 2-4 metres will still require regular pruning to ensure healthy fruiting and shape. A regular mulberry tree will want to grow large and needs to be trained quite severely to reduce the size. A dwarf mulberry can be grown in a large pot or bonsai bag and will require re-potting every 2 years, regular feeding and consistent access to water. A wicking system will help with the watering.

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