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Making mulberries on the cheap.

 
pollinator
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Hello again. A few days ago I posted about propagating figs and pomegranate. I need to add one more fruit tree to the list, mulberry. The thing about this tree is you cannot prune limbs larger than 2 inches, it’s a bleeder. This seemed to work in my favor because the smallest cuttings rooted the best. They worked so well that I got 100% success from them. If you’ve ever thought about propagating these berries you were probably turned off by the amount of time and effort you read it would take. Luckily, I had some branches to prune because they crossed. I figured I’d give it a go. They were so easy to root that I took fresh cuttings this morning and stuck them in the ground. I’m lucky to have a wet, shaded spot behind my house. If these do well I will wait and transplant some in the fall and some in late winter. Good luck! Scott
1F6CD20E-ED00-4499-9ADE-C6457F067D74.jpeg
easy rooting mulberries
 
gardener
Posts: 1943
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
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That's awesome Scott!

Did you root them like the pomegranates and figs in water?

Were they a wild tree or a specific variety?

I was hoping to try to root some mulberrries soon. It's really encouraging to see they rooted so well for you!
 
Scott Stiller
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Good evening Steve. These were
Mulberries I purchased. I know I’m not supposed to duplicate but......... They were rooted in around an inch of water. Here’s the thing, I believe they would have rooted much further up if I’d have had them in deeper water. I also think they may succumb to rot if they were placed deeper. I noticed some more crossed limbs this evening and I think we may be 4-6 weeks away from our answer!
 
pollinator
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They root well for me (about 75%) just dipped in hormone and stuck in the soil. I stick them where I want trees and they root well in a year. I don’t mostly have brand name mulberry just forest service trees. I’ve also been propagating red mulberries which are native here.
 
Scott Stiller
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I’m thinking about trying your Idea about just putting them where I want them in the future. I never had much luck doing things like that but they do seem to root really easy. Thanks TJ!
 
Tj Jefferson
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Scott best success is as soon as they are dormant here. For colder climates you might wait until spring. I also recommend second year wood in soil contact. Seems to be much better.
 
gardener
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I have a mulberry I've been pollarding but I'm late to doing it this year.
I see berries forming!
I might just wait and cut them after they fruit, but will they root at that point?
The other question, how long a branch do you use?
 
Scott Stiller
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Hello William. They seem to be rooting exceptionally easy. I’m not using rooting hormone, just plain water. I wouldn’t cut them back at this point either. I would give it a go in fall for sure.
These are cuttings I took today. They’re in four inches of water.
7F063172-BACF-48C6-9542-FA48F029AD17.jpeg
[Thumbnail for 7F063172-BACF-48C6-9542-FA48F029AD17.jpeg]
 
gardener
Posts: 567
Location: Central Texas
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Thanks for sharing, Scott!

My folks had to take out (cut down) a volunteer mulberry that came up right next to a peach tree, and had finally gotten taller than the peach. My dad brought the trunk & branches here for my brush pile, so I pulled a few branches out, cut them down, and stuck them in the ground. I had no clue if they'd even work, and they were still dormant at that time.

Now, I've noticed several of them have leafed out and are pushing new growth. I doubt they've set roots yet, but I mulched around them to maintain moisture and am keeping an eye on them. Many were just small sticks, but there are also some limbs about the length & thickness of my arms.
It's interesting to learn they'll root in water. I have a couple of the large limbs in a bucket of water with some rooted willow whips I was saving for a "fedge," and noticed they've started pushing new leaves; but not roots just yet (though the bark under the water is covered with the white bumps that could potentially become new roots).

Thanks, again, for sharing! Now I know that the time/effort I put into the cuttings might actually yield something! Keep us updated on how your project turns out!
 
Scott Stiller
pollinator
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A Fedge? God that’s hilarious! It will definitely be part of my lingo from now on! I’d be curious to hear how your experience plays out.
I’m doing a fedge of elderberries as well. Those things are about the fastest transplant to fruit I’ve ever seen.
 
Kc Simmons
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Scott Stiller wrote:A Fedge? God that’s hilarious! It will definitely be part of my lingo from now on! I’d be curious to hear how your experience plays out.
I’m doing a fedge of elderberries as well. Those things are about the fastest transplant to fruit I’ve ever seen.



Well, technically it'll be a hedge until the willows, Osage, and shrubs grow enough that I can remove the wire fencing but, once it's thick/solid enough to serve as a fence it'll be a fedge.
Hopefully the mulberries will take. It would be nice if the fedge also drops food in the poultry yard. Elderberries are also on my list to try one of these days.
 
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I’m so tempted to plant a mulberry, I love the fruit so much, but I’ve heard they take years and years to fruit and they grow so big. Has anyone had experience of keeping them small or fan training them, which I’ve read you can do? What’s the quickest anyone’s got them to fruit? I’m in Wales, UK, so relatively cool and wet! :-) I tried one of those dwarf mulberries from one of the big online nurseries - an expensive failure!
 
Posts: 70
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anything stays small if you prune it enough. I have some seeds I'm going to be starting with a goal of keeping it short and long, with all branches in easy reach hopefully. I'm not going for fruit, but just leaf production. sounds weird I know, but big silkworms can fetch about a dollar each locally and I'm eager to start trying to raise them!
 
Scott Stiller
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Hello Arwen! I’m glad to hear you like mulberries as much as I do. I bought two dwarf trees from an online nursery as well and they’re doing really well. As you’ve seen from my other posts the cuttings were very easy to root after established. In their third year they produced a few, fourth year (now) they are pretty loaded! Since I’ve had more time lately I’ve been trying to identify trees on my property. What I’ve found is several red mulberry trees from 5-10 feet tall. Instead of rooting anymore I’m going to graft all of my cuttings from the dwarfs onto the wild red ones. Hopefully they take.
I have also been trying something new with the cuttings I’ve taken. I have a very wet spot near my house. The soil is good so I’ve started sticking the cuttings straight in along with seeds to form a plant family. They all seem to be doing well. When ready I’m just planning to dig up the tree and it’s family to transplant where I like.
The first picture is one of my dwarf trees next to an air well I made. The second two are what I believe is a red mulberry tree.
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[Thumbnail for 101E134C-306C-42C6-BE2B-81CDE1EC4B90.jpeg]
 
pollinator
Posts: 630
Location: Huntsville Alabama (North Alabama), Zone 7B
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Kc Simmons wrote:Well, technically it'll be a hedge until the willows, Osage, and shrubs grow enough that I can remove the wire fencing but, once it's thick/solid enough to serve as a fence it'll be a fedge.
Hopefully the mulberries will take. It would be nice if the fedge also drops food in the poultry yard. Elderberries are also on my list to try one of these days.



Kc, would love to see pictures of your Fedge.
 
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Some of you folks must live in an area where the Mulberry tree is preferred.  Here in North-east Iowa it is a weed. Where you have one tree 20 to 25 tall, you have 100 little ones 1-3 foot tall, (a 2' tree can have a 3' tap root and side roots)  with more coming every year. Please be aware that if your climate is conducive to weed trees such as this, you will be fighting forever. I have been in a pulling up-cleaning out-trying to stop them war for 40 years... Not sure if I am winning, but am fairly confident that the problem would have been worse if I had not.  

Seeds are spread by birds.

In some areas, this may not be a problem.
 
Dennis Bangham
pollinator
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Scott, love your air well. Had to look it up.  I now know what to do with all my concrete blocks.  Maybe a birdbath on top.
 
pollinator
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Arwen Hutchings wrote:I’m so tempted to plant a mulberry, I love the fruit so much, but I’ve heard they take years and years to fruit and they grow so big. Has anyone had experience of keeping them small or fan training them, which I’ve read you can do? ....



I have not heard that you can fan train them. do you mean like an espalier, along a building? The building might get stained, especially with the red kind. If you are thinking of a hedge or a fedge, I'd see that: Less cutting, snipping, shaping... more fruit...
What I love about mulberries is that you can train them to grow as a bush or as a tree. To train them as a tree, clip the suckers [keep clipping, they are stubborn]
If you'd rather have a bush, encourage those suckers: keep trimming the upper growth.
I do both because at my age, I'm not climbing a tree to get the delicious berries! The bush is more my size. I'm going to plant one [tree shape] in the middle of my chicken yard yet: Producer to consumer, no middleman. A mulberry tree is fine: Birds will go for it big time and I'll be able to get my mulberries from the bushes. Everyone gets served, everyone gets happy.
By the way, some have said that mulberries are OK for Illinois but not Wisconsin: I have 26 of them growing and a few started fruiting in Central WI [zone 4]. Some are white and some are dark red. They grew [like weeds!]from seeds I harvested locally. The white ones are much sweeter but my hubby thinks they look gross:"With the little black dot, they look like grubs, yuk". Well, a few drops of food coloring and he has conquered his dislike. In pies, I put a cover on.
I'll try making cuttings this year: The fruit drops off so easily that most of it can be harvested from the ground. Put down a vinyl tablecloth before you harvest.
 
Scott Stiller
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Good morning Dennis. My air well has got an old piece of black pipe hammered into the ground in the middle. There’s several inches of open space between the pipe and the block. That is a makeshift birdbath on top from a water saucer for potted plants.
 
Posts: 318
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Mulberries are a weed around here, there are literally hundreds on my property. I cut a lot of mulberry at any point in time. If you cut a 6 inch branch inJuly, it's just going to grow a ton of sprouts. You can't kill these things. Brush hogging over a tree just turns it into a berry bush.

Do not fret about cutting mulberry any time of the year!
 
pollinator
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I will have to try this with a still-alive yet dying mulberry near my land that the road construction crew damaged last year.  Its berries were never great, but I guess I can always graft to it.  I also planted a bunch of small mulberries from the forest service in a shady area and they seem to be doing ok for now, growing slowly.
 
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Cécile Stelzer Johnson wrote:I do both because at my age, I'm not climbing a tree to get the delicious berries! The bush is more my size. I'm going to plant one [tree shape] in the middle of my chicken yard yet: Producer to consumer, no middleman. A mulberry tree is fine: Birds will go for it big time and I'll be able to get my mulberries from the bushes. Everyone gets served, everyone gets happy.

By the way, some have said that mulberries are OK for Illinois but not Wisconsin: I have 26 of them growing and a few started fruiting in Central WI [zone 4]. Some are white and some are dark red. They grew [like weeds!]from seeds I harvested locally. The white ones are much sweeter but my hubby thinks they look gross:"With the little black dot, they look like grubs, yuk". Well, a few drops of food coloring and he has conquered his dislike. In pies, I put a cover on.
I'll try making cuttings this year: The fruit drops off so easily that most of it can be harvested from the ground. Put down a vinyl tablecloth before you harvest.



Being in southern-WI, the Mulberry trees are plentiful in zone-4B.  Around the Beloit region to Monroe WI there are many in peoples yards and in the town parks.  I'll have to try this method to propagate a few more trees before winter arrives.  May do large pots for the first winter as our temps get really low.  This way, the 2nd year can be hardy enough to survive.  This is what the local organic blueberry farm does up the road with their bushes.  Takes 3 years to make them hardy enough to stay outdoors successfully.  
 
Brian Maverick
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Eric Hammond wrote:Mulberries are a weed around here, there are literally hundreds on my property. I cut a lot of mulberry at any point in time. If you cut a 6 inch branch inJuly, it's just going to grow a ton of sprouts. You can't kill these things. Brush hogging over a tree just turns it into a berry bush.

Do not fret about cutting mulberry any time of the year!



Wow, that must be insane to have that many.  If it's only at your place, open a U-Pick and charge folks for them.
 
Arwen Hutchings
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“I have not heard that you can fan train them. do you mean like an espalier, along a building? The building might get stained, especially with the red kind. If you are thinking of a hedge or a fedge, I'd see that: Less cutting, snipping, shaping... more fruit...“  

I did mean like an espalier but actually I think you are right and I am confused - it’s actually training them more as a bush that I’ve read about.  I like the fedge idea and it sounds more practical and manageable than espalier or fan training!! (Thinking about it logically it would grow every time your back was turned, wouldn’t it?)  :-)
 
pollinator
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Thanks for the great information here folks. We're in Autumn/fall here in NZ and I have a young mulberry tree that is on a serious lean. It had one berry this year, which was delicious. So, I'm thinking I will take cuttings from it to establish elsewhere and I will try to save it by creating some kind of structure around it that I can train it on and keep it smallish and stable.
 
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Goats love mulberries.  Perhaps that is a way to get rid of them, IF they are a problem in some areas.
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
pollinator
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Cindy Loos wrote:{Mulberries are a weed around here, there are literally hundreds on my property. I cut a lot of mulberry at any point in time. If you cut a 6 inch branch inJuly, it's just going to grow a ton of sprouts. You can't kill these things. Brush hogging over a tree just turns it into a berry bush.
}  
Eric..
Goats love mulberries.  Perhaps that is a way to get rid of them.



As usual: Location, location, location: In a certain environment, I'm sure it could be a weed... A delicious weed, a helpful weed... one that is great for birds, making jam/ jellies. Cindy, you don't tell us which zone you are in, or the type of soil you have. In zone 4, sandy soil, they need a little encouragement and a little TLC and they are very generous.
Same with Robinia pseudoacacia [black locust] I love the fragrance and honeybees make a honey that is very clear and never crystallizes from it. It is not every year that the circumstances line up just right for that harvest.
In Portage county WI, they are considered invasives however and folks who have them in their small backyards rue the day they allowed them to get settled. It is your brush hogging comment that made me think of that: Black locust is a prolific sucker-er: If you brush hog the top, the roots run over your entire backyard and you'll never get it back without putting Roundup on the thing. and those have thorns! Yikes! Talk about impenetrable barrier! There is a small patch about 2 miles from me. I hope my bees visit it but the birds don't scatter the seeds around here!
 
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I've tried multiple times to root cuttings from an "ever-bearing" mulberry and had no luck. I tried in soil, though, not water. Unfortunately, because it was very fruitful, the original tree died. I ordered two dwarf trees on-line and they are doing well. I hope I can get some cuttings from them. Do they have to be woody cuttings? If so, it will take a while until these get there.

Thanks!

PS. I am looking up air-well. I thought the brick structure was an insect hotel!
 
Scott Stiller
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Several weeks ago I stuck fresh cuttings in a wet area. Not bad.
CF228261-B1A2-4DE4-84ED-CDE7827E3EEF.jpeg
[Thumbnail for CF228261-B1A2-4DE4-84ED-CDE7827E3EEF.jpeg]
 
Scott Stiller
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Alright, quite confused here. I have the mulberries that I’ve posted here. I finally tracked down my neighbor’s wild mulberry tree. Then a book of mine tells me there’s a red mulberry that looks like a sassafras tree.
Here’s what I want to do. Graft them all together on all trees. What I understand is that red mulberry trees have leaves resembling sassafras leaves but all the other varieties look pretty much the same. I’m going to post some pictures. Can anyone tell me if the last picture is a red mulberry? I don’t want to waste scion wood if not. Thanks
6D3BD32E-E1EE-498B-B3F9-52D7C42B884B.jpeg
My tree that I’ve posted here.
My tree that I’ve posted here.
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Neighbor’s wild berry
Neighbor’s wild berry
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Red mulberry?
Red mulberry?
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
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Scott Stiller wrote:Alright, quite confused here. I have the mulberries that I’ve posted here. I finally tracked down my neighbor’s wild mulberry tree. Then a book of mine tells me there’s a red mulberry that looks like a sassafras tree.
Here’s what I want to do. Graft them all together on all trees. What I understand is that red mulberry trees have leaves resembling sassafras leaves but all the other varieties look pretty much the same. I’m going to post some pictures. Can anyone tell me if the last picture is a red mulberry? I don’t want to waste scion wood if not. Thanks



Here is a how do distinguish the two: https://homeguides.sfgate.com/tell-differences-sassafras-mulberry-tree-seedlings-60086.html
Sassafras albium and morus are not related genetically, so the chance of establishing a successful graft between the two is remote. If you compare their classification and look at the definition given in the clade, you will see:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sassafras
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morus_(plant)
The sassafras is more closely related to the laurel while the mulberry is closer to the osage orange.
If you want more mulberry, planting seeds would be a cheaper way to go because they are truly prolific and they germinate well.
 
Scott Stiller
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Wanted to update my mulberry thread. I rooted some in water and planted. Others were just pruned from the tree and stuck in the ground. The ones I rooted beforehand had a good success rate. It would have probably been better if I’d have paid them any attention. They range from one-three foot tall four months later. I plan to dig them up and plant in a new home soon.
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