Trees

Why have a mulberry in the garden?

The mulberry tree is a tree is often planted in the streets, avenues and even in parks. There are so many that we might think there are too many. So why have one in the garden? Wouldn’t it be better to have a different tree? The answer is no. Well, it depends . In fact, if you are looking for a resistant plant that provides shade, this will undoubtedly be one of your best options.

It is a plant that can grow in many types of soils, also in calcareous soils that tend to compact. In addition, its cultivation and maintenance is very simple, as I will explain below.

Main characteristics of mulberry

Mulberry is a deciduous tree belonging to the genus Morus, which is made up of 10-16 species native to Asia, Africa and North America. They grow to a height of 15 meters, with fruits that are very reminiscent of blackberries, but are white, red or black. They have large, green leaves with very visible alternate, simple, and sometimes lobed main and secondary veins.

Its flowers appear grouped in inflorescences in the form of very dense spikes, which, if all goes well, will be pollinated. From then on, the fruit will begin to develop, which is the blackberry.

Main species

The best known are:

Morus alba

Image – Wikimedia/ gailhampshire from Cradley, Malvern, UK

It is a deciduous species known as mulberry or white mulberry native to central and eastern Asia. It can reach a height of 15 meters, with petioled leaves 4 to 6 in length and 4 to 5 centimeters wide, ovate in shape and light green in color. It blooms in spring (April in the northern hemisphere) and its fruits ripen a month later, turning white.

As a curiosity, say that its leaves are the main food of silkworms.

Morus alba ‘Fruitless’

It is a variety of white mulberry that does not produce fruit. It reaches between 12 and 15 meters, and has an ovate or rounded crown.

It is widely used to decorate streets and gardens.

Morus nigra

Image – Wikimedia/ mauro halpern

The black mulberry or black moral is a deciduous tree native to Southwest Asia, reaching a height of 10 to 13 meters. The leaves are larger than those of Morus alba, measuring 10 to 20 centimeters in length by 6 to 10 centimeters in width. The fruits are small grouped drupes, red at first and blackish when ripe. It blooms in spring.

Morus kagayamae

Image – Wikimedia/ Omegorge

The Morus kagayamae is a type of native deciduous mulberry Southeast Asia that reaches a height of 10-15 meters. Its crown is more or less rounded, formed by alternate and palmate green leaves. It blooms in spring, and produces fruits grouped in scarlet-red pedunculated infrutescences when ripening.

Mulberry care

Mulberry is a plant that needs these care:

Location

The mulberry, regardless of the variety, must be outdoors, in full sun. In addition, it is important that, if you want to have it in the garden, it is planted at a distance of about 6-7 meters at least from pipes, paved floors, etc.

Its root system is superficial but strong, so this must be taken into account to avoid problems.

Irrigation

Irrigation must be regular. Generally, it will be watered 2-3 times a week in summer, and every 7-9 days the rest of the year. But in hot and very dry areas it may be necessary to water more.

When in doubt, check the soil’s moisture, either with a digital meter or by digging around.

Earth

  • Garden: grows in all types of soils, except acid ones.
  • Pot: fill with universal growing medium, mulch or compost.

Pruning

It can be pruned in late winter with suitable pruning tools, such as a handsaw for thick branches over 3 cm and pruning shears for 1 cm or more. Of course, remember to disinfect them before and after use to avoid the proliferation of diseases.

In any case, you should know that it is better not to do it, since over the years it will weaken.

Pests

It is affected by aphids in summer, but it is not serious. They are treated anyway with any systemic insecticide.

Multiplication

Mulberry multiplies by seed in spring and autumn, semi-woody cuttings in spring, and cultivars such as Fruitless by grafting in spring-summer.

Planting or transplanting time

Spring is a good time to plant it in the garden, as well as to move it to a larger pot if you see the roots coming out of the drainage holes or if it has been in the same container for more than three years.

Rusticity

It resists frosts down to -15ºC without difficulty. It can live in hot climates, but in winter the temperature has to drop below 0 degrees at some point.

What uses is given to mulberry?

Image – Wikimedia/ Free.serpico

It has several uses:

Ornamental

It is a very decorative plant, ideal for shading streets and gardens. In addition, it can be grown for many years in a pot. It is also sometimes worked as bonsai, but it is complicated by the size of the leaf (too large).

Culinary

The fruits are edible, used to make juices and jams. As if that were not enough, they are diuretics.

Wood

It is used to make tool handles, as well as in cabinetmaking, carting, and tolerance.

Where to buy?

You can buy mulberry from here.

Rustic, resistant, easy to maintain… What more could you ask for?

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