HOW TO GROW A MULBERRY TREE


There are over 150 species of mulberry trees so far discovered, although only 10–16 are generally accepted by the vast majority of botanical authorities. Of these only the three are subject to commercial cultivation.

White Mulberry - Morus alba
Black Mulberry - Morus nigra
Red Mulberry - Morus rubra

They are hardy, deciduous slow-growing trees grown notably for their for their ornamental appearance and edible fruits. All species are of Asiatic and Northern American origin although mulberries were introduced into the UK prior to the 4th Century with the Roman invasion.

During the 16th and 17th centuries the white mulberry was cultivated for its leaves which are used in the silk production industry for feeding silkworm moth caterpillars. However it is the black mulberry that was species of choice for its edible fruits.

Native to western Asia the black mulberry is a bushy, round-headed tree with coarse dark-green foliage. It is able to reach an average height and width of 15-25 ft and 10-15 ft. Each leaf is broadly ovate and toothed, sometimes with two lateral lobes. Small green-yellow flowers appear in during May and June on 1/2 inch long catkins, and are followed by dark-red berry-like fruits. These small fruits fuse together to form an ovoid, multiple fruit. The berries ripen in August and September resembling loganberries.

Mulberry tree need deep, moist, well-drained rich loams. When grown for fruit production they are most likely to succeed on sites protected from north and east winds.. In cooler regions of northern Europe they will need the protection of a warm, south-facing wall.

Harvest the fruits in late August and early September by spreading a cloth and the tree and shake the branches.

For related articles click onto the following links:
BLACKCURRANTS - The new superfood
CAN YOU EAT SEA BUCKTHORN BERRIES?
HOW TO GROW SWEET CHESTNUT
RHS MULBERRY
THE MARBLE BERRY - Pollia Condensata
THE ‘NATIVE’ TREES OF ENGLAND

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