Homeowners plant trees for various reasons.
Some do this to improve the curb appeal of their residential property. Ash trees, for instance, give off spectacular colors during fall.
Others see trees as a food source. These plants offer a range of healthy foods including fruits, nuts, seeds and leafy vegetables. Examples include the persimmon tree and the pistachio tree.
If you’re thinking about growing a fruit tree in your home, you could grow a mulberry tree.
Mulberry Tree History
The first ever mulberry tree plant reports originate in China. Mulberry tree growing was seen as advantageous because it served as nutrition for the silkworms that lived in those spaces. The silkworms eliminated the waste and leaves, while the people got their silk. This is why China is the first place where mulberry trees were cultivated in rows.
The Ancient Greeks and Romans cared for mulberry trees as early as 220 AD. Besides food, mulberry trees were used for medicinal purposes. The leaves had healing properties for treating mouth, lungs, and trachea diseases. People in the 17th century were growing mulberry for their roots to treat tapeworms.
The mulberry tree was first introduced to the States in the early 1730s. The 500 mulberry trees were planted in Fort Frederica, Georgia, hoping to increase silk production in the States. Later on, president Thomas Jefferson asked for mulberry tree planting every 20 feet around his home in Virginia.
Besides their juicy berries, most civilizations were growing mulberry trees for their tall stature, spreading canopies, and the provided shade. Ultimately, mulberry tree cultivation started rapidly expanding after farmers discovered it could be fed to livestock.
Planting mulberry trees was a sign of luxury, wealth, and comfort. There are three mulberry tree types – white, red, or hybrids.
Mulberry vs. Blackberry vs. Raspberry
Mulberries and raspberries are berries you would typically find in desserts; however, they are different in color and consistency. Raspberries are red, while mulberries are dark purple.
Mulberries are also larger than raspberries with a harder bite, while raspberries are easy to chew. They also grow on different kinds of plants, with the raspberry growing from the traditional bush and the mulberry on trees. Some hybrids may have produced mulberry shrub examples, but they are not like usual bushes.
Raspberries are a great source of zinc, fiber, and vitamins A, and B. Mulberries are rich in vitamins such as C, B2, calcium, and potassium. Raspberries, however, are lower in sugar and sodium.
If you compare blackberries and mulberries, you will see that mulberries are much longer and oval than blackberries. Blackberries, similar to strawberries, have a rounder shape. Mulberries also range in color but are still not too different from blackberries. The blackberry has dark purple to black tones, while the mulberry is either red or dark purple.
Many often confuse unripe mulberries for long black raspberries, but their taste and thickness are different. You can also tell the blackberry and mulberry apart through smell because the mulberry resembles grapes and wine and the blackberry oozes a floral scent.
Both blackberries and mulberries are diet-friendly. The mulberries have only 60 calories, while the blackberries are fulfilling. You can find blackberries in shakes, smoothies, and many healthy drinks since they contain fiber and tons of vitamins. Mulberries, on the other hand, are more often eaten raw and include lots of iron, beta-carotene, potassium, manganese, and A, C, K, and B vitamins.
Both blackberries and mulberries contain antioxidants that help speed up the weight loss process. Mulberry and dried blackberry leaves are also great tea ingredients.
What is Special About the Mulberry Tree?
First things first: despite what the childhood song “Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush” may suggest, the mulberry fruit grows on a tree, not a bush. This particular tree can even grow over 80 feet high, with a big spreading canopy engulfing a suburban lawn in shade.
Besides that, here’s why you should consider planting a mulberry tree on your property:
The fruit produced by a red or white mulberry tree is edible. Just remember to cook the berries first before eating them.
Take note, however, that this isn’t the only part of the plant that you can eat.
The leaves of the mulberry tree are also edible. They come with antioxidants, as well as vitamins and minerals like Vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, iron and phosphorus.
Even the inner bark of the mulberry tree is edible. Some people use this part of the plant in systems of traditional medicine. If this doesn’t sound appealing to you, though, you could shred the inner bark and use it to make a cord or twine.
Unlike other productive crop trees, mulberry trees are famous for their ability to shoot up quickly. Most trees take several years to start bearing fruits. Some mulberry varieties, however, begin producing within the second year — and produces more as they near maturity.
Given that the fruit of mulberry trees is so abundant and delicious, these plants are highly popular with wildlife, especially birds, insects and silkworms.
If you’re looking to attract birds to your property, planting mulberry is an option for you.
Can I Grow a Mulberry Tree in My Area?
Not all areas in the United States permit the planting of a mulberry tree. Some cities, such as Phoenix, Arizona and El Paso, Texas, have unfortunately banned the planting of this tree due to the pollen it produces.
Check with your community first if you’re allowed to plant weeping mulberry trees or the fruit-bearing variety. That’s not all you need to remember.
Mulberry trees also come with some downsides. These plants have aggressive roots that strangle drains and lift sidewalks. The fruitless kind also needs frequent pruning.
If you live in an area that lets you grow a mulberry tree and if understand the pros and cons involved with this plant, go ahead and plant one in your backyard.
The most popular types of mulberries are white, red, and dark purple to black. Thanks to hybridization, the mulberry tree went from producing white mulberries to dark red and purple.
The red mulberry originated in North America, and you can find it in moist weather. They grow in sandy, deep well-draining soil. Red mulberries are recognizable through their red and dark purple berries and leaves of varying shapes. The red mulberry also has a rounded crown, a short trunk, and small white spring flowers. The black mulberry is also a beloved variation for its heart-shaped leaves and fast growth. The white mulberry is usually found in Europe and North America, and it’s the oldest one.
White mulberry trees have blackberry-like edible fruits that are white at the beginning. When they begin to ripen, they turn pink or purple. The whites, too, have heart-shaped leaves but are thornier.
Black mulberry trees fare well in warmer climates like California. Planting mulberry trees in damp climates like Florida can cause them to grow smaller and develop like a bush.
How tall does mulberry tree grow? Well, white mulberries reach up to 60 feet tall. White mulberries don’t fare well around water, salt, and wind.
Red mulberries are popular because they grow fairly quickly, even around your home. The red mulberry tree is a favorite because it provides shade very quickly after planting. A popular mulberry tree choice is the rare dwarf weeping mulberry tree.
Mulberry Nutritional Chart
Mulberries are one of the most beneficial fruits you can eat. It’s 88% water, so consuming it keeps you hydrated. The mulberry fruits have only 43 calories and serve as a good substitute for sweets because of their sugary flavor.
Apart from a low-calorie count, we bet you didn’t know that planting a mulberry tree gives you access to protein and carbs! A plant mulberry tree has 9.8 grams of carbs and 1.4 grams of protein. The sweet-tasting mulberries have a bit of sugar – around 8.1 grams. The mulberry also has plenty of fiber, Iron, calcium, and magnesium.
Because mulberries have a lot of vitamin C and Iron, they’re healthier than regular blueberries. However, the blueberry is richer in Vitamin K. The mulberry also provides more iron than the blueberry. The only berry higher in Vitamin C is the strawberry. Still, the mulberry has more iron and vitamin B. One pro to the strawberry, when compared to the mulberry, is that it has 4 times more folate.
Mulberries taste the best when they are dried. You can snack on them when you are in the mood for something sweet or bake them into a cake or cookies. They provide a certain tingle, unlike usual berries, and are often used to refresh smoothies, wines, shakes, etc. Others use mulberries along with the rainbow corn plant in summer salads to provide a versatile flavor.
How Can I Grow and Care for a Mulberry Tree?
Choosing a Tree Variety
Start by identifying the mulberry tree variety you’d want for your garden. Opt for the fruit-bearing kind, as you can harvest the fruit and whip up delicious desserts with it.
The next step is to purchase a young tree from a nursery. Put the young mulberry tree in an open position in well-manured soil, exercising extra care not to damage the roots. Don’t place the plant near paths, as the fruit can stain them.
Soil and Fertilizer
A mulberry tree requires well-drained, loamy and slightly acidic soil (pH level should be between 6 and 6.5). They usually need little fertilizer if the soil conditions are ok.
If you are going to give this tree fertilizer, consider feeding it in late winter. Use a balanced 10-10-10 mixture and measure a pound of fertilizer for every inch in the trunk’s diameter.
Mulberry trees flourish in both partial shade and full sun. Just other fruit trees, more light equals more fruit. Don’t worry about giving this plant too much light, as your plant will eventually become one of the tallest specimens in your landscape once the tree reaches maturity.
Humidity and Temperature
Many mulberry tree species are cold-hardy. They can withstand temperatures as low as -25 degrees Fahrenheit during dormancy. They, however, produce the optimal amount of mulberry fruit when the temperature ranges from 68 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
During the first year, water your mulberry tree regularly and deeply. This will help establish a strong root system. Once established, this plant becomes fairly drought-tolerant. Take note, though, that prolonged dry weather can result in a decrease in fruiting or early dropping of berries (before they ripen).
Prune this tree judiciously. Your goal should be to get rid of dead or overcrowded branches.
Never trim a mulberry tree heavily, as mulberries are susceptible to bleeding at the cuts. Cuts that exceed two inches will not heal.
Bugs, such as mealybugs, scale and whitefly, don’t do much damage to mature trees. They’re tough enough to withstand these pests. If you’re taking care of a young sapling, though, apply a horticultural oil like neem oil.
You have two options when harvesting a mulberry tree. The first is to pick the ripe fruits by hand. Be warned, though, that mulberries are tender and will crush easily.
The second is to spread a large sheet of plastic or huge cloth beneath the branches. Then, gently shake the tree. Don’t worry about the unripe fruits that are still hanging from the tree — you can harvest them at a later time.
Growing a mulberry tree may be worth the effort if your city or town doesn’t see this plant as a nuisance. If you’re going to pursue growing this plant, take good care of it and the tree will provide you and the surrounding wildlife with lots of food.
Mulberry Tree Companion Plants
The mulberry tree does not grow as tall as the coconut tree, but it needs some space. But how to care for a mulberry tree properly? Well, by choosing the right companions in your garden! The right companions will decrease the amount of mulberry plant care you need.
As a full-grown mulberry tree, the plant takes up a lot of room, so you should keep companion plants within 50 feet. So, where to plant a mulberry tree? It’s best to do it near other fruit trees like apples and cherries.
When planting mulberry tree, you should also consider nasturtium, alliums, comfrey, strawberries, marigolds, wildflowers, dandelions, clover, wildflowers, and some types of the lettuce plant. Some gardeners plant the serrano pepper plant, pumpkins, and other vegetables around the mulberry.
Whatever you do, make sure it’s around likable plants. The companion plants help with soil health, attract beneficial insects, provide shade and support, and repel pests.
Fertilizing Mulberry Tree
Fertilizing the mulberry tree is imperative to its trunk growth and fruit production. Most mulberry trees are sensitive to fertilizer, but you can use a slow-release fertilizer that is accommodated to the mulberry tree’s needs. Mulberries require fertilizers that will not burn their tender leaves or roots. To grow tall, the young mulberry tree needs fertilizers that release nutrients over time instead of all at once.
The right fertilizer for a mulberry tree is typically the slow-release granular fertilizer. When choosing a mulberry tree fertilizer, see if the plant is mentioned. You need to use fertilizers that specifically tailor to mulberry trees.
The best synthetic fertilizer for mulberry trees is Dynamic Lifter. However, using natural fertilizers will increase the well-being of your mulberry tree. The best organic fertilizer for a mulberry tree is a blood meal or kelp meal. Natural fertilizers are best for boosting nitrogen in the soil.
But when to plant mulberry trees and fertilize them? We suggest doing it during spring and autumn.
Mulberry harvesting should be done when its berries are ripe. A mulberry tree usually becomes ripe in early to late spring and the finishing months of summer. To check if they’re ready for harvest, look at their color: fully-ripened mulberries will have turned from greenish-white to deep purple or black in hue.
When harvesting mulberries, there are two main methods to consider: handpicking and using a tarp. Handpicking involves manually removing the berries from their stems with bare hands or using a tool like pruning shears. You can also harvest mulberries with the tarp method. When it comes to tarping mulberries, you’ll need a large tarp, like one made of plastic or canvas. Have the tarp underneath the tree and shake the branches until you notice dropping berries.
To maximize yield, pick the berries when they are ripe and ready to be eaten from the tree. Inspect each bunch of berries carefully and discard any overripe or damaged.
Storing And Preserving Mulberry
Mulberries can be stored differently depending on what you plan to do with the fruit. If you want to enjoy fresh mulberries immediately, the best way is to store them in a cool and dry place until they are ready to eat. Place the mulberry in a loosely closed container or bag so that air can circulate and preserve them.
If you plan to use the mulberries for baking or cooking, it is best to freeze them as soon as possible to retain their freshness and flavor. Put the mulberries in a tightly-closed container and keep them in the freezer until needed.
There are several different methods of preserving mulberries, including freezing and canning.
Freezing is an easy way to store mulberries for up to one year. Wash and dry the berries, then place them on a baking sheet. Freeze until solid, then transfer to an airtight container or freezer bag.
Another way to store mulberries is by canning them in jars. Begin by washing and blanching the berries, then draining off excess water before packing them into mason jars. If you boil the canned mulberries, you can store them to make jams.
10 Amazing Tips And Precautions While Growing Mulberry Tree
Here are a few short tips on how to grow mulberry tree properly:
- A suitable area for a mulberry tree provides sunlight and moisture
- Mulberry trees prefer sandy-loam soils with good drainage.
- Mulberry trees require a consistent supply of water.
- During hot weather, water your tree every few days with about 1 inch of water (2.5 cm).
- If you have pests like spider mites, you can use insecticides and regularly wash the tree.
- Trim your mulberry tree by thinning or cutting out branches to grow new ones.
- Other methods to protect your mulberry tree from winds and hurricanes include staking in the ground.
- Keep the mulberries fresh by regularly watering them in the fridge.
- You should also take precautions when working with mulberries like other berries. Wear gloves and use scissors and store them in bags.
Growing mulberries is an excellent way to start your gardening experience. The big mulberry tree is delicious for animals and humans, and its fruits are beneficial in more than a few ways!
Growing mulberry trees served as nutrition for silkworms in China and civilians of the Roman Empire, so it’s been here for a long time. Unlike all the berries you’ve heard about, mulberries grow on trees rather than bushes, requiring the same care.
If you are trying to grow mulberry trees, know that mulberry tree care is among the most demanding.
We hope this article elaborates on all things mulberry and that you know when to plant a mulberry tree, how to maintain it, and where it grows best!
1) How long does it take for a mulberry tree to bear fruit?
Mulberry trees generally take between five to eight years to bear fruit.
2) Where do mulberry trees grow best?
Mulberry trees are suited for both temperate and tropical climates. The mulberry tree requires mild winters and warm, wet summers.
3) Can mulberries grow in pots?
Yes, mulberries can be grown in pots if you want to control their size, but the pot needs to have good drainage and be very large.
4) What is the lifespan of a mulberry tree?
The lifespan of a mulberry tree depends on the type and climate, with some trees living up to 100+ years. Most mulberry trees will have an estimated lifespan of between 60-100 years.
5) Do mulberry trees attract animals?
Birds, crows, squirrels, deer, and other wild animals enjoy mulberries.
6) Do mosquitoes like mulberry trees?
Mosquitos might be attracted to the sweet smell, but mulberry trees usually repel them.
7) How often should you water mulberry trees?
The best way to grow a mulberry tree is by watering it once or twice a week.