Mulberries are delicious, healthy, and fun to grow!
There are two varieties of mulberry that are native to the U.S.: Red mulberry and Texas mulberry. White mulberry was imported from China. Mulberry plants come in all different shapes, sizes, and colors. Of the three varieties mentioned, Texas mulberry plants are actually bushes.
Mulberry trees are deciduous and can live longer than 75 years. Red mulberry trees can reach a mature height of over 60 feet, while white mulberry trees can reach about 40 feet and the Texas mulberry bush can reach 6 to 12 feet in height.
Mulberries begin producing their first flowers before they start putting out their new leaves in the spring. The flowers are pollinated by wind and begin to plump up and change from green to white to red to a very dark, almost black color, producing a blood red juice. Mulberries are delicious but rare in groceries stores because of their delicate nature.
The fruit ripens over an extended period of time so you can enjoy the fruit of your labor for quite a while as opposed to having to pick them all at once.
Be sure to pick mulberries once they are ripe because they do not ripen off the tree.
It is important to consider a few things when deciding where to put your mulberry tree. The red mulberry is a very fast growing tree that is very large. It also gets just about as wide as it does tall. Unless you decide to do major pruning, this tree will need a large patch of lawn.
Mulberry trees enjoy full sun so be sure to plant it in an area that is not shaded by structures or trees.
Texas Mulberry trees grow in zone 7 and above and red mulberries do best in USDA zones 5 through 9. They tolerate drought and poor soil, but produce better with good irrigation and a nice deep loam. Soil should be well draining to avoid root rot.
Mulberry will produce fruit when it is very young and continue to increase yields for many years. If it gets too dry, the fruit will drop. Feeding your tree a 5-8-5 fertilizer 3 times a year will give you a healthy yield.
If you do decide to prune, do so when the tree is dormant. Remember, heavy pruning will reduce the fruit that year.
Mulberry trees grow well from cuttings. Cut a fresh twig, dip it in rooting hormone and put it in fresh, damp potting soil. Keep it moist for a couple of months and when new leaves start to come out, you know the roots are beginning to grow too.
This fruit is a favorite among squirrels and birds but the only other pests that come around are caterpillars. There are very few diseases that afflict the mulberry.
Mulberries are high in antioxidants, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Iron, Fiber, Riboflavin, Magnesium, and Potassium.