Native to Asia and America, the mulberry is a shrub of the Moraceae family that is appreciated for the delicious fleshy berries it produces in summer. Due to its generous fruiting and because it is easily grown, the mulberry is one of the most widespread fruit trees in orchards and gardens. Also grown for its ornamental value, the mulberry is not difficult to maintain throughout the year. 

The mulberry is a small deciduous tree that grows in-ground in rather temperate and sunny regions. Quite sensitive to the cold, this beautiful fruit tree does not enjoy winters, making it much more temperamental in cold regions. However, when provided with favourable conditions, the mulberry tree is easy to grow and requires very little care.

Which mulberry to choose? 

Often cultivated for its fruit, the mulberry tree can also be grown for other uses, such as paper manufacturing for example. Thus, this small fruit tree comes in a dozen species, the most famous of which is undoubtedly the “Morus alba”, commonly known as white mulberry. Characterized by light-coloured berries, this species is mainly grown for its foliage which is used to feed silkworms. In the garden, it is preferable to choose varieties like the blackberry (“Rubus fruticosus”), which is distinguished by the delicious fleshy berries it produces throughout the summer. Very popular with children and widely used in desserts, the mulberry can also be grown as an ornamental tree to embellish meshes and garden pergolas. For more diversity and originality, try cultivating hybrid varieties, such as the lesser known “Tayberry” for example. Characterized by beautiful red fruits, this species can be used to create hedges that will brighten up the garden with its rich-coloured fruiting during the summer.

How to plant a mulberry tree? 

Native to relatively warm regions, the mulberry needs sun to grow and produce berries. Ergo, make sure that your plants are placed in a sunny and well-lit location, so that fruits can soak up the sunlight for an even more successful fruiting. Given that the black mulberry generally has little growing requirements, it will hardly be necessary to favour one type of soil over another to get good results. Nevertheless, it is important to know that hybrids are sometimes more capricious. To that extent, always privilege well-drained soils to make sure that your shrub does not suffer from excessive moisture, both in winter and summer. Regarding the planting period, proceed in spring or autumn, avoiding planting your shrub during freezing periods. Furthermore, if you choose to create hedges, leave enough space between plants so that they have sufficient room to develop while growing up.

How to maintain a mulberry tree? 

Maintenance of the mulberry tree poses no great difficulty once the plant is well developed. Thus, this shrub’s care is summed up in two main trimmings, one in spring before fruiting, and another in early winter after the fruits’ complete disappearance. In terms of watering, avoid excessive water supply so that the soil remains well-drained, especially when the first frosts appear. The mulberry tree being rather sensitive to cold, it will be necessary to protect it from frost in cold regions, especially when the plant is still relatively young and fragile. Regarding disease, it is important to pay attention to the appearance of small worms that attack the plant during its flowering period and impair fruiting. To prevent any possible risk, it is preferable to use an insecticide treatment in the spring, before the worms begin assailing the emerging berries.

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Published in Planting by Alexander on 04 Jul 2011