Creating More Living Space Outdoors

Mulberry Trees: A Growing And Care Guide

by Emily Flores

Wouldn't it be nice to have both shade and fresh berries, right in your own backyard? With a mulberry tree, you can have just that. These hardy trees are native to China, but are now grown throughout North America. They are easy to grow and maintain, and they produce delicious, dark red berries in the summer months. Follow these tips to plant and maintain a mulberry tree in your yard:

Planting A Mulberry Tree

Like most trees, mulberries are hard to start from seeds. Instead, you should visit a local nursery or garden store, and look for a sapling that's already 3 or 4 feet tall. Make sure the tree you choose has plenty of leaves, and that the branches are thick for the height of the tree, as these are markers of good health. There are several species of mulberry to choose from. The most common are black mulberry and red mulberry. If you live in a cold climate, a black mulberry is a better choice since its hardier. If the temperature rarely falls below freezing where you live, either species will perform equally as well.

When you get your new tree home, you'll want to choose a sunny area to plant it. Though mulberry trees will tolerate dry soil and air pollution, they don't do well in the shade. Dig a hole that is at least twice as wide as the root ball, and place the tree in the hole. Add soil back to the hole, leaving just the top of the root bulge exposed. Then, water the tree well, and apply a few inches of mulch to the top of the soil.

Caring For A Young Mulberry Tree

Mulberry trees don't require pruning, but you can have yours lightly pruned to remove dead branches if you like. Only prune branches that are less than 2 inches in diameter, since larger ones will bleed excessively, eventually harming the tree. Adding fertilizer is not usually necessary either, though you can apply a balanced fertilizer once a year if you think the tree's growth is slow. During periods of drought, you should supply the tree with water. Once it is about five years old, you can stop watering it, since its more established roots will allow it to seek water from far beneath the ground.

Picking Mulberries

Mulberries generally ripen in the middle of the summer. Most trees don't start producing them until they're a few years old, and the first few years' crops tend to be light. When they are dark red or purple, you can remove them from the tree by pulling on them gently. Eat them fresh, or bake them into a pie.

Mulberry trees don't require much maintenance once established. Plant one now, and you'll have a shady yard and delicious fruit within a few years. For more information, contact a tree service like Able Scape, Inc.