Where do mulberries grow?

Mulberry

Color/Appearance: Heartwood is a golden brown, darkening to a medium/reddish brown with age. Sapwood is a pale yellowish white. Overall appearance is very similar to Osage Orange.

Grain/Texture: Grain is straight, with a uniform medium texture. Good natural luster.

Endgrain: Ring-porous; large earlywood pores 2-5 rows wide, small latewood pores in clusters and tangential bands; tyloses and other gum deposits common; parenchyma vasicentric, aliform, and confluent; medium to wide rays, spacing normal.

Rot Resistance: Rated as very durable, with good insect resistance and weathering properties.

Workability: Responds well to both hand and machine tools. Turns, glues, and finishes well.

Odor: No characteristic odor.

Allergies/Toxicity: Besides the standard health risks associated with any type of wood dust, no further health reactions have been associated with Mulberry. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability: Due to its small size and scattered distribution, Mulberry is seldom if ever harvested commercially for lumber. Smaller pieces are sometimes available locally throughout the tree’s natural range. Expect prices to be high for a domestic hardwood.

Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Common Uses: Fence posts, furniture, and turned objects.

Comments: Mulberry species are perhaps better known for their edible fruit. The leaves of White Mulberry (Morus alba) are also the primary food source for the silkworm (Bombyx mori), which is used to produce silk.

The wood itself looks very similar to Osage Orange, though Mulberry tends to be significantly lighter. Black Locust also bears a close resemblance to Mulberry, and it’s weight is only slightly higher than Mulberry’s. However, the two may be easily separated with a blacklight, as Mulberry is non-fluorescent, while Black Locust is highly fluorescent under a blacklight (see video below).

Related Species:

None available.

Scans/Pictures: A special thanks to Mike Leigher for providing the wood sample, and Steve Earis for providing the turned photo of this wood species.

Red Mulberry (sanded) Red Mulberry (sealed)
Red Mulberry (endgrain) Red Mulberry (endgrain 10x)
Mulberry (turned)

Mulberry Tree Care – Learn How To Grow Mulberry Trees

Mulberry trees (Morus spp.) enjoyed popularity in years past as ornamental shade trees as well as for their copious edible fruit, which can be eaten raw or made into luscious preserves, pies and wine. Interested in learning about how to grow mulberry trees? Read out all about growing mulberry fruit trees and mulberry tree care.

Growing Mulberry Fruit Trees

While people love mulberry fruit, birds also love the berries and the tree is a beacon that attracts dozens of, ahem, messy guests. The tree also has an unwelcome habit of becoming invasive. Unfortunately, this brought the growing of mulberry fruit trees to a screeching halt in any but the most rural areas.

Mulberry trees do have redeeming qualities, though, and one of the most outstanding is the minimal care they require. Before we learn about how to care for mulberry trees, here’s a brief synopsis of the three types of mulberry trees most commonly grown.

  • Black mulberry – The most flavorful berries come from the black mulberry (Morus nigra). These trees are native to western Asia and are only adaptable to USDA zone 6 and warmer.
  • Red mulberry – Hardier than black mulberries, red mulberries (Morus rubra) are native to North America where they thrive in deep rich soils found along bottomlands and streams.
  • White mulberry – White mulberries (Morus alba tatarica) were imported from China, introduced into colonial America for silkworm production. White mulberries have since naturalized and hybridized with the native red mulberry.

How to Grow Mulberry Trees

Mulberry trees bear small, unremarkable blooms that become plentiful fruits that look much akin to a slender blackberry. The berries ripen in stages and drop from the tree as they mature. The trees are hardy to USDA zones 4/5 to 8 depending upon the variety. They prefer full sun and rich soil but will tolerate part shade and a variety of soils. They are easy to transplant, salt tolerant and perfect for erosion control, not to mention the delicious berries. Some cultivars are wind-resistant and make wonderful windbreaks.

Deciduous trees, all three species attain various sizes. White mulberry can grow to 80 feet, red mulberry around 70 feet and the smaller black mulberry may get to 30 feet in height. Black mulberries can live for hundreds of years, while red mulberry maxes out at 75 years of age.

Mulberry trees should be planted in full sun with no less than 15 feet between trees, ideally in warm, well-draining soil such as deep loam. Don’t plant them near a sidewalk unless you don’t mind the staining or the potential tracking in of squashed berries (of course, if this is a problem for you, there is a fruitless mulberry variety too!). Once the tree has established, there is very little additional mulberry tree care required.

How to Care for a Mulberry Tree

There really isn’t too much to worry about with this hardy specimen. The trees are fairly drought tolerant but will benefit from some irrigation during the dry season.

Mulberries do well without additional fertilization, but a 10-10-10 application, once per year will keep them healthy. Mulberries are even primarily free from most pests and disease.

Pruning Mulberry Trees

Prune young trees into a tidy form by developing a set of main branches. Prune lateral branches to 6 leaves in July to facilitate the growth of spurs near the main limbs.

Do not prune heavily since mulberries are prone to bleeding at the cuts. Avoid cuts of more than 2 inches, which will not heal. If you prune when the tree is in its dormancy, bleeding is less severe.

Thereafter, only judicious pruning of mulberry trees is necessary, really only to remove dead or overcrowded branches.

Red mulberry (Morus rubra) tree with fruit. Photo by Vern Wilkins,
Indiana University, Bugwood.org

Mulberry (Moras spp.) is a fruit producing tree that can provide gardeners tasty fruits. This tree also has a rich history.

Native red mulberry trees have been enjoyed by people in North America for centuries. On expedition in the mid-1500s De Soto observed Muskogee Indians eating dried mulberry fruits. Over winter the Iroquois mashed, dried, and stored the fruit to later add to water, making warm sauces that were occasionally mixed into cornbread. Cherokees made sweet dumplings by mixing cornbread and sugar with mulberries. The Timucua people of northeast Florida used the fruit, along with the tree’s leaves and twigs, to make dyes, and the Seminoles used the branches to make bows.

The introduced white mulberry was brought from China in the early 1800s as a host plant for silk worms in hopes of establishing silk production in the United States. Trees were planted throughout the United States; however, silk production was too costly a venture. Despite the failure of the silk industry, the mulberry trees did well.

Characteristics

The mulberry plant family, Moraceae, also includes figs, jackfruit, and breadfruit. Mulberry trees produce small, sweet fruits that resemble slender blackberries. Mulberry fruits are quite popular with wildlife. Visiting creatures will reduce the harvest for your personal use, but on a good sized tree there should be enough fruits for all to enjoy.

These deciduous trees can have male and female flowers on the same plant (monoecious) or different plants (dioecious). Berries ripen in late spring or summer. If you select a dioecious type be sure you plant both a male and female tree to insure fruit production. Be sure to pay attention when purchasing trees, there are also weeping and contorted mulberry trees that are purely ornamental and do not produce fruit. Red mulberry trees and white mulberry trees can both grow quite large while black mulberry trees are generally the smallest. When considering their mature size, black mulberry trees may be the most practical choice for home gardens.

Red mulberry (Morus rubra), is a native, deciduous tree, found in moist soils from South Florida to west Texas. Also called American Mulberry, this tree grows to heights of 40 feet tall with the tree growing taller in the northern parts of its range. The pollen from male trees is extremely allergenic while female trees cause few to no allergies. These trees produce reddish or black fruits that are considered to be good quality. Red mulberry trees grow fairly quickly and are able to provide you with shade and fruit relatively soon after planting.

Despite the name, fruit from white mulberry (Morus alba) trees can actually be pink, black, purple, or white. White mulberry trees actually get their name from the color of the flower buds, not their variably colored fruits. These fruits, while sweet, are described by some as insipid when compared to red and black mulberries. Flower buds on white mulberry trees emerge a bit before those on red mulberry trees and well before those black mulberry trees. This is a large tree that grows up to 60 feet tall and has some salt and wind tolerance.

Black mulberry (Morus nigra) is native to western Asia and the Middle East. This mulberry tree produces what many consider to be the highest quality mulberry fruits. Fruit from these trees is almost without exception black. Black mulberry trees are more popular in warmer, drier areas like California; when grown in Florida, they’re generally smaller with a more bush-like habit. If you’re looking for a mulberry bush worthy of the nursery rhyme, black mulberry just may fit the bill.

Planting and Care

Red mulberry tree in a home landscape. Photo by T. Davis Sydnor,
The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org.

Mulberry trees can be planted in many Florida landscapes as they thrive in infertile, sandy soils, are drought tolerant after establishment, and moderately wind resistant. These trees do best in full sun to light shade. Native red mulberry trees are usually found growing in the shade of larger trees.

When choosing a location, keep in mind that fallen fruits stain the surfaces they land on, so it’s best to avoid planting over driveways, sidewalks, and patios. Selecting a light-fruited cultivar can also cut down on the mess factor; look for ‘Tehama’ or ‘King White Pakistan’.

Mulberry trees require very little maintenance; they rarely require irrigation after establishment and generally do not require fertilization. As far as pruning goes, you can perform light pruning when trees are young to help create a strong framework of branches. With a mature tree, you should only prune to remove dead or damaged wood or crossing limbs, since the wounds caused when removing a major branches are slow to callous. Be careful when pruning your tree, mulberry trees have milky sap which can causes skin rashes in some people.

UF/IFAS Sites

  • Florida Plant ID: Mulberry
  • Red Mulberry — 4-H Forest Resources

UF/IFAS Publications

  • Morus alba Fruitless Cultivars: White Mulberry
  • Morus rubra, Red Mulberry

Mulberry trees are easy to take care of and produce sweet fruit in abundance. The most difficult aspect of growing mulberry trees is propagating them, so it’s best to buy a start.

Mulberry Tree Overview

Quick Facts

Origin Asia and North America
Scientific Name Morus spp.
Family Moraceae
Type Deciduous fruiting tree
Common Names Mulberry tree
Height Up to 80 feet
Toxicity Non-toxic
Light Full sun
Watering Drought-tolerant
Pests Caterpillars and scale insects

Varieties

Black Mulberry – Morus nigra

Black Mulberry – Morus nigra – Credit to Miloslav Bahna

These mulberries are native to China and prefer a warm climate. The coldest regions they can be grown in is USDA hardiness zone 6; any lower and the tree would not survive the winter. Black mulberry trees are the smallest of all the mulberry trees, with the ability to grow up to 30 feet in height. However, unless they are pruned when young and trained to form a tree shape, they will often grow into more of a mulberry bush than a tree.

Black Persian

Bears a large black juicy fruit over an inch in length.

Kaester

This cultivar fruits heavily, bearing an abundance of very sweet fruit of up to 1.5 inches long. The tree originated in LA, USA, in 1971.

Shangri-la

This cultivar has interesting foliage, with oversized heart shaped leaves. It enjoys warmth and is an ideal mulberry tree for growing in the southern United States. It originates from Florida and bears large black fruits.

White Mulberry – Morus alba tatarica

White Mulberry – Morus alba – Credit to gails_pictures

White mulberry trees were originally imported from China to the US as part of the emerging silk trade because silkworms liked to eat mulberry trees. The silk trade failed to take off in North America, but the white mulberry trees were here to stay. They grow easily, being forgiven of poor soil conditions and can also adapt to grow in partial shade. Despite their name, the fruits of the white mulberry tree are actually dark purple in color, though they start out as white. White mulberry trees are the tallest of the three varieties, growing up to 80 feet in height. They can take many forms, depending on the cultivar, with some trees having a weeping habit, while other grow to form a pyramid shape.

Riviera

The purple fruits of this cultivar are fleshy, juicy, and sweet. The tree originates from California and has a long harvest period of April through to June.

Red Mulberry- Morus rubra

Red Mulberry- Morus rubra – mauro halpern

Red mulberry trees, which are also known as American mulberry trees, are native to the United States. They are first known to have grown all along the Gulf Coast up to Massachusetts. Red mulberry trees have a lifespan of up to 75 years and can grow to heights of 70 feet in rich, fertile soil. They are cold-hardy to temperatures below 0 but do prefer warmth. The appearance of the red mulberry is similar to the black mulberry, though it has more delicate twigs and smaller buds. Many red mulberry trees have been hybridized with white mulberry trees to form new cultivars.

Pakistan

Originating in Pakistan, this cultivar prefers warm weather but can tolerate colder winters. It bears exceptionally large fruit, measuring up to 3.5 inches in length.

Russian

This cultivar originated in China but has been grown in Europe for over 1,500 years. It is very tolerant of wind, and so, is commonly used as a windbreak. It grows to 35 feet in height and is one of the hardiest cultivars (California Rare Fruit Growers).

Caring for Your Mulberry Tree

Watering

Mulberry trees are fairly tolerant of drought once mature and therefore do not need to be watered frequently. Throughout the fall, winter, and spring, rainfall alone usually provides sufficient hydration for the tree, though it will benefit from additional watering during long dry seasons. The tree should be planted in well-draining soil as it dislikes sitting in soggy soil, and the well-draining quality of soil will help divert water away from the roots of the tree. The tree would prefer to be in rich soil with high organic content, though it will grow well in a variety of soil types.

Light

The mulberry tree will ideally be in a position of full sun. This encourages more flower production, which in turn will result in more mulberry fruits. Large varieties of this tree can grow up to 80 feet in height, so full sun for these trees won’t be a problem as they will likely tower far above any nearby trees or buildings. Some varieties, particularly black mulberry trees, may only reach heights of 20 to 30 feet, or dwarf varieties just 6 feet so that they may end up in the shade of larger trees or nearby buildings. It’s important when planting a mulberry tree to take note of the light, making sure it won’t be shaded.

Young mulberry trees especially will need full sun to grow tall and strong, so they should be positioned away from anything that could put them in the shade. Some varieties of mulberry trees will adapt to partial shade, but they will produce fewer flowers and, therefore, less fruit. This may not be a problem if you are not interested in the fruit, but for an abundantly fruiting tree, it is advisable to ensure full sun (University of Florida).

Temperature

Most mulberry trees are suitable for growing in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 9, though some varieties are hardy to zones 3 and 4. The tree enjoys warmth, happily growing in full sun conditions. During the winter, it’s a good idea to mulch over the soil surrounding the base of the tree, as this helps to insulate the roots against freezing. This is especially important for young mulberry trees as they may not yet have strong root systems that can survive extended cold temperatures.

Propagation

Mulberry trees are challenging to grow from seed. They require 90 consecutive days of cold, and even then, they have a low germination success rate. If you want to grow a mulberry tree, it is best to buy one from a reputable nursery, where they are now readily available. They were once considered a nuisance, due to the mess they left on the ground, and the way they grew in a weed-like fashion, becoming invasive in some areas. This led to a lack of mulberry tree availability, but the tree has once again become in vogue as people learn how to use it correctly.

To plant the tree in your garden, select an area away from sidewalks and buildings, ideally a meadow or similar area. This will prevent a mess from forming on your patio when the fruits drop. Large varieties will need to be planted around 30 feet apart, while smaller varieties should be 10 to 15 feet apart. Dig a deep hole to sit the root ball in and cover it over with nutrient-rich soil. Once planted, water the tree deeply, then continue normal care.

Flowers

The flowers of the mulberry tree are white and fairly unremarkable. They bloom in early spring before transforming into the fruit of the tree.

Fruit

Mulberry fruits are sweet and have the look of an extended blackberry. They are available in red, black, and white varieties, and the time for harvest will depend on the variety. The white and red varieties ripen first, being available for harvest in late spring, while the black varieties don’t ripen until late summer.

To pick the mulberries from the tree, you will need plenty of patience as this is a time-consuming task. Gently squeeze the berry to loosen it from the tree, being careful not to squeeze too hard and end up covered in juice. If you would prefer a less labor-intensive harvesting solution, prepare a sheet around the base of your mulberry tree and then gently shake the branches to encourage the fruit to drop. Gather up the sheet and wash the mulberries before eating or cooking with them. They will keep in the fridge for up to three days, or you could freeze any leftovers for several months. They make excellent dried snacks or can be used to make pies, smoothies, or even wine.

Common Problems

The main pests of a mulberry tree are caterpillars and birds. Mulberry trees are a favorite food of silkworms, which are the caterpillars of silk moths. In fact, white mulberry trees were first introduced to North America from China as a food source for silk worms when America was trying to start up their own silk trade. Natural ways to keep caterpillars at bay include spraying the tree with neem oil or making a homemade garlic spray.

Another problem for mulberry trees is birds, who love to feast on the fruits. If you have a large mulberry tree, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue because the tree will produce more than enough fruit to satisfy the appetites of both the birds and your family. In fact, there will usually be more mulberries than you can eat. The main problem with birds eating the fruits is that they tend to do so in a messy manner, leaving remnants of mulberries all over the ground. The best way to avoid this issue is to plant your mulberry tree away from your house or any patio areas so that dropped mulberries won’t be a nuisance. Dwarf mulberry trees will not bear as much fruit, so if you want to keep the birds from eating all of your mulberries, then you can use netting to cover the tree during harvest time.

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Mulberry Tree Care

Fruit-bearing trees often require a lot of care and maintenance due to their delicate constitution. But the mulberry tree is a hardy tree species, that requires just the bare necessities of plant care. Let’s take a look at the right growing conditions needed for this tree.

Here we go round the mulberry bush,
The mulberry bush,
The mulberry bush.
Here we go round the mulberry bush
On a cold and frosty morning.

The mulberry tree is one of nature’s most famous small tree species, mainly due to its famous red, purple or black berries and its mention in two popular nursery rhymes. This deciduous tree species, which falls under the scientific plant genus Morus, has at least 10-15 sub-species, which are found in Asia as well as North and South America. Three well-known varieties are white, red and black mulberry trees.

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Growing and looking after this fruit-bearing tree is pretty basic and rather simple. The various points of mulberry tree care are elaborated on below.

Soil and Water

Do not plant a mulberry tree’s seeds or saplings near pavements, driveways or paved surfaces. Once the tree bears fruit, such surfaces can be heavily stained with fruit and bird droppings. As it grows, the mulberry tree will grow tall and will soon cast an impressively wide shadow. To prevent overcrowding and accumulation of moisture, plant the tree at least 15 feet away from adjoining trees. It is a hardy species and will grow in moderate to average soil quality but not in gravelly or chalky soils.

For optimum growth, the soil should be deep, loamy, fertile and should drain well. The soil should not remain soggy and wet. In hot climates where the soil can dry quickly, apply a ring of mulch or compost around the tree, to help the soil retain moisture. Mulch replenishes the soil’s nutrients and mineral content as well. The mulberry tree requires fertilizer once in a while, to help enrich the soil’s nutrient levels. Use a balanced fertilizer and apply it once during spring. When applying mulch, make sure it does not touch the base of the tree.

This tree is not very water-dependent and can survive even in drought-like conditions. But a lack of water can affect the quality of fruit borne, and the mulberries will fall prematurely from the tree. In summertime, water the mulberry tree well. Make sure the soil is dry between successive watering. Newly planted trees should be watered well once a week, during their first year of growth.

Light and Temperature

The three types of mulberry trees have different temperature needs. The black mulberry is the most delicate of the entire species and is very vulnerable to cold climates. Being a tropical tree, it has a very low temperature tolerance, so it needs to be planted in a warm climate. USDA Hardiness Zone 7 or warmer are ideal planting zones. The red mulberry is a little more tougher, as it is a native American mulberry species. It can stand temperatures up to -25° C, which comes under USDA Zone 5. This tree will grow well in Zones 6-9. The white mulberry is the toughest of the trio and is the most cold tolerant. Irrespective of their sub-species, mulberry trees require a lot of sunlight. They should be planted in an area that receives direct sunlight for at least 8 hours. Mulberry trees will flourish in shady areas but the quality and quantity of the fruit is poor and even the tree’s structure is weak. Colder the climate, more the sunlight needed.

Pruning

The mulberry tree can grow like a weed in the right conditions, especially the white mulberry sub-species. Pruning the tree will help in improving air circulation and prevent branch overcrowding. It also provides the tree with a strong and sturdy frame. Encourage a tree shape with 2 main branches and manageable number of lateral branches. Too many branches or heavy long branches with a lot of leaves can stress the tree, inhibiting its growth and affecting its overall health. So trim branches back, after the tree is 1-2 years old. Remove dead branches in the winter, to encourage new and healthy branches to grow. The mulberry tree is known to leak sap when cut, so do not make cuts more than 2 inches in diameter, as the tree will bleed sap heavily.

It’s easy to see that the mulberry tree is a little-or-no-fuss, beautiful tree that requires minimal looking after and care. Plus it will bear delicious fruit, that can be eaten raw or enjoyed in various culinary ways and as a dense tree, will provide shade in a sunny garden. Along with taking care of the tree’s needs with respect to water, light etc., one must remember to be patient. It takes 1-2 years for the mulberry to mature and nearly 2-3 years more for the tree to bear fruit. If you wish to enjoy the ornamental beauty of the tree, and are not interested in harvesting the berries, you should plant a fruitless variety or cultivar.

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Seed: This has been very reliable for me. It is easy to start thousands of trees in a few minutes if a few things are given attention. The first thing to be aware of is the tree that you gather seed from. Some fruit bearing trees do not have a male tree nearby, and so any seed you find in the fruit is likely to be sterile. It is best to find a fruiting mulberry that has lots of close neighbors, this will bring seed viability to very high levels.

Seed can be cleaned from the fruit and dried. I obliterate the fruit in a bucket of water with a paint mixer. I then pour off the excess water taking care not to dump the seeds. Add more water, stir it, dump water, add water, stir, dump, add water, stir, dump…. Eventually all the fruit pulp will have floated away and you will be left with a considerable amount of seed in the bottom.

Mulbery seeds do not require stratification or treatment of any kind. They usually sprout within a couple of weeks.

One catastrophe to avoid when growing seed out is slugs. They can easily wipe out an entire tray in a single night. Mulching with fresh sawdust has helped me a lot with this. There are many people out there with lots of strategies for dealing with slugs.

Mulberry seedlings often grow very fast. It is almost impossible to stay ahead of them by increasing pot sizes. Trees grown bare root, always have better root systems and are much bigger. One to Three feet is a typical size for first year mulberries, second year trees can be 6ft with beefy roots and thick stems.

Grafting: Grafting has been one way that works for cloning superior female varieties. Mulberries are a little more difficult than apples or pears, but certainly doable. Bench grafting mulberries in May has worked somewhat well for me. I have had about 60% take. The real struggle has been overwintering grafted mulberries.

The graft unions on mulberry are tender. They need to be protected for their first year or two in my climate (zone 5). Burying the graft union is sometimes enough, but often not enough. The most reliable way to over winter them is to place them in an unheated basement or attached garage.

If you have never grafted before, I think it is a good idea to practice. You can make grafting cuts on any freshly growing shoots of a nearby tree or bush. Save your valuable plant material for when you feel confident.

Layering: I have not had a practical way to layer mulberries because the branches of the trees I have are too high off the ground. I believe air layering could work, but I have not tried it. This could be a good method for someone looking to just propagate a few trees.

Growing your own mulberries from seed or through cloning is very satisfying and rewarding. Trees can begin bearing fruit at a young age and continue to do so for the rest of your life. Mulberries are a gift to yourself, your kids and grandkids, song birds, wildlife, livestock, and the world in general. There really are very few trees that can match the generosity of a mulberry. So, plant lots of them, the world is only better for their presence.

If you liked this article, check out my book Trees of Power.

White Mulberries (Morus alba) are one of the easiest fruiting trees to grow from cuttings. Anyone can do it and nothing is needed other than access to a white mulberry branch and some water.
White mulberries are incredibly useful plants: they are simple to grow and high yielding, the fruit is delicious easy to pick and often very abundant, they provide great shade, they grow very fast, the leaves are edible, leaves also make a nice ‘tea’, they can be used as high protein fodder for livestock and silkworms, all things considered they are an amazing tree.

I have grown mulberries from cuttings a few times now, I photographed my latest effort to show how simple it was.

Mulberry tree that I grew from the cutting below

I have been told from some gardeners that to grow white mulberries need all kinds of special techniques and equipment in order to grow them from cuttings. While this may be the case for other species of mulberry I am happy to say that this isn’t true for white mulberries. I have grown white mulberry trees from cuttings of actively growing trees in summer as well as dormant trees in winter, and both fared equally well.
In early spring (09/09/2017) I found a mulberry tree with a damaged twig, I assume it was damaged as someone brushed past it and broke it. It was labelled as a white fruited white mulberry. I have bought one of these before it was mislabeled, so didn’t want to risk spending money on another one and having it also mislabeled.
Part of a branch had been damaged, so the tree would be no worse off from me taking that twig, so I put the twig in my pocket and took it home. As you can see in the pictures, it was a tiny twig.

White mulberry buds opening

White Mulberry twig cutting

When I got home I put the cutting in a jar with a little water and put it on the kitchen window sill where I could top up the water easily. A few days later the buds started to swell, they then opened. A few weeks later tiny roots appeared. Eventually the immature fruits dropped off (I should have removed them as soon as I saw them as they just waste the cutting’s energy) and small leaves started to emerge. Once the roots grew a little longer I planted into a pot of soil (05/11/2017). It was that simple.
I should have planted it out a lot earlier but I kind of forgot for some time. It is not great to let cuttings sit in water with such long roots. Water roots and soil roots are slightly different and the cutting will need to adjust once planted in soil. Mulberry cuttings are very forgiving and will survive this kind of poor treatment.

Mulberry with tiny roots starting to grow

Mulberry cutting with tiny roots – ready to be planted in soil now

Mulberry cutting grown in water, very easy

You can just as easily grow a mulberry cutting by planting it in soil instead of putting it in a jar of water. I do it in water because I can see the roots and know it is alive. Having a cutting in soil may accidentally dry out and kill any developing roots, if it is in water this problem is completely avoided. Having the cutting in water you may not plant it in soil early enough and the water roots may get too long, so there are benefits to both methods.
When taking mulberry cuttings you don’t need rooting hormones, you don’t need humidity tents, you don’t need bottom heat, you don’t need daily misting, you don’t need special lighting, you don’t need to change the water daily. All of these things may help, but the cutting will survive and grow without them. I have never used any of these things with white mulberry cuttings and so far have enjoyed a 100% strike rate.
I simply put the cutting in a jar with some water and topped it up occasionally. Growing white mulberry from cuttings is that simple.

Mulberry cutting – should have been planted a few weeks ago

Mulberry cutting roots

There is no magic length of mulberry cutting that should be taken. Larger cuttings work well as they have a lot of stored energy, tiny cuttings like the one I used also survive and grow fast enough. While my cutting was only 10 to 15 cm long, and I have heard of people having success taking cuttings that were over 6 foot long! White mulberry trees are pretty hardy and forgiving.

my mulberry tree that grew from a tiny cutting, it is even larger now!

A larger cutting will usually provide a lot more fruit the following spring. My little tree may fruit this coming spring, or maybe it will not quite be large enough, only time will tell.
I had planned on using this cutting as rootstock to graft my white shahtoot mulberry . I may grow out this cutting and see if it does have white fruit. I can always take more cuttings later to use as rootstock if I want to.
I may eventually sell rooted mulberry cuttings, if I do they will be on my for sale page.

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