Red Mulberry Tree Overview
The Red Mulberry tree has become very popular over the years not only for its delicious sweet flavored berries but also for being a fast growing and aesthetically beautiful tree for your garden. Mulberry is not very commonly sold in shops and grocery stores, so having your own mulberry tree is a long lasting way of ensuring you have the juicy berries whenever you want. In fact, because mulberry tree grow very fast you can use the leaves and old branches to make leaf litter and mulch for your garden. Moreover, mulberry trees enjoy great popularity in southwestern United States as lawn trees because of the shade they provide.
An interesting fact about mulberries is that it releases pollen at half the speed of sound, at 380 miles per hour!
The history of mulberry tree is fascinating. First cultivated for silkworms about 4,700 years ago in China, and later introduced in Europe in the 12th century.
Mulberry tree are medium sized trees with a spreading habit and has a gnarled shape. If you lack space, it’s perfectly fine to grow the mulberry tree against the wall. Overall, they are tolerant of different types of soil and are easy to grow. Tree flowers from April to May.
Trees can be monoecious, bearing male and female flowers on the same tree or dioecious, bearing only male or female flowers. Male catkins are 2–3 inches long and female catkins are 3/8 inch long.
When it comes to harvesting the fruit, mulberry trees can take eight to nine years to produce fruit. The main picking season ranges from August and September. You can try to gather mulberries by shaking the tree branches over a sheet spread on the ground. For more information on how to grow fruit trees see the articles in our guide.
- Uses: eating fresh, drying, making wine. The leaves can be also be used as feedstock for silkworms and livestock.
- Taste: sweet flavor full of antioxidants and minerals
- Size: 0.4 – 0.6 inches long berries
- Color: purple/deep purple, but can also be white to pink color
- Height and width: 33 – 66 ft tall
- Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9
- Harvest period: August to September
- Can be affected by bacterial leaf spot. Make sure you cut and burn the affected branches in the fall.
- Can be affected by American gooseberry mildew which is a fungal disease that causes white fungus to form on the leaves and stems of the tree. You can prevent this by planting planting the tree in areas with good air flow and pruning them to a shape that allows better air circulation.
- Try to use netting on the trees to protect them from birds
- Pollination: Mulberry trees can be monoecious (tree has separate male and female flowers)or dioecious (male and female flowers on different trees). Monoecious mulberry trees are self-pollinating or self-fertile, while dioecious need cross pollinators.
- Cultivation: Mulberry trees grow best in well drained, mildly acidic, sandy loam. However, they are tolerant of different soil types and can grow in poor soil conditions as well.
- Storage: Fruit keeps fresh for a few days. Try to keep it in a cool place or in the refrigerator. You can dry or free the fruit which can have better storage.
- Difficulty of planting/care: Easy, little to no care needed to maintain trees.