Friday, April 5, 2013

Great Fruit Trees for the Deep South, Pt. III: The Mulberry

Here's my latest post for Mother Earth News, in which I share a romantic story and tell you about one of my all-time favorite trees:

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At April 6, 2013 at 8:58 PM , Blogger rycamor said...

That's charming. I had no idea you knew Rachel as a kid.

We love mulberries here, too. The only problem is they are always crawling with critters that look like miniature white caterpillars. Takes a lot of washing to get rid of them. Any ideas?

At April 7, 2013 at 7:15 PM , Blogger Arisia said...

My sister's reaction to the mulberry tree "mess" was to say that huge flocks of black birds always flocked into her mulberry tree and got all the berries before they were ready to pick, and all there was left was what the birds dropped below, from the berries and the birds.

She apparently has a similar problem with squirrels and nuts. They have to rake and shovel up shells and pulp and dispose of them so the mower, the pet dogs, or the kids won't get them.

So how do you keep critters from eating your edible things before you have a chance?

At April 8, 2013 at 10:42 AM , Blogger David The Good said...

Hmm. That's frustrating. You may have silkworms - not sure what I'd do to get rid of them. Perhaps just cook them into jam right along with the mulberries.

At April 8, 2013 at 10:44 AM , Blogger David The Good said...

I add lots of different plants to the yard, making it like a forest. That makes it harder for pest species to steal my stuff. I also overplant to ensure I'll have extra.

As for squirrels, I kill them any chance I get.

At April 12, 2013 at 11:08 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

By far one of my favorite trees. I planted one - initially for the birds, but soon realized that the fruit is truly delicious . . . and my chickens go berserk over the berries. I will most definitely be adding more to my yard - especially since the birds indeed love the berries too.

Great post!

At May 9, 2013 at 2:44 PM , Blogger Gardens-In-The-Sand said...

Ima fan of mulberries, nething that easy... is more than welcome in my garden...
Interesting that someone is tryinna breed a fruitless version, hardly seems necessary, plant a male, and you already have seedless.

At May 9, 2013 at 3:53 PM , Blogger David The Good said...

You're right, though I think discovering the sex may take a year or two. I've also read that sometimes they can become hermaphroditic, bearing male and female blooms on the same tree.

At May 9, 2013 at 4:53 PM , Blogger Gardens-In-The-Sand said...

I disbelieve the two sexes on the same tree... seems more likely that two trees were growing in the same rootball like in the middle photo in my mulberry post:

Discovering the sex should be no mystery if growing from cuttings...

At May 9, 2013 at 5:10 PM , Blogger David The Good said...

Hermaphrodite occurrences are related here:

Nice photos on the varieties. It's a ridiculously complicated set of species, particularly thanks to the regular hybridization of varieties.

You're right on planning for sex via cuttings. That would be easy. But... I've read a little on the breeding of fruitless cultivars for landscape use; my bet is that, with the banning of mulberry trees for excessive pollen drop in some cities, they're actually creating female or completely sterile trees. No flowers for pollen - no fruit for mess.


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