The Belmont Rooster posted pictures of red mulberry that really got my attention back on February 15. The trees are native on his farm, but not here. I only remember them as decoy trees that provided berries to distract birds from other fruit as it ripened in the orchards. Of course, those that I remember were planted. I neglected to get seed or cuttings from them while in Oklahoma. I have been craving them since.

1. $8.85! The Belmont Rooster spent some major funds to get this package to me. It must be important. I already know it is very important to me! I have been wanting this for seven years. P00411-1

2. TWIGS! I got two bundles of twigs! These are not just any twigs though. They are from red mulberry, Morus rubra. One bundle is from a female tree. The other is from a male pollinator.P00411-2

3. Cuttings were processed from the twigs. There are a dozen female cuttings, and sixteen male cuttings. These are male. I was informed earlier that the female twigs were starting to foliate.P00411-3

4. Plugged cuttings are not much to look at. Rooting hormone was applied, but is not visible on the bottom ends. Only a few popping buds are barely visible in the female cuttings to the right.P00411-4

5. White mulberry was the only mulberry that I was growing here. I got the cuttings for it from a client’s tree. I do not know what cultivar it is. I have not been very impressed with it so far.P00411-5

6. The Belmont Rooster sent these cuttings from Missouri, just to the left of the center of this picture. All of Missouri is within the native range of red mulberry, which is designated by green.P00411-6

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:

https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/

 

 

 

 

27 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: TWIGS!

    1. The black mulberries are probably the best for fruit production, and do not need pollinators. Although rare here, they are sometimes seen in home gardens. The weeping cultivar(s) are probably the more popular of these rare trees, because it does not get very big. If I were to grow a mulberry tree just for the fruit, I could easily get a cultivar of black mulberry online. I know that when the white mulberry gets going, it will make good fruit. However, I really wanted these non-cultivar red mulberries collected from the wild! They are what I remember from the few remaining decoy trees in the Santa Clara Valley. Also, they are native to North America, including Oklahoma. I do not intend to let them get as big like the decoy trees were. Those trees were intended to provide a lot of fruit for a lot of birds; and bird can fly to the tops of such trees. I might grow a few or even several, but prune them down low where I can collect much of the fruit. Maybe I will let at least one grow wild, just because that would be cool!

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  1. Very good! I am glad they arrived safe and sound and you have started your journey with them. I hope we didn’t screw up the balance of nature sending a species to an area they aren’t native. The maps don’t even show them as introduced but I am sure Red Mulberries have been planted throughout the west. This is 2020 for crying out loud! LOL! Plants move like people do because we take them with us. Good luck and thanks for mentioning me in your post.

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    1. THANK YOU SOOOOOOOO MUCH! I will take very good care of them! They will be happy here. I am SOOOOOO pleased that they are from wild trees rather than cultivars. I could have easily gotten cultivars online if that was what I wanted. I know that cultivars are more productive, but they are not the same. I am not concerned about them naturalizing here. They would have done so a very long time ago if they had wanted to. Although they were not orchard trees here, a few were grown near orchards to distract birds from the fruit within the orchards. Some of the smaller birds that ate the mulberries repelled the bigger and more destructive birds. American plum, which as an understock for the stone fruit trees of the orchards is naturalized now. So is the California black walnut, which was the understock for the English walnuts. However, red mulberries never naturalized.

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      1. I will likely grow a few female trees, and keep them pruned low where I can reach the fruit. with a pair of male trees at the ends of their row. The males can get bigger if they want to, even if I need to prune them from shading the females much later. If I keep the females small enough, I can put them closely together. I just might plant one or even more female trees somewhere else, to grow wild like I remember them. I might prune them up on trunks, so that they are not dragging on the ground, but then just let them do what they want to up where I can not reach them.

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      2. The Amish used to come here and get the fruit. They spread sheets on the ground, climb the trees and hit the branches with sledgehammers. That I saw about 40 years ago. I think the male trees grow smaller than the females. The next post, or maybe the one after, will have a photo of the tallest Mulberry tree.

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      3. With red mulberry growing wild, why were white mulberry planted? Is it just for more variety?
        I do not need the male trees to get very big. I just do not need to prune them low either. I would like to let them do what they want to. I would prefer to prune the female trees just to avoid wasting so much fruit that is too high up to reach. I would rather grow several small and shrubby female trees than one big tree. Of course, we will need to get acquainted so that I can determine how low I can keep them pruned. They may insist on becoming bigger trees. I remember some that were quite broad; but of course, I was just a little kid then.

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      4. I have no idea why the white Mulberry was introduced originally. They have been introduced to a lot more countries than the red. I think they are also more popular to graft into the weeping form. As your trees grow you can decide how to maintain them. I would still give them planty of room because as you get older you may not be able to maintain them as well… GEEZ! Like you said, you will need to get acquainted with them and experiment along the way. I am sure they won’t mind. Trees planted far apart will indeed get broad over time. I would like know how old a few of them are here…

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      5. Fruitless mulberry had been a very popular shade tree here for a very long time. They might have been discovered in the San Joaquin Valley. (I do not remember their history.) They are a cultivar of white mulberry, but produce no fruit, hence ‘fruitless’. The weeping white mulberry was the only other white mulberry that was available here decades ago. I do not know what they were grafted onto. I get the impression that those who grow mulberries for the fruit, rather than as a decoy for birds, prefer the black and white mulberries because the fruit is bigger and sweeter. I can not imagine why anyone would want a mulberry that is ‘sweeter’! They are all so very sweet. I still prefer the red mulberries because they are more familiar, and seem to have richer flavor; . . . and they are what grows wild in North America. Black mulberries are very good, but are sugary sweet, with relatively mild flavor beyond the sweetness.
        Some of the red mulberries I remember were quite broad, but not as tall as those I see in pictures of them in the wild. Some got overgrown and broke apart like overgrown fig trees do, but just continued to grow like that. No one minded, because they were just there for the birds. Now that you mention it, I do remember some that produced no fruit. They were smaller than those that produced, and were rather shabby by the time I can remember them.
        In the early 1990, mature date palms were something of a fad around San Jose and Los Angeles. The trees were recycled from orchards that were displaced by the expansion of urban sprawl of Las Vegas. Only the fluffier female trees were recycled. They could not produce messy fruit without the males. However, there happened to be a fruiting pair (of male and female) trees in a home garden adjacent to a large group of date palms that was installed into the parking lot of a mall in Saratoga. The mess is minimal, but more than was bargained for nonetheless.

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  2. Red Mulberry was introduced over here in 1629 but never took to our climate. The way things are going it may be better suited now. The black mulberry grows well enough and fruits well here but is far from common. I’ve only seen the white as a small top worked weeping tree.

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    1. Red mulberry seems like an odd one to import. It seems that most people prefer the black mulberry. They were imported here because they grew so well, and supposedly fruited at the same time as the fruit in the orchards. I do not know why black mulberries were less desirable for that application. It seems to me that they fruit at the same time.

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  3. I love the Red mulberry, it’s a very attractive, mostly understory tree in KY. With plenty of sunlight, it can produce large, flavorful berries. White mulberry was grown as part of an attempt to start a domestic silkmoth industry

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      1. Because it’s shade tolerant, many of them stay relatively smaller than the overstory canopy trees, and have a graceful arching form – at least here in KY! There are also hybrids between the red and the white, especially in our urban forest.

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      2. The few that I noticed in Oklahoma were tall and arching, but there were not other trees around. Those that used to live here were completely different, with relatively dense and broad canopies. The never naturalized here, and went extinct with the orchards that they were grown near.

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      3. Looks like Morus rubra is naturally found in the eastern half of OK, and is said to do well in the open though it’s also shade tolerant. Hope you succeed in growing them, you will make a lot of birds happy!

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      4. Knowing that they grow as understory trees is useful, just because redwoods make a lot of shade, with big shadows. Many sunny and exposed spots are not sunny all day, and get partially shaded by redwoods from a significant distance. I would like to put the mulberry trees on a sunny ridge, but it is nice to know that there are more options available. (The sunny ridge is so exposed that trees can get blown down up there.) Where we were in Oklahoma, there were not tall trees. It was so weird, as if there was a prescribed height limit to the trees of various species. The few red mulberry trees that I saw were nicely exposed.

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      5. Until you get to the Western edge, where the tallest trees in the World are.
        While in Oklahoma, I noticed that the area looked incredibly flat from above. For example, from a tall building, the horizon looked as flat as the ocean. Although the ground really was quite flat, there is some degree of contour to it. The trees in higher areas were rather low. Where the ground was lower, the trees were taller, as if they could grow up to the same height as those in the higher spots. Trees down where the creeks are were the tallest. The overall effect was a remarkably flat ceiling over the collective forest canopy above.

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      6. I suspect that was the main factor. It was not windy while we were there, but the stout stature of isolated trees suggest that the breeze is rather constant for parts of the year. The trees were stout all the way around, as if the breeze does not come from any particular direction.

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