Crop Rotation Group
Moist, well-drained soil with a slightly acidic pH.
Full sun to part shade.
Most mulberries are extremely cold hardy, tolerating winter temperatures to -30°F (-34°C). Mulberries require winter chilling, so they do not grow well in hot climates.
Feed in spring by spreading a balanced organic fertilizer over the root zone of the plant.
Single Plants: 14' 9" (4.50m) each way (minimum)
Rows: 14' 9" (4.50m) with 14' 9" (4.50m) row gap (minimum)
Sow and Plant
Mulberry seedlings can take 10 years to start bearing fruit, but grafted plants of superior cultivars start producing in less than half that time. Set out purchased plants in spring at about the time of your last frost. Container-grown plants can be transplanted until early summer, but may shed some leaves if set out under stressful conditions. Water young plants regularly, and cover the root zone with an organic mulch to keep the soil moist at all times. Mulberries need regular water their first season after planting and become more drought tolerant after they are well rooted. These small trees can be planted alone or in pairs. Most mulberries are self-fertile, but pollination improves when more than one tree is grown (mulberries are wind pollinated). In home landscapes, trees are best kept pruned to about 20 feet (6 m) to keep fruiting branches within easy reach. Growing in containers is not recommended. Young mulberry plants can be held in pots for year but should be planted in the ground as soon as possible.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalized calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.
The vigorous and adaptable white mulberry (M. alba) has been extensively crossed with red (M. rubra) and black (M.nigra) mulberries to produce heavy-bearing cultivated varieties like ‘Illinois Everbearing’ and ‘Dwarf Everbearing’. Red mulberry is native to eastern North America and makes a valuable wildlife tree, supporting more than 30 species of berry-eating birds. Unlike most fruit trees, which are pollinated by insects, mulberries are pollinated by wind, which has resulted in extensive crossing of species. Avoid planting mulberries near entryways or parking areas, because dropped fruits can cause messy stains. Mulberries can be pruned when they are dormant, though they tend to bleed when cut. Top back trees when they reach the height you want, and they will respond by growing stronger lateral branches.
When you see a few berries falling from the tree, spread a sheet under the branches and shake them. Ripe mulberries will fall to the ground. Pick fruits from small plants by hand when they turn dull and lose their shiny sheen.
Deer sometimes eat mulberry foliage, so protect newly planted trees with a wire fence. Mulberries can be infected by blights and canker diseases, so watch for problems and promptly prune away dead or diseased branches.
Planting and Harvesting Calendar
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Pests which Affect Mulberry