Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Mulberries

A genus of 15 species of trees related to the Figs that are grown for both shade and for the Raspberry like fruit.
The Mulberries are best pruned to a single leader and feathered when young. Low branches should be removed as the tree grows for clearance. December and January are the best month for pruning which should not be done in spring since these trees will bleed from fresh after late winter. They prefer full sun on fertile, well drained soil.
Warm to hot summers are essential for good fruit production.
Propagation can either be from seed or from hardwood cuttings taken in autumn or spring. The seed can be sown immediately upon ripening or sowing after 3 to 4 months of cold stratification at 40 F.
Some people consider Mulberries weeds however they are the epitome of edible landscaping and make for excellent shade trees in some of the harshest urban conditions. Personally I really like the Mulberries when correctly selected, sited and pruned; older trees tend to lend alot of character to the landscape.
Mulberries are moderately long lived and can easily exceed 100 years.
The fruits are great fresh or dried. Dried Mulberries are similar to Figs in nutritional value. The fresh fruit deteriorate quickly and store poorly, collect as much as you can at ripening and quickly dry the excess fruit to snack on for the rest of the year. The fruits are great in juices, pancakes, pies and fruit salads.
The rot resistant wood make for excellent fence posts.

Broussonetia kazinoki ( Dwarf Paper Mulberry )
A large, vigorous, spreading shrub, reaching a maximum size of 17 x 17 feet, that is a widepsread native of central and eastern China, Korea and Japan.
The heart-shaped, ovate leaves are up to 14 x 5 ( typically half ) inches in size. The leaves are sometimes 3 lobed on vigorous shoots. The foliage is downy when young, quickly becoming smooth.
The flowers are similar to Broussonetia papyrifera and the fruiting heads are reddish and woolly haired.
The fissured bark is grayish-brown. The twigs are reddish.
Hardy zones 6 to 11

Broussonetia papyrifera ( Paper Mulberry )
A fast growing, dense-canopied, rounded, spreading, large tree native to China and Japan that reaches up to 50 feet in height. Some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - 6 feet with a trunk diameter increase of 2 inches; 5 years - trunk diameter of 6 inches; 8 years - 40 feet; 25 years - 23 inch trunk diameter; largest on record - 75 x 60 feet with a trunk diameter of 9 feet; largest in New York State - 50 feet in Rochester.It has naturalized in Romania and much of southern Europe as well as parts of eastern North America.
The coarsely-toothed, ovate or broadly-oval leaves are sometimes 3 to 5 lobed on vigorous shoots. The leaves reach up to 12 x 12 inches in size though usually half that. The foliage is purplish at first during spring turning to roughly hairy and deep matte-green above and gray, sandpapery beneath. The long leafstalks are up to 4 inches in length. The foliage turns to golden yellow in autumn.
The male and female flowers are borne on separate plants in early spring as the leaves unfold.
The male flowers are in wide, drooping catkins up to 3 inches long.
The female flowers are tiny and borne in dense rounded heads up to 1 inch across.
The orange-red fruits are tiny borne in fleshy, densely round clusters up to an inch across.
The dark brown bark is shallowly-fissured. The sap on twigs is milky.
Prefers fertile, well drained soil in full sun. Very tolerant of heat as well as pollution.
Hardy zones 6 to 10 though it is root hardy to zone 5 where it can be grown as a foliage perennial. May also be attempted as a tree in zone 5 if on a very protected site. Propagation is easy from seed but better from softwood cuttings taken in summer if specific sex of tree is desired. It can also be propagated from root cuttings.

* photo taken on April 18 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum

* photo taken on Oct 22 2012 in Howard Co., MD

* photos taken on Sep 3 2013 in Ellicott City, MD

* photos taken on Aug 12 2016 in Howard Co., MD

* historical archive photo


'Golden Shadow'
Reaching up to 50 x 40 feet with attractive golden-yellow foliage all season.

'Macrophylla'
Leaves are especially large and undivided

'Variegata'
foliage is yellow variegated.

Morus alba ( White Mulberry )
A fast growing, very dense, medium-sized tree to 60 feet that is native to northern China, though also now naturalized in much of southeast Europe as well as North America. Some records include: fastest growth rate - 8 feet; 15 years - trunk diameter of 2 feet; largest on record - 100 x 100 feet with a trunk diameter of 8 feet; largest in Michigan - 76 x 80 feet with a trunk diameter of 7 feet in Morenci. The White Mulberry can live up to 410 years.
The coarsely-toothed ( sometimes 2 or 3 lobed ), heart-shaped, ovate leaves are typically up to 6 x 6 inches in size, sometimes up to 10 inches on vigorous shoots. The foliage is smooth and glossy bright green above; smooth and light green beneath. The foliage turns to yellow during autumn.
The flowers are green in small clusters up to 0.5 inches in early spring. The fruits are edible and white turning to pink or red and up to 2 inches in length. The occasional fruit may turn black causing confusion with Morus nigra. The berries are sweet but still don't taste as good as many of the other Mulberries.
The ridged bark is orange in color. The twigs are orange to reddish.
Hardy zones 3 to 9 ( it has succeeded and reached 50 feet at zone 4b Dominion Arboretum in Ottawa, Ontario after some dieback the first few winters ). Hardiness north of zone 5b may vary with seed source. Prefers a soil PH of 5 to 7. Tolerant of flooding, salt and seashore conditions. Its deep root system makes it both difficult to transplant however with the benefit of being very drought tolerant. White Mulberries thrive in climates with hot summers and cold winters and have potential as a food crop in dry climates, even high desert in the southwestern U.S.

* photos taken on June 1 2010 in Columbia, MD


* photo taken on annual Horticultural Society of Maryland Garden Tour


* photo taken on August 2 2010 in Bayfield, Ontario

* photo of unknown internet source

* photos taken on Sep 15 2013 in Howard Co., MD

* photos taken on Oct 31 2013 @ Hampton Ntl. Historic Site, Towson, MD

* photos taken on Aug 15 2014 at Maryland Zoo, Baltimore, MD

* photos taken on Oct 23 2014 @ Washington, DC

* historical archive photos

* photos taken on July 16 2015 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on July 25 2015 @ Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

* photos taken on Aug 12 2016 in Howard Co., MD

* photos taken on May 27 2017 @ Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA


'Aurea'
Yellow foliage

'Bungeana'
Foliage is dense and bright green

'Chaparral'
Bright green foliage on slightly weeping branches

'Fruitless'
Very fast growing, sterile clone great for places such as the Walmart Parking lot to luxuriate where little else will grow in tree islands of horrible soil, roadsalt and extreme reflected heat.

'Laciniata' ( Cut Leaves Mulberry )
Similar to Morus alba but with deeply lobed glossy green foliage that turns to yellow in autumn. Hardy north to zone 4 and propagated by softwood cuttings in summer.

'Macrophylla'
Huge tropical looking foliage up to 14 x 8 inches in size. Extremely fast growing; some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - 10 feet; 3 years - 20 feet.
Otherwise similar to Morus alba

* photos taken on July 1 2015 in Columbia, MD


'Northrop'
Hardy north to zone 3 and tolerating - 50 F!!!!!!! It even thrives on the Canadian Prairies in Calgary and Saskatoon.
Otherwise similar.

'Nuclear Blast'
Weeping in habit with leaves that are narrow, up to 11 inches long with extended leaf lobes.

'Pendula'
Low growing, domed and strongly weeping in habit, reaching a maximum size of 15 x 20 feet.

* historical archive photos


'Sugardrop'
Extremely sweet, white fruits.
Hardy north to zone 5

var tatarica ( Russian Mulberry )
A hardy subspecies, surviving as far north as zone 3. Trees did suffer some freeze damage during the first few winters at zone 4b Dominion Arboretum in Ottawa, Canada, after which they succeeded very well.

'Venosa'
Medium green, heavily veined foliage.

Morus australis ( Korean Mulberry )
Also called Morus bombycis. A very fast growing, medium-size tree reaching a maximum size of 40 x 40 feet that is native to temperate forests of eastern Asia ( Sakhalin, the Kurile Islands; central & eastern China, Korea and much of Japan ). Some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - 10 feet with a trunk diameter increase of 1.5 inches; 20 years - 35 x 35 feet ( average ); largest tree on record - 60 x 70 feet with a trunk diameter of 5.5 feet. Very long-lived, it is known to survive as long as 1500 years.
This tree is early to leaf out in spring and the broad foliage is especially large, reaching a maximum size of 16 x 15 inches on vigorous shoots though usually half that. The sharply-toothed leaves are ovate to heart shaped, often deeply divided with 3 or 5 lobes. The foliage is downy when young, turning to glossy deep green; then later to yellow-bronze during autumn.
The Korean Mulberry is early to leaf out in spring and the foliage turns to golden yellow in autumn.
The inconspicuous flowers appear during mid-spring.
They are followed by sweet, edible deep red fruits up to 0.5 inches wide.
The shallowly-fissured bark is brownish-gray.
Hardy zones 4b to 9, thriving over a large portion of Midwestern and eastern North America.

* photo taken on May 1 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.


* photo taken on June 23 2013 @ U.S. National Arboretum, Washington, DC


'Unryu'
Similar, except with contorted and twisted branches.

* photo taken on Apr 24 2016 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC


Morus cathayensis ( Chinese Mulberry )
A long lived, rounded, medium size tree native to central China. Some records include: largest on record - 50 x 33 feet with a trunk diameter of 2 feet; largest in England - 43 feet.
The coarsely-toothed, ovate leaves reach a maximum length of 10 inches.
The fruits are red or black and up to an inch in length.
Hardy north to zone 5

Morus laevigata
A large tree native to the Himalayas. The largest on record - 120 x 60 feet with a trunk diameter of 5 feet. The leaves are up to 8 inches in length. Hardy north to zone 6

Morus mesozygia
A tropical tree hardy to zone 10 + only that is native to central Africa.
It forms an excellent shade tree reaching a maximum size of 133 x 100 feet with a trunk diameter of 4 feet. The leaves are up to 5 x 3 inches in size. The bark is smooth and pinkish-gray.

Morus microphylla ( Texas Mulberry )
A dense, round, wide canopied, slow growing, small tree up to 20 feet or more that is native from central Arizona to central Oklahoma, south into northern Mexico. Some records include: largest on record - 60 x 30 feet with a trunk diameter of 3.6 feet; largest in New York State - 30 x 30 feet with a trunk diameter of 1 foot.
The heart-shaped, coarsely-toothed, ovate foliage is rarely up to 4 x 3 inches, typically half that and are typically very deeply 2 to 5 lobed. The leaves are very rough and deep green above; rough, hairy, pale green beneath. The foliage turns to golden-yellow during autumn.
The flowers are green in small clusters in May. The fruits are edible and deep purple to black, up to an 0.5 inches in length and rounder than other Mulberries. They have no stalk. Birds compete heavily with people for the juicy fruits that are sweet but not as much so as many other Mulberries.
The ridged bark is reddish gray in color.
The twigs zig zag.
Hardy zones 5 to 9 requiring well drained soil. Heat and drought tolerant.

Morus nigra ( Black Mulberry )
A fast growing, dense, round, wide-canopied, rugged, picturesque tree up to 50 feet or more that is native to Iran as well as the Mediterranean. It is now naturalized over Romania, Bulgaria & much of southern Europe. Some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - 10 feet; largest on record - 80 x 80 feet with a trunk diameter of 8 feet; longest lived - 800 years.
The coarsely toothed ( sometimes lobed ), heart-shaped, ovate leaves are up to 9 x 8 inches in size. The foliage is rough and glossy, deep green above; hairy beneath; turning to golden-yellow during autumn.
The flowers are green in small catkins in May.
The fruits are edible and deep red ripening to purple-black, up to an inch in length. They have no stalk. Birds compete heavily with people for the juicy, tasty fruits.
This tree should not be used where it may overhang concrete work in which the fallen fruit can stain.
The ridged bark is dull orange in color.
Hardy zones 5 or 6 depending on seed source to zone 9. It thrives in the British Isles and the Pacific Northwest as well as in warmer summer climates.

* photo taken on June 8 2012 in Ellicott City, MD

* photo taken on Aug 15 2014 @ Druid Hill Park, Baltimore, MD

* historical archive photos


'Pakistan'
Has very large, sweet, red to black fruits up to 3 inches in length. Only hardy north to zone 7 but excellent in dry climates.


Morus rubra ( Red Mulberry )
A large, fast growing, rounded, dense canopied tree native to rich open wooded slopes and bottomlands in eastern North America ( from South Dakota to southern Minnesota to southern Michigan to Windsor, Ontario to Hamilton, Ontario to southern Vermont; south to central Texas to southern Florida ) that reaches up to 50 feet in height or more. Some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - 10 feet; 3 years - 15 feet; largest on record - 110 x 120 feet with a trunk diameter of 8 feet. Extremely large trees have been found in Berrien Co., MI; Bedford, VT & Fayette, GA. It is critically endangered in Canada where the only remaining wild populations are in western and southern Essex County, the Lake Erie Islands, near Rondeau, Hamilton and near Niagara Falls. Before the wholesale destruction of the regions forest in the late 1800s, it likely occurred scattered throughout the north shore of Lake Erie. In the Windsor/Essex County, Ontario region; it was abundant in Lasalle, southern Essex County, the Lake Erie islands as well as the Ohio shore during the 1800s.
The heart shaped, coarsely toothed ( sometimes 2 or 3 lobed ), ovate foliage is rough and glossy bright green above; very downy beneath. The foliage turns to yellow in autumn. The leaves are typically up to 6 x 6 inches though have been found as large as 15 x 7 inches on vigorous shoots.
The flowers are green in catkins up to 3 inches in length in early spring as the leaves unfold. The edible, juicy Blackberry like fruits, up to 2.5 inches long, are edible, red ripening to purple. Unripened berries in excess may cause stomach indigestion.
The bark is orange-red and broken into broad scaly ridges.
The wood can be used for cabinet making.
Hardy zones 3 to 10 ( use only hardiest of seed source north of zone 5b ) and prefers hot summers. Drought, salt, flood and shade tolerant. Soil tolerant but grows best in well drained, sandy soil. It is not eaten by Gypsy Moths but unfortunately may be browsed by deer. Very prone to cankers and pollution and rapidly declining due to hybridization with the non native Morus alba.
Was previously common but now endangered in Ontario and West Virginia.
Texas variants are extremely drought tolerant and often have glossy leaves that are white and fuzzy below.

* photos taken on June 15 2010 in Ellicott City, MD


* photo taken on August 3 2010 @ University of Guelph Arboretum, Ontario

* photo taken on Aug 2 2011 in Hyde Park, NY

* photos taken on Oct 31 2013 @ Hampton Ntl. Historic Site, Towson, MD

* photo taken by W.R. Mattoon @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

* photo taken by W.D. Brush @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

* historical archive photos


'Illinois Everbearing'
A hybrid between Morus rubra & Morus alba. Self pollinating and has large, black, nearly seedless, sweet fruits. harvest lasts 2 months or more. Hardy north to zone 4 tolerating as low as -30 F

'Wellington'
A hybrid between Morus rubra & Morus alba. Hardy to -20 F with extremely sweet, black fruits.

Morus serrata ( Himalayan Mulberry )
A large deciduous tree reaching up to 70 feet in height that is native to mountain woodland in Kashmir, far northern India, Nepal and southern Tibet. Some records include: largest on record - trunk diameter of 3.6 feet.
The coarsely-toothed, broadly-ovate leaves are up to 10 x 5 ( rarely over 6 x 3 ) inches in size. The foliage is smooth above, densely hairy beneath.
The flower clusters are up to 3 inches in length.
The delicious, edible fruits, up to 1.2 inches in length, are sweet and edible. They are white at first, turning to pink then finally black.
The smooth reddish brown bark becomes scaly and grayish-brown on very old trees.
Hardy zones 6 to 9 in full sun or partial shade on well drained soil. It prefers a mountain or maritime climate with cooler summers.

No comments:

Post a Comment