Mulberries are versatile and robust trees that quickly adorn any garden.
To answer the core question of how to grow mulberries:
- Choose a sunny spot for planting to ensure your mulberry tree thrives.
- Ensure the soil is fertile and well-drained for optimal growth.
- Water the tree regularly, especially during dry spells.
- Prune annually for proper light penetration and air circulation.
- Harvest fruit in summer when they are ripe and packed with flavor.
Growing mulberries is quite straightforward. I always start by selecting a spot in my yard that gets plenty of sunlight, as mulberry trees love the sun. I dig a hole that’s big enough to accommodate the roots of my mulberry tree and mix in some compost with the native soil to enrich it. Regular watering helps the young tree establish, but once it’s mature, it only needs extra water during prolonged dry periods.
Pruning is another task I take care of; I do this in winter when the tree is dormant. It’s not only easy but necessary to remove dead or overcrowded branches to ensure the tree stays healthy. Pruning helps the sun reach all the branches and encourages fruit production. Finally, the best part is harvesting the mulberries. I do this by gently shaking the branches over a sheet to catch the ripe fruit, which I can enjoy fresh, in jams, or in my refreshing iced tea.
Mulberry trees are North American natives and are famous for providing ornamental shade. They are fast-growing deciduous trees that produce nondescript tiny white flowers or catkins and sweet-tart fruit, although there are different types of mulberries, ranging in tree size, fruit size, and taste.
Mulberry plants enjoy growing in deep, rich soil, and you find them growing wild along streams. They flourish in the sun or partial shade, and like any other fruit tree, they are most productive in sunny locations. The common mulberry thrives in hardiness zones 4 through 9 and is relatively disease and pest-resistant.
Understanding the different cultivars is helpful before you grow mulberry tree in the yard. Some reach 80 feet tall, others are ideal for containers, growing only two to six feet tall, and some are fruitless. Some mulberry tree types are invasive species, taking over fields, forest edges, and undisturbed areas.
Types of Mulberry Trees
The mulberry is an attractive tree that is easy to grow in a garden landscape, and there are different varieties to choose from, varying in size and fruit appearance. Since mulberries are edible and delicious, it’s important to know a little more about them. Learn about the three main mulberry types and their growing habits.
How Many Types of Mulberries I Might Find
Red, black, and white mulberry trees are the three common types of mulberries, but there are a few uncommon mulberries you may not be familiar with for home growing. Explore the six types of mulberry plants and how they differ.
Red mulberries (M Rubra), black mulberries (M nigra), and white mulberries (M alba) are three typical mulberries. They are deciduous trees that are easy to grow in most environments and prized for their sweet fruits that range from white, pink, and purple to red and black fruit.
The weeping mulberry, dwarf mulberry, and fruitless mulberry tree are other mulberry varieties. Fruitless mulberries (Morus alba “Fruitless”) are less invasive than other types and are non-messy, making them ideal for ornamental landscaping.
Dwarf mulberries grow less than six feet tall, making them perfect for growing mulberry in a container. The weeping mulberry is an elegant cultivar with arching branches that reach the ground.
What are Red Mulberries?
One of the most common mulberry types is the red mulberry tree or the common mulberry. Starting planting mulberry trees in early spring for the best results. This mulberry is the only native American mulberry species, and it generally grows wild east of the Great Plains. However, according to Purdue University Forestry and Natural Resources, it’s rarely found north of Indianapolis, Indiana.
Red mulberry trees (Morus rubra L) have smooth reddish-brown bark and dark green, heart-shaped lobed leaves six inches long. Possessing a broad, rounded crown, they produce small, cylindrical greenish flowers from April to May. Their berries resemble oversized blackberries; the ripe fruit is sweet, juicy, and dark purple.
Red mulberries typically grow 35 to 50 feet tall, may reach up to 70 feet under the right conditions, and grow in hardiness zones 4 through 8. The Texas mulberry is a similar species with small leaves and only grows in West Texas.
White Varieties of Mulberries I Don’t Want to Grow
Unlike the red mulberry, white varieties of mulberries (Morus alba) are not native to North America. In fact, they are native to China and have an invasive nature, out-competing red mulberries.
The white mulberry (Morus alba) is a medium to large tree that grows 40 to 60 feet tall with brown furrowed bark and a rounded spread equal to its height. The white mulberry tree leaf grows eight inches long and is dark green and glossy with tooth edges. Like the red mulberry, it thrives in zones 4 through 8.
Otherwise known as the silkworm mulberry, the white mulberry produces one-inch long drupes that ripen into pink, black, red, or white mulberry fruit, depending on the cultivar. White mulberries have a bland flavor compared to red and black mulberries.
Growth Habits of My Favorite Black Mulberry Types
Black mulberry types are natives of western Asia and the Middle east. Many consider black mulberry fruits the highest quality, a species most cultivated worldwide. Fortunately, you only need to fertilize mulberry trees once a year. The best season to fertilize a mulberry tree is between March and July.
Black mulberries (Morus nigra) are hardy in zones 5 through 9 and are not tolerant of cold and shady conditions. You will need to learn effective ways of pruning mulberry trees to control the growth pattern.
There are different types of mulberries, like Black Beauty mulberry and Pakistan mulberry (Morus macroura), and they are the smallest of the mulberry trees, reaching only 30 feet tall.
A black mulberry leaf is an ovate, pointed, and dark green leaf, growing four to eight inches long, and the tree bark is light brown with narrow fissures. A mulberry bush is prettiest in spring, as it produces tubular white flowers and small, black drupes of berries that taste like red mulberries in the summer.
I Make Iced Tea with Mulberries
Whichever varieties of mulberries you grow, you’re bound to enjoy a bountiful harvest of fruits each season. There’s nothing better than a refreshing mulberry ice tea on a hot summer day. Make a healthy tea with mulberry syrup.
Fill a medium or large pot with four cups of water and bring it to a boil. Remove it from the heat and steep the green tea and mint leaves in the water for three to five minutes. Stir in the mulberry syrup, chill, and serve the mulberry tea over ice.
A mulberry tree is an excellent addition to the home landscape. They are easy growers, and harvesting mulberry fruit through the summer keeps your kitchen well-stocked. However, picking the right tree for your yard is vital to ensure your new tree has plenty of space to grow.
We hope that learning about the different types of mulberries helps you choose the ideal tree for your needs, and we’d love it if you’d share our mulberry variety guide with your friends and family on Pinterest and Facebook.