Saturday, July 5, 2008

Mulberry-licious...

...well I think out mystery tree with the berries may be a Mulberry Tree of one sort or another. I have more checking to do, and will bring some leaves (and a berry if I can still find one) to a local plant nursery to see what they think; but from online checks I would say it is a Mulberry. If that is correct, then we have to await next season (late spring into early summer) for any berries. They are supposed to be delicious and quite edible. I don't know what kind of Mulberry tree it could be, there are many different species, maybe a Red Mulberry which would make it native to our area; then again maybe one of more than a dozen other types of Mulberry Tree.

While I am not sure it is a Mulberry Tree but it does have some characteristics of one. For example it has both lobed and unlobed leaves. It has a bark that fits the description I read about. It is fast growing in its early years - to that I can attest. Its flowers, as I remember, look like ones I have seen pictured for a Mulberry tree. Of course, it also produces the berries.

If that is truly what it is, then I expect a load of berries next year, and double that within about another 2 or 3 years because we have another younger one growing also. I uprooted and replanted the sapling of the younger one just last year, and it is already about 10-12 feet tall. From inches to that tall in less than two complete growing seasons. That follows suit with what I have read up on Mulberry trees, fast growing when very young, then the growth slows down markedly. Our older tree has got to be at least 5 , maybe as much as 7 to 10, years old. I used to cut it back every summer thinking it was just a bush that annoyed my neighbor because its branches overgrew her fence. Once I realized it was a tree, I became very selective about how I pruned it. It is kind of messed up now as far as how its branches twist here and there, but it sure produces a lot of berries, and offers some cool shade. I recently pruned the other one - heck they have branches sprouting out every few inches along the trunk, and I am hopeful that one will grow straighter and taller with even more berries. If they actually are Mulberry trees, I will be berry pleased indeed.

All the best,
Glenn B

3 comments:

quidni said...

Bearing or non-bearing mulberry?

Heh.

Where I live, mulberries are considered "pest" trees. In the past they were planted in profusion because they're hardy, drought resistant once established, and offer quick-growing shade for the desert southwest. However, they're also a major allergen-producer in this area, which prides itself on being a haven for folks with allergies and asthma.

Hence, some years ago, a number of places passed ordinances which forbid the planting of any new mulberry trees. Existing ones were grandfathered, but if they died or were uprooted for any reason, they could not be replaced with another mulberry.

So, we're the better (?) for allergens, but poorer in shade. I have some small amount of sympathy for the ordinances (I'm allergic to mulberry woolies myself) but I still don't think people should legislate nature. And I AIN'T cutting down the grand old mulberry that protects over half our backyard from the desert sun!

Glenn Bartley said...

Isn't that just like the politicians of today - to try to legislate what you can and cannot grow on your property. Simply amazing.

As for bearing or non-bearing - do you mean the berries? This ones lots of em. Otherwise I don't know what you mean.

All the best,
GB

quidni said...

yes, bearing or non-bearing refers to the fruit. Non-bearing trees still produce lots of the little green "wooly-worms" at the beginning of the growing season, and they're what most people react to allergy-wise. But, they don't produce any berries.

Needless to say, the non-bearing are usually preferred as shade since anything under a bearing mulberry during berry time usually winds up stained purple...