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The mulberry has royal associations dating back to Tudor times. The mulberry tree has a spreading habit and becomes crooked and gnarled with time, making an architectural feature. It has attractive leaves and tasty fruit that are rarely found in the shops. Tolerant of a range of soils, mulberries can be grown against walls if space is limited.
Mulberries flourish in soils that are deep, moisture-retentive, but well-drained. Planting at the optimum time and buying trees with healthy roots will help ensure successful establishment.
Any necessary formative training is most likely to have been have been carried out on the nursery before purchase
Mulberries can be increased in a number of ways;
Hardwood cuttings are a reliable way of propagating mulberries and are best taken in late autumn or early spring.
Morus roots well from larger pieces of wood up to 10cm (4in) thick. In winter, plant two- to four-year-old ‘truncheons’ straight into the ground in their permanent positions.
Mulberries can be grown from seed, but need a period of cold to start germination. See growing from seed for more information and Plants for a Future.
There are a number of black mulberries to choose from;
Morus nigra AGM: the species is highly recommended, is widely available and an excellent performer in terms of fruit production and as an ornamental tree.
Morus nigra ‘Chelsea’ (syn. ‘King James’): a cultivar of great historical interest, originating in the Chelsea Physic Garden, London. Fruit is especially large and succulent with an intense, rich flavour. It can be eaten fresh, in preserves or made into wine.
Morus nigra ‘Wellington’: this cultivar crops heavily with medium sized fruit 3cm (1¼in) long and a good flavour
The white mulberry (Morus alba) is also grown for its fruits but is considered to have fruit of inferior quality to the black mulberry (M. nigra) when grown in the UK.
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Mulberries are not overly prone to problems but watch for the following;
National Collection of mulberries
Tree and shrub buying
Tree and shrub establishment problems
Trees and shrubs: planting
Trees in containers
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