How to grow a mulberry tree in Florida
Are you considering growing a berry in your yard but are stuck on which one? Look no further – Mulberry is the berry that your garden needs.
Mulberry is a delicious fruiting tree that produces black berries that taste sweet to the palate. The Mulberry is part of the Moraceae plant family, which is also family to the tasty jackfruit, fig, and breadfruit – no wonder this fruit is delicious!
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Mulberry Tree Care Guide
|Scientific name||Morus nigra (Black mulberry), Morus rubra (Red mulberry), Morus alba (White mulberry)|
|Months of mulberry harvest in Florida||Late March / Early April through November|
|Sun requirements for mulberries||Full sun to partial shade|
|Water requirements for mulberries||Water once to twice a week during the growing and fruiting season. Water should increase as the mulberry tree is flowering and fruiting.|
|Soil requirements for mulberries||Well-drained, loamy, nutrient-rich soil. Sandy soil works just fine.|
|Fertilizer schedule for mulberries||Mulberry trees should be fertilized 2 to 3 times per year. Osmocote + 15-9-12 is our recommended fertilizer for mulberries.|
|Mulberry pests||Mealybugs, root-knot nematodes, whiteflies|
|Mulberry diseases||Canker, Powdery Mildew, Root-Rot|
Where Should I Plant My Mulberry Tree?
If you plan on growing this fruit tree in Florida, select an area where it will receive plenty of sunlight.
The mulberry plant is also found growing in the wild under the shade of taller trees – so ideally, it could still grow in part shade.
A tip for home gardeners growing Mulberry is taking into account that when the berry falls off when ripe, it can stain your driveways, sidewalks, concrete, etc. Planting the Mulberry away from concrete surfaces is better to decrease staining.
Which parts of Florida can mulberry trees grow in?
Mulberry trees can grow and produce fruit in North, Central, and South Florida.
What Type Of Soils Do Mulberry Like?
Mulberry trees prefer deep, moist soils but can tolerate many soils in Florida, such as ordinary sand soil. Mulberries also adapt well to native soils.
The Types of Mulberry Available
There are 150 varieties of Mulberry, but only about ten have grown in popularity for use in the garden.
Three types of Mulberry are widely grown across the United States and Florida, are the Red Mulberry (Morus rubra), White Mulberry (Morus alba), and Black mulberry (Morus nigra).
Mulberry varieties you can get in Florida
In Florida, the varieties of mulberries available at nurseries are
- ‘Dwarf Thai Mulberry’
- ‘Dwarf everbearing mulberry.’
- ‘Australian green’
- ‘World best mulberry.’
How Does Mulberry Grow?
Mulberry trees grow very fast. You will notice plenty of new growth throughout the spring and late summer. Also, berries with fruit will be in season to harvest during the spring, summer, fall, and possibly late winter.
The mulberry fruit will start growing green, turning bright red, and finally, it will ripen to a black and purple color – looking just like a skinny blackberry.
Planting one black variety mulberry (Morus nigra) in a Florida fruit forest is recommended as it fits the Florida garden well. Mulberry trees are excellent fruit producers at any size and have reliable productivity. These mulberry trees also tend to have a bush-like formation.
It would help if you pruned your Mulberry to keep the desired shape. If not, the mulberry tree can grow up to 30 to 70 feet high, depending on the species. The Mulberry tends to spread its branches to form a crown.
Does the Mulberry Tree Grow Fast?
Yes, the Mulberry tree is a very fast-growing tree. In Florida, we notice a growth in our Mulberries all year (slowed during winter). If you plant a mulberry plant, keep this in mind to ensure it gets the best planting spot it can receive.
Can I grow a Mulberry tree in a pot?
Yes, mulberry trees grow excellently in a pot. Make sure to provide adequate drainage. Growing Mulberry in a pot allows you to move it and keep it to a chosen size.
Mulberry tree transplant is relatively easy – your plant might look stressed once planted in the ground, but your Mulberry should be fine with enough water days following the transplant.
What is Mulberry used for?
According to the University of Florida, Mulberry has been used in early human civilizations as early as the 1500s. Native Americans would store these berries and preserve them for use in jams and dyes as they produced an abundance in nature. In today’s society, Mulberries are used for jams, pies, jellies, marmalades, icecreams, and juices. Mulberry tree wood is sometimes used in the production of fence posts.
Are Dogs And Cats Allowed To Eat Mulberries?
Dogs and cats can consume mulberries if they like, although highly unlikely they will enjoy the taste. However, you might find other outdoor animals sharing your mulberry plant with you, such as raccoons, birds, and insects.
Are Mulberries Safe For Children To Eat?
Mulberries are safe for children to eat. Ensure they are fully ripened to avoid any bitterness. Also, before you consume any fruit harvests, it is highly advised to wash your produce thoroughly to ensure any insects or outdoor material has washed off.
Make sure to supervise your children eating Mulberries as they are small and can be a choking hazard if not chewed properly.
Which is the best mulberry variety to grow?
The best mulberry variety to grow are the ‘Thai dwarf’ and ‘Pakistan’ Mulberry.
These two are the best mulberry varieties to grow in Florida because they produce many fruits per tree and can produce multiple times per season.
The Pakistan mulberry trees produce mulberries that are long and slender. This mulberry cultivar is also very sweet and is a reliable producer in Florida.
The Thai dwarf overbearing mulberry trees produce mulberries slightly smaller in length than the variety ‘Pakistan’ but make thousands of sweet mulberries at a dwarf height.
The Thai dwarf overbearing Mulberry is not to be confused with the familiar ‘Everbearing mulberry’ sold at Home Depot or Lowes throughout Florida.
What is the best way to clone mulberry trees?
The best way to clone or propagate mulberry trees is air layering, or marcotting, and by rooting cuttings.
It is recommended to take cuttings in the dormancy season to root mulberry cuttings. Using a rooting hormone can increase the chances of cutting rooting.
How to root mulberry tree cuttings
How to air layer a mulberry tree
- Select a branch that is about 10 – 20 millimeters thick or more.
- With the pliers, lightly scrape and damage the cambium layer of the mulberry branch selected.
- Prepare the moist peat moss or coconut coir and stuff the plastic bag about halfway with the moist coconut coir. Seal the plastic bag.
- Cut a small incision on the plastic bag about the same length as the cut you made on the mulberry branch.
- Wrap the plastic bag with the moist substrate around the damaged cambium and ensure that the peat moss touches the mulberry branch’s damaged part. This is the area where roots will grow roots.
- Tie the bag and secure it to the branch as necessary.
- Poke two or more tiny holes in the plastic bag so the roots don’t rot. But ensure not to cut too big of holes as you want the roots to constantly stay moist. Coconut coir or peat moss as a substrate holds lots of water, so it’s hard to dry out.
- Add tin foil around the air layer to ensure sunlight does not directly dry out the soil. Tin foil will also protect the forming roots of the mulberry as they will be sensitive to direct sunlight.
When is Mulberry season in Florida?
Mulberry season starts at the beginning of April, and the season can extend until November in Florida.
Mulberry trees are known for producing multiple crops a year – sometimes up to 3 crops (or more)! Also, many gardeners have found a method to force the mulberry tree to produce fruits even in the off-season.
By pruning your mulberry tree after each harvest, you can make your mulberry tree push out another set of flowers and produce another crop.
Questions about growing Mulberry trees
My Mulberry tree won’t produce fruit
If your mulberry tree is not producing fruit, this is what you need to do.
- Trim about 35-50% of your mulberry tree branches’ limbs, as the Mulberry requires hard pruning to send it into production mode.
- Observe the Mulberry, as it will show new growth with flower buds.
If your mulberry tree still does not produce fruit, it could be an issue with the soil, such as nematodes, with is a common issue for mulberry trees growing in the ground in Florida.
Which mulberry variety is the most productive?
The most productive mulberry variety in Florida that is a consistent producer is the ‘Thai dwarf’ mulberry. The Thai dwarf mulberry tree produces large-sized, sweet, juicy mulberries that first ripen at the beginning of April.
Will Mulberry grow in sandy soils?
Mulberry will grow fine in sandy soils. They are great adapters to the climate and can thrive with additional amendments on the top of the sand, such as mulch, worm castings, compost, and slow-release granular fertilizers.
Are mulberry trees resistant to nematodes?
Mulberry trees in Florida may suffer from nematodes attacking the roots. There are attempts to create a nematode-resistant rootstock in Florida in 2022.
Can I grow mulberry trees in Florida, or will nematodes kill them?
In Florida, many mulberry trees thrive and produce a significant amount of fruit year after year. Site selection is key to where to plant your Mulberry. It is best to plant mulberries in the richest, nutrient-dense part of your property to ensure that the mulberry trees get the best chance to grow.
Do mulberry trees need full sun to grow?
Mulberry trees produce best in full sun but will still produce fruits in part shade as well. In their native environment, mulberry trees grow under larger canopy plants.
Which nursery can I order a mulberry tree from?
You can order mulberry trees from many nurseries, including amazon.
What fertilizer should I use for my mulberry tree?
Osmocote + 15-9-12 Slow-release granular fertilizer is the best fertilizer for mulberry trees. This fertilizer releases the right amount of nutrients, feeds your mulberry tree over a 3-4 month period, and keeps them healthy and producing.