My current yard I’m playing with has a couple of mulberry trees. My southern property also had some white mulberries and I had some success with rooting some of those cuttings. They were an easy way to either get more trees going for my yard or I could sell them for a good cash infusion after checking to make sure all legal concerns were factored in.
White Mulberries are supposed to be one of the easiest fruiting trees you can grow from cuttings, though I’d also rate pomegranates and figs as very easy.
Anyone can root mulberries. All you really need is a white mulberry branch and either a potting medium or water.
Why You Should Love Mulberries
Mulberries have always been a comfort plant to me. They are useful, easy to grow, have high yields, good fruit, fast growers, and the leaves were commonly requested from me as people love them for teas.
They also made a nice fodder my goats would sometimes enjoy and some greens my chickens could pick at. The leaves are also good for those with an interest in silkworm farming which has picked up in popularity. While the wood isn’t famous for it, I also used to like to chop and use my pruned branches for knife finishings on the handle and found them rather attractive.
I’ve always liked that mulberries seem to not suffer much from insect damage, diseases, and the annoying deer I had around as well as the goats. They were one of the easiest fruit trees in my yard that were on par with what I’d come to expect from my pear and fig trees. They were ideal for people like me who like no-maintenance fruit trees.
Pruning is pretty important though and involves topping the trees to keep them smaller. However, no pruning is necessary though you can end up with trees that are harder to work with.
For harvesting mulberries, I like to use netting or clean tarps under a ripe tree. Then I either leave it to let them drop or give it periodic shakes to get them to drop. The ripe berries then fall and can be collected for various uses.
Since these aren’t trees I trained up they weren’t pruned and styled in a way to keep them small and easy, this was the solution to the fruit collecting problem this year. We have a sheet and some easy to move legs. When a branch is heavy it can be moved and the fruit is being collected, processed, and frozen.
Rooting Mulberries From Cuttings
Some people claim that special techniques need to be known and used to root mulberries from cuttings. Apparently, some varieties are more difficult than others. I know my southern trees were white mulberries and I rooted them from cuttings taken in summer and when they were dormant in winter and all in between. Often the success rate is very high where 4 out of every 5 will get root nodules.
When I first rooted mine I took a cutting from an outdoor tree and collected a decent twig. I went inside and put the cutting in a jar with a little water. I set the jar under my grow lights though it would have been fine in a sunny window. After a few days I noticed the buds get larger, they then opened.
It took a few weeks until the tiny roots appeared and they started as tiny nodules. Then the small leaves started to open up. Once the roots grew to a reasonable point I moved them to a spare pot and some of my potting mix. It was really simple to get going and then I had gift trees for people.
Generally, with all my rooted cuttings I try to get the roots into soil as soon as possible.Many plants do better in soil and I’ve more than a few cuttings root successfully and die off anyway. I didn’t tend to them well enough as roots in water can have problems.
Mulberries can also be rooted in soil. I’ve done both ways of rooting cuttings though somewhat prefer rooting in water first as I like confirming the root nodules and end tip looks healthy so I can trash my losses faster. I’m also guilty of accidentally letting my soil potted plants dry out too much which isn’t good when trying to get the roots established.
If I wasn’t overly worried about the outcome I’d pot them in dirt in some nursery pot trays and have them in range of a sprinkler though off to the shaded part of my yard. I’d often end up with a lot of rooted cuttings at the end of the process. These were then planted off in my woodlot where I was hoping to end up with a fruit tree forest.
Other Mulberry Rooting Notes & Facts
Mulberry cuttings don’t seem to benefit much from rooting hormones and seem to root fine without it. I’ve rooted them in somewhat cold conditions though they did root better outside with a general warmer temperature though that cut down on the time it took and didn’t affect the success. Most of the special things suggested for rooting cuttings don’t seem to matter for white mulberry.
At this point, I take various cuttings and stick them in a jar of water or some dirt pots. It is that easy and losses are so minimal I just stick with it. There doesn’t seem to be an ideal length the cutting needs to be though I tend to favor taking about 8″ cuttings. I have rooted smaller and larger samples.