The Underappreciated Mulberry Tree


 

mulberry (1)When I was a kid I would spend many weekends at my grandparents house, out behind their barn along the fence were a whole row (probably about 20) Mulberry Trees. Grandma would send me back there to pick a bucket full for a pie, I remember it would take me a long time to fill the bucket because I would eat two of every three I would pick. Grandma would just laugh when she seen me coming into the house and say “your gonna have a belly ache,” I guess the stains on my face gave it away.

All my life mulberries have been one of my favorites, imagine my surprise when I found out most people despise this wonderful tree, they consider it invasive and messy. I will admit I understand why, after all, my vehicles have been a victim of the birds after they have had a healthy meal of mulberries too. I even had a hard time getting rid of a couple that were growing in an inconvenient place beside my garage, I would cut them off level at the ground and they just kept coming back, but this is also one of the things that make it such a great tree.

So I thought I would share a few of the wonderful qualities of this underappreciated tree and perhaps persuade a few self sufficient folks to make it part of their homestead.

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Growing the Mulberry Tree

I have never planted any other tree with such an ability to thrive. The most common Mulberry Trees are the Black Mulberry, Red Mulberry and the White Mulberry, you can plant these trees from cuttings or seeds and then just wait and be amazed at how well it grows. Last year I dug one up that was about three feet tall growing at the back of my property  and moved it to a better spot, this was at the beginning of summer which most people know is not the best time to plant a tree. Within a couple weeks all the leaves fell off of it and I began to think it wasn’t going to make it, a few weeks later it was full of leaves again and seemed to have grown a few inches. Amazing!

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Mulberry LeavesMorus_alba,_White_Mulberry,_leaf_upper,I_RCR1281

Mulberry leaves, mainly White Mulberry leaves are of utmost importance because they are the only food of the silkworm from which we get silk. Many Mulberry leaf varieties are even edible by livestock and even humans, They are mostly edible when they just begin to open up and are the most tender. Do your own research though on your particular variety, not all are edible and in fact some are quite toxic, especially when mature.

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Branches

The flexible branches can be pruned in fall after the leaves have fallen off and used for making baskets and crafts. Also these branches are a favorite snack of rabbits, so if your homestead livestock is made up in part by the cute and fluffy then they will love these tasty snacks. Make sure you feed them in moderation though, anything new or in to much volume to the rabbits can cause bowel issues.

MULBERRY_fruit

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Fruit

Now we come to my favorite part of the Mulberry Tree, the fruit. Basically any dessert you would use most any other fruit in can be substituted with Mulberries, and in my opinion will only make it better. Mulberries have quite a bit of nutritional value as well, read more about the health benefits of mulberries. Here are just a few links to some great recipes on how to best make use of this wonderful treat.

Wild Mulberry Muffins http://lettersfromsunnybrook.com/

Wild Mulberry Muffins – lettersfromsunnybrook.com

Mulberry Pie

Mulberry Pie – www.mysquarefryingpan.com

Mulberry Jam

Mulberry Jam – www.seriouseats.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mulberry Cobbler

Mulberry Cobbler – kentuckyforager.com

Mulberry Syrup

Mulberry Syrup – www.simply-gourmet.com

Mulberry Wine – foragersyear.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What About the Problems?white-mulberry

As stated earlier the Mulberry does pose a problem for clean cars as the birds try to decorate it with a variety of colors and this can be aggravating and make you wonder if having Mulberry Trees on your property are worth it. One solution for this might be to plant the trees at the furthest point away that you can on your property, seems obvious enough I know but when your planting trees sometimes the bird poop from the fruit is not the first thing on your mind, your usually more concerned about the way the tree will look on your property. Another and maybe better option would be to plant White Mulberry Trees, the fruit is just as good, the leaves are edible and the best part is – no colorful paintball war on your car.

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I really hope reading this has opened your eyes to the amazing possibilities of having Mulberry Trees on your homestead, and hopefully inspired you to hurry up and plant some in an act of repentance and reconciliation toward your underappreciation of this awesome tree. πŸ™‚ Happy Homesteading!

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Get it on Amazon.com

MULBERRY White-Pink “Morus Alba” 20+ Perennial Seeds

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Harold

Homesteader, Blogger and Podcaster at Small Town Homestead
I am a husband to Mary and father to three daughters. My family and I are striving to become more self sufficient everyday as we grow our own food and pursue a more natural and organic lifestyle.

Posted in Articles, Orchard and tagged , , , , , .

16 Comments

  1. We have a 30 year old weeping mulberry and it’s the joy of everyone when it’s in season, the kids come from around the street with a bag and have fun. We make jams but find they are better in mixed jams like mulberry & plum, mulberry & nectarine, mulberry and apple with a touch of chilli is my favourite

    • Those jams sound good Steve. I’ve never had any jam with chilli in it, sounds like it would work though. Good to hear the kids in your neighborhood are in touch with nature enough to eat off of a tree and not just out of packages, that’s getting to be a rare thing in some place.

  2. Thank you so much for bringing positive attention to this useful tree, and for sharing my Mulberry Muffins recipe! Discovering this great source of fruit in our new backyard was a treat last year. I froze some berries to bake with over the Winter. I think you’ve just inspired me to make a batch this weekend! πŸ™‚

    • Thanks for posting that great recipe for everyone to enjoy Rebecca. I wish I still had some in the freezer, I guess I’m just going to have to be patient. Oh well, it’s something to forward to. πŸ™‚

  3. Your amazon link at the bottom of the article says that the white mulberry is not edible to humans. Is that true?

    • I hadn’t noticed that until you pointed it out Wendy, I have eaten white mulberry but i’m not sure if this is a different variety. I will research that a bit and see if I can find out.Thanks for pointing that out. There are other sellers of mulberry on Amazon, maybe I will just change the link to one that says theirs are an edible variety.

  4. We have a couple of wild mulberry trees on our property and I love them because they attract a lot of birds to the yard. I don’t mind the purple bird poop so much (it mostly stays in the backyard). And sometimes we get crazy and harvest the fruit ourselves to make jam.

  5. Hi there, Thanks for the article, it’s nice to hear of others who’ve grown up with these trees. I too am familiar with them because my mother cultivated silkworms since I was a very young child, and now I’m carrying out the tradition here in Newfoundland (look it up on the map! πŸ™‚ btw, they don’t only eat the leaves of the White Mulberry, I’m feeding them the Red. (although the silk may be better-I’ll have to look into that!)

    A question re: how to take cuttings, something I will be hopefully doing soon too for our work-in-progress-“homestead”. Do you know if it will work if the tree was one that was joined with the root base of an apple tree? The ones we have here had been spliced with apple to make it hardier for growing in our climate. Any advice would be great, buying five-foot trees can get to be expensive! Again, thank you…sincerely, Miki.

    • Hi Miki,
      Thanks for your comment and question. You can take cuttings from your trees but it would seem that maybe they are grafted to apple rootstock because they need to be more hardy in your location in Newfoundland, I looked it up on the map πŸ™‚ So I would suggest trying your hand at grafting. You can purchase rootstock online and there are YouTube videos and other information online on how to do it. It really isn’t that hard and the trees will be a little tougher.

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