Weeping Mulberry Tree

The Weeping Mulberry Tree - A Nice Landscaping Choice

There are several varieties of weeping mulberry trees. They come in a range of sizes. The female mulberry tree bears blossoms and fruit, the mail does not. The mulberry tree, also called the "Morus" and belonging to the Moracae family, is native to North America and Asia. The Morus alba or White Mulberry is one of the more popular species, of which several varieties fall into the "Pendula" or "Weeping mulberry" category.

The Fruit Can Be A Problem - The White Weeping mulberry is also known as the Silkworm Mulberry. It is a principal food for silkworms and is still grown for that purpose, though not presently so much in the United States. The fruit is edible but seldom harvested in any large quantities as, while sweet, many find the taste rather insipid. A fruit-bearing can be a poor choice in some locations as the fallen fruit, which somewhat resembles a blackberry, has a habit of staining sidewalks or anything else it comes into contact with. The fruit is very popular with birds, which is a good reason to plant one of these trees, even though birds may spread the fruit, and the fruit stains, even further from the tree. Not all berries are black, in fact mulberry tree varieties having black berries are the least common, with pink, white, and purple berries being much more common.

A good alternative is the "Chaparral", a weeping mulberry that does not bear fruit. In general, the fruitless varieties are better for the home garden. The non-fruiting or male weeping mulberry tree does present one problem however. Being a male, it will produce prodigious amounts of pollen, so that needs to be kept in mind when deciding if a mulberry tree is going to be the tree of choice.

Culture And Location - The weeping mulberry requires plentiful water during its first few years but when mature is somewhat drought tolerant. It is in some ways similar to the willow in that, besides having a very attractive weeping characteristic and providing an excellent source of shade, its roots can sometimes be troublesome. Some care must be taken when choosing a location to plant a mulberry tree as the roots can destroy sidewalks and even building foundations, not to mention making mowing the lawn a challenge. Most weeping mulberry varieties reach a height of from 20' to 35', with the spread often being as much as the height. Young trees sometimes require staking as the spread at the crown can make the tree top heavy. After several years however the trunk thickens becomes strong enough to support the crown. A mature weeping mulberry tree has quite a thick and sturdy trunk.

Once the branches, which initially grow laterally, begin to weep they may begin to come into contact with the ground and will need to be pruned back.

An Excellent Choice, Or Not So Good - Because of the weeping mulberry's habit of dropping fruit if a female, scattering pollen if a male, and sending out strong surface roots in either case, it may not be the very best choice for a small garden in a residential area. Also, as a shade tree it will take up quite a bit of space, perhaps giving more shade than is actually wanted. For a large yard or open space however it can be an excellent choice. Just remember to water the tree well the first two or three years as it will be very thirsty. After that, the tree will very likely be able to fend for itself. Plant several, start breeding silkworms, and manufacture your own silk. A cottage industry built around a few mulberry trees!