Mulberry

Mulberry


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Common Name:  Mulberry, Black Mulberry.

Latin Name:  Morus nigra.

Origin:  Asia.

Description (what it looks like):  A fast growing, attractive, domed, deciduous tree, with pendulous, smaller branches and veined, green leaves with downy undersides.  Tree can grow to 10m high and 10m wide.  Fruits are cylindrical, rubbery fruits of red, purple and black.

Uses (function):  By closely planting mulberries and regular hard pruning, you can create a fruiting hedge.  Can be grown in a large container.  Ideal shade tree over the chicken coop for nitrogen usage.  Deciduous leaves provide great mulch.  Chop and drop old growth.  Provides shade in summer and allows light in during the winter.  Ornamental as well as edible.

Nutritional value:  Mulberries are an excellent source of iron, which is a rare feature among berries.  They also a good source of minerals like potassium, manganese, and magnesium.  They are rich in B-complex group of vitamins, and vitamin K, as well as very good amounts of vitamin B-6, niacin, riboflavin and folic acid.

Growing details (propagation, seed etc):  Harvest November to January.  Under ideal growing conditions, a small harvest of fruit could be expected within the first year.  Mulberries fruit on new season growth so prune after the harvest to ensure new shoots for next years crop.  Dropping fruit can stain paths or cars (or even your clothes drying on the washing line) so position over the lawn.

Best time to grow:  Plant seedling out in spring or summer.

Soil:  Deep, fertile well draining loam with a neutral pH.  Mulch a couple of times per year to keep nutrients and moisture available.

Sun:  Full sun.

Water:  Moderate watering.  Reasonably drought tolerant once established.

How to eat it:  Freshly picked off the tree, mulberries make a great snack.  Pick when ripe to enjoy its sweet, yet tart taste, as the fruit does not ripen off the tree.  Used fresh in fruit salads, smoothies, cook into jams or bake into cakes.

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