It is good to understand that a mulberry bush has a spreading habit and becomes gnarled and crooked as it grows. Mulberry grow best in soils that are able to hold moisture but well drained. This is the basic information to anyone interested in growing mulberries for commercial and domestic purposes.
Elaborated below is a guide to establishing a mulberry bush.
Mulberry bush seedlings can be propagated in the following ways
a) Wood cuttings
Wood cuttings is the most reliable propagation method.
· Cut developed shoots, 30- 40 cm long and treat with hormone rooting chemical.
· Prepare a nursery bed and insert the cuttings 15-20 cm in the soil and water them regularly.
· These cuttings are prepared when the mulberry bush has shed off their leaves
· Gather mulberries when they are ripe.
· Soak the berries in water for 24 hours to soften.
· Air dry the softened seeds and avoid direct sunlight.
· Germinate the seeds in the cold.
· Check the seeds for germination.
Plant mulberry bush seedlings when the soil is warm and conducive for root development. Ensure the roots are not over established and are healthy.
Dig holes on the soil and Space 5-10M (16-33ft) from each seedling to allow space for their spreading nature.
Apply a general fertilizer 70g-80g per square meter and mulch preferably well rotten manure.
After planting ensure the seedlings are watered during early seasons to ensure the plant is healthy in the future.
Pruning and training mulberry bush
Note that a mulberry bush should be trimmed when the tree has dominantly established and recommended after leave fall to reduce sap bleeding from the cuts on the mulberry tree.
Cut off the shoots that are not well placed, dead, overcrowded and leader stems to about 4.5 -5.5 ft. above upcoming shoots.
Use forked sticks to support hanging branches.
Avoid over pruning a mulberry bush.
Fruiting takes about eight to nine years after planting.
Gather ripe berries by shaking branches with ripe mulberry over spread sheets on the ground direct to the branch.
Avoid fruit stains on your clothes and hands by wearing protective clothing and gloves.
Mulberries are not prone to diseases but it always good to look for the following
- Bacteria leaf spots cut and burn them
- Pests especially birds and take measures to control them.
In conclusion, establishing a well producing mulberry bush takes hard work and determination. Test your soil PH and nutrient levels to determine which soils are fit. This information is important when applying fertilizers.
The picking season lasts about a month in the months of August and September.
Written By: Morgan E.