Dwarfing mulberry article

Haven’t read it yet, but should be good!


I am thinking the dwarfing effect is not due to the development of “own-roots”, but due to the girdling and constriction of connection between the rootstock and the grafted variety…

If the original root-stock were to die off completely and the newly rooted scion (stock) were simply rooting, would t the plant just end up developing normally, rather than being dwarfed?


I really hope some others chime in with an explanation of what’s going on here. Where does the incompatibility come from? If a rubra grafted onto an alba gives a full size, vigorous tree, doesn’t that suggest they are completely compatible?

I imagine that the original root system is not constricted to death. It is severely restricted, but since it is still there it functions as the primary root system. That would mean that the now rooting grafted part would supplement but not take over as the primary root system.

Why the now rooted graft doesn’t just take over is something I cannot answer.

I do wish I had more room to experiment and see if this works.


could just be that , and taking into consideration–white mulbs supposedly live 200 years or more, while red mulbs supposedly live to 75. The longer-lived alba seedling/sucker gave the old rubra clone a headstart, but this gradually faded with the mechanical girdle, resulting in the rubra acting more and more its age(and on its own adventitious roots), and less and less of its constricted alba roots.

have observed that when planting trees from seed, vertical growth/trunk formation generally supersedes bushy/branchy growth habits. Only after a few years(or decades for long-gestation trees) will the bushy/branchy canopy formation be a priority. Once the canopy of maturity(specific to the species) is formed, air layering the branches will generally not revert the air-layered clone into prioritizing trunk formation, but will retain the bushy growth habit. Growing avocados, citrus, or even tomatoes from seed are some examples. Rapid growth to form a solid trunk is prioritized in youth, but once the specimen has matured with fruit-bearing branches, air-layering the matured branches will not reset them into juveniles, and will continue to behave like they would as if they were still growing on the canopy, hence the dwarfing effect–unless grown in light-deprived conditions.
many citrus(grapefruit/calamondins, etc), when grown from seed form thorny trunks and main branches, but are practically thornless at the thinner branches of the canopies of mature/fruit-bearing trees. One will never see them as spiny specimens at lowe’s because the old mature clone is grafted low to a young seedling. The seedling rootstock has been decapitated and stopped from forming its spines, while the old clone scion seems unaffected by the juvenility of the rootstock it has been grafted to.

some species, such as jujube scions, will be affected by its relative distance to ground level, and will resume thorny growth, but will continue to act its age by bearing flowers, often on the same year they have been grafted. A stem from a 1 year old juju seedling will not bear flowers when grafted to an old juju tree, just as a stem from a 1 year old grapefruit seedling will not produce flowers when grafted to an older citrus rootstoc.

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A thought in the topic, has anyone used a dwarf interstem to reduce mulberry growth?

I’m thinking Giraldi’s Dwarf, Contorted, or weeping might do the trick.

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I did one graft last year with the Girardi as an interstem for the Kokuso​. The graft took. Will do evaluation the next couple of growing seasons.



Ahh, neat, keep us posted!

Well, this is certainly relevant to my earlier query about keeping mulberries small.

Dwarfism is largely about roots not sending enough food to the tree, right? I’m wondering if all of the work is being done here by girdling the tree’s roots. I may test this out on a few of my seedlings, because why not?


I got cuttings of Dwarf Everbearing. Not sure what species this is? I can say it rooted quicker than anything else, it would be easy to make ton’s of rootstock. Every cutting took. I think they were green cuttings. Not sure if hard wood leafed out or that they were green when they arrived?


Whats your procedure for getting the dwarf mu;berry to give you a 100% rooting success?

Also, were did you purchase your cuttings from?

Thanks Bob Harper

Sam, a member here gave me cuttings. It is a Nigra (Morus nigra), I didn’t know that when I posted. so would not make a good rootstock for me. It appears nigra is easy to root, or maybe other factors are involved. The best way to root is with a cloner or misting set up. I have neither , so a freezer bag over a quart pot is my cloner. It works. You could use a bottle too. Cut the bottom of a 2 liter pop bottle and you have a micro greenhouse. Just in my normal potting soil. The dwarf is not hardy here, it will be grown in a pot and kept with my figs in the winter.
Here is a photo, it definitely has rooted as it’s growing well, I will be hardening off and separating it soon. 2 are in this container along with Silk Hope which also appears to have rooted.
The yellow is from the lights, the leaves are green and not yellow.

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How is that graft doing?

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The Girardi interstem did slow down the growth on the Kokuso graft. The Kokuso graft on the large wild mulberry understock grew like gang buster!!!



How are your cuttings doing now? Are you positive it are morus nigra?

I did my own little experiments with cuttings from morus nigra and got a very low rate of rooted cuttings. In fact only 1 out of 25 cuttings developed roots and seem to survive.

I got the wood in early September which is late for rooting green cuttings. Those cuttings were in good condition. The new wood was lignified, some leaves still attached and green. I treated them like green cuttings (rooting hormone, shortened leaves) and tried different “soils”. Half of them went into sharp sand and the other half into coarse sand. All of them were put into a misting setup with bottom heat.

As I said until now only 1 cutting did develop roots. Some cuttings are still hanging on but I have only little hope since all leaves are shed by now, still no signs of roots.

Best -if you can say so with that rate of mortality- did the cuttings in sharp sand. Cuttings in coarse sand (2-3 mm) did really bad, all rotted away.

I did a control group with morus alba and fig cuttings, all put into the coarse sand. With them I had really high rates of rooting. I didn’t count but estimate 80% rooted.

So I came to the conclusion Morus Nigra is very hard to root from cuttings. I am very suprised to read about your successes.

One more point I want to make is, I really wonder why the cuttings in coarse sand did so much worse than those in sharp sand (lasted much longer). In the beginning of my experiment I figured the exact opposite would be the case since the coarse sand should provide much better aeration. the control group did well in coarse sand but that would also have happened in sharp sand since morus alba and figs are fairly easy to root from cuttings.

No, I’m not sure? From what you say probably not. many nurseries sell false nigra’s, so a mix-up is very possible. i I do have some seeds now. Well for hard cuttings the best method is a misting system. Bet they root with that. One day i will make one.

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Thanks for the clarification. I couldn’t tell from your picture.

Did you get those seeds from @pileta? Then you got the real deal. If you bought em online a mixup is very likely. I also got some seeds from him, very generous. I am hoping for a high rate of germination.

Yes. I thin it was him who sent me seeds. I’m not that interested in Morus Nigra. i want one, but want 6 or 7 other mulberries not nigra as they grow here, Nigra will only be grown in a container. Speaking of which I need cuttings to the Sweet Lavender cultivar if anybody has this and can spare some cuttings?

Drew, I’ve got you next spring…


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How about Girardi as the rootstock, Tony? Any idea if that would work as well? I supposed it would dwarf the Kokuso even more.