First problem with M. nigra in Texas

@Livinginawe @jujubemulberry

Found this today. Looks as if the bark is splitting!

It’s only on the west side of the tree. None on the other sides of the branches. Caused by sun??

Yes it’s probably what’s called southwest injury. The winter sun warms the bark and then freezing at night damages the cambium. Paint the stems white each fall to lower the temperature swings.

My figs look like that this spring.


50/50 white latex and water?

1 Like

Do I need to do anything now?

I don’t think so. The reason I won’t paint now is the damage seems to go pretty high and you’d be painting leaves and fruit.


Sorry @k8tpayaso didn’t see your post until now(it was camouflaged by the notifications on my dashboard). I agree with @fruitnut, that it may just be thermal shock.

i have seen those happen to ours too but not as rampant as those on yours, even though our trees are bigger and ultimately get direct sun at 115F. We never really had to paint them–the lazy fruit farmers that we are, but paint protection might be more useful if nigra has some susceptibility to fungal/mold attack in regions more humid than the desert southwest…

The tree “leans” to the east. It’s not a true lean but looks as if was grown in tight quarters or in a prevailing wind and most of the foliage is on one side leaving a lot of bare trunk facing west. I didn’t notice this when I planted it or I wouldn’t have left it that way. Should I try to shade it? Or paint it now? Or use a sealer on the open areas? It looks okay except for the splits which appear dry and clean. Has not dropped fruit (one of which should be ready tomorrow or the day after. It’s blackening but still reddish in the base.)

if it looks dry and clean then probably ok letting it be. If you have pruning sealant lying around, it won’t hurt to use it, but if don’t have any, probably not worth going out of your way to buy one.[quote=“k8tpayaso, post:7, topic:11143”]
one of which should be ready tomorrow or the day after. It’s blackening but still reddish in the base.)

best if has attained deep purple/black all over, hope you get to try it before a bird does!

1 Like

M. nigra is not a tree … its a shrub. It is native to an environment very similar to yours on the opposite side of the globe. If you don’t like the shape then stake it or prune it. Otherwise, don’t fuss – that will kill it for sure.

1 Like

nigras in the americas are commonly seen as shrubs, being slow growing, being fairly recent imports to this part of the world, in Morus nigra terms, so many specimens here in america are still shrubs as of this posting. Centenarian nigras in the old world have attained tree-sizes, with huge logs as trunks

1 Like

I was referring to growth habit, not size. Botanical journals describe them in their native environment as streamside shrubs. Certainly older specimens can develop very large limbs.