Grafted mulberries

I get the basics of why grafting is done but what about larger varieties ? Does this weaken or shorten the life of a mulberry? Does anyone have photos of massive trees grafted?


I have 3 60 foot pecans that are grafted. My question was specific to mulberries because they grow faster and get weak spots easily. This makes me curious about grafting this type of plant. Pecans are longer lived and different type of wood and I already know how they perform.

I’m impressed that you got that stump to heal over that well. I top worked a pear a few years ago and the stumps have not healed nearly as well as your pecan

The alba’s and rubus … yes. M. nigra is a shrub, although large with age in temperate environments. My colleagues from Pakistan in the scientific community have related to me about playing streamside in their youth among M. nigra shrubs – multi-stemmed and perhaps 20’ or in height. Collectors from ARS-GRIN talk about specimens 30’ in height but that’s about it.

I believe you’re correct that in general the wood is not hard and prone to breakage.

I see now , misread that ,

So, what is your opinion on grafted ones in macroura, alba, and rubra aspect. Seems to me a nice yard shade tree 30 years down the road unlikely.

nigra mulbs grafted to alba rootstoc also appear like that. The alba trunk being thinner in caliper than the nigra budwood–as the nigra budwood gets older/bigger

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In my experience, M. nigra on M. alba in our local environment will produce a nice semi-deciduous shade tree in 5-8 years. After reaching mature size, it is wise to occasionally head it back about 1/4 to develop thicker infrastructure. Note that we rarely have hurricane force winds.

That’s not what I observe here with nigra on alba that are properly watered and fertilized – i.e., equivalent to the native asian environment.

I’d like to know the answer to that also. Two years I tried grafting onto Illonois Everbearing with no success. On a two yr rootstock the graft and rootstock died. On an 8 ft IE the grafts started to grow and then died on two attempts.
I have had success rooting cuttings.

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I don’t have much experience with growing grafted mulberries yet, but the planting instructions I got from Hidden Springs Nursery said to plant the tree with the graft union a few inches below the surface of the soil so that roots will form above it. My two attempts at grafting mulberries last year both leafed out but then died back after a month or so. I’m going to try again this spring, so any mulberry grafting tips would be appreciated.

it is said that the lifespan of a tree is influenced largely by the longevity(and disease-resistance) of its roots.

i can’t say if hidden springs nursery’s recommendation is accurate, but can’t disregard it either.

nigra mulberries reportedly easily attain >500 years’ productive life. And from what gathered online, alba’s generally last 150 yrs(though heard of some that lasted 400 yrs). Rubras reportedly start declining or only live as long(or if in nigra terms-- as short) as humans ~75 yrs.

nigras do come from seed, so the question would be that if many of the presumably seed-grown ancient trees that @chriso and @Carld posted here would have shorter lifespans if stems taken from them were to be grafted to rubra or alba.
another permutation is if it is true that senescence of roots is real such that a hypothetically air-layered nigra would be considered as old as the tree it came from and not revert to the youthful equivalence of a recently germinated nigra seed.

if we take budwood from a 250 yr old seed-grown nigra tree, then successfully graft it to a 1 year old rubra seedling, does this mean the scion will only have ~75 yrs left? Now, if we should plant the grafted specimen deep, in the hopes that the nigra will develop roots someday once the rubra starts declining, will it then equate to the nigra ‘resuming’ its projected lifespan of > 500 yrs?

as a kid(back when depeche mode and tears for fears were huge) have been planning to do it on determinate tomatoes by taking serial scions and serially grafting to determinate tomato seedlings and see if the determinate tomato scion will be artificially conferred immortality. I already know a cutting of determinate tomato will have the same-- if not shorter lifespan as the mother plant.
also curious if an indeterminate tomato will artificially increase the longevity of a determinate rootstock, or vice-versa. Sadly this kid’s procrastinating ways have indeterminate lifespans :laughing:


There’s a quick and easy answer to (cuttings) or grafts of ancient trees. The new wood is juvenile-always in all characteristics. It does have the ‘knowledge’ to fruit quickly but all other traits are as if the wood is 1-year old again.


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while not saying have come to a definite conclusion, i actually think the other way–that scions don’t revert to juvenile stage. I really find it difficult to conclude that a successfully rooted cutting from a 1500 year old jujube converts to seedling-status and vigor as soon as it is removed from the mother tree. There’s no biologic or physiologic /hormonal reason could come up with to support reversion to youth with a simple mechanical removal.

also, when we say ancient trees, i feel that it might be a relative term. Since we think of it in human terms. Humans have not really reliably recorded lifespans of preferred cultivars, from say, long-lived fig trees to assume that all of its clones would live forever, simply because fig trees(be they clones or seedlings), tend to live hundreds of years, and perhaps thousands.

of the fruit trees, nectarine trees are some of the shortest-lived ‘perennials’, even when grafted on to hardy rootstoc. I think the only way to tell if clones from nectarines will live forever is to grow them in a sterile environment where diseases and pests are absent, like in a hydroponic laboratory setting. And see if serial cuttings grown on own roots would live much longer than their ~12 yr productive lifespan(when grown outdoors on superb rootstoc), and if they could actually live for centuries without declining much in fruit production.


Time to chime in, with my very limited experience of grafting white variety to black.
I have had a Pakistan in the ground for 10 years. Every year it gives huge harvest in April, then I would prune off 1/3. Then there would be a second and third harvest, and I always prune off 1/3 after each time. Fruits are deliciously sweet and long.
Last April I grafted a white fruited variety. My friend said it is sweet and long. It sounds like Tehama (Giant White) to me.
The graft grew very well and very fast, eventually it got so heavy it almost broke off in Aug. Some TLC and a make shift splint saved it. It grew at least 2 feet, with leaf different from the stock, but no fruit.
This year it is unusually warm, the tree started very early. But the graft branch shows absolutely no activity.

Here are some pictures of this morning.
Here is how the splint looked
The union
Maybe they are not compatible with each other, or maybe the graft is slower to wake up. Regardless, I think I still can count on a big spring harvest.


I originally asked the question, because I am planting foundation trees for the future of my property. Some mulberries I wanted are grafted and don’t want to plant something that will rot, break, and fall over at the graft point when it becomes a 70 foot tree. I can’t grow nigra here. While conversation took an interesting turn not answered the root to my original question.


This is a basic fact in plant biology and the basis for tissue culture among other things.

I wish you’d stop propagating this rumor. It is false. If you want proof then please go study cell biology followed by plant physiology.

it did take an interesting turn, as apparently i hurt @Richard’s feelings. Yet again, even though didn’t mean to…,

actually did study cell bio and botany for my biology undergrad. How about you?

if you didn’t, then would you have people who actually did go to school vouch for you as to why you think it is a rumor? Bring 'em here and will gladly engage.

politely, that is :wink:

Then don’t hold back … keep going with plant physiology.

All this fighting over a mulberry thread? Insert Rodney King quote here…

exactly what i want you to do— would still love to hear from you(or your sources) about evidence proving otherwise.

it is not even half-time, lol Sorry about this @Botanical_Bryce.
i probably should invite @Richard to settle this at the parking lot, i mean at another thread :grin: