IE rooting experiment

Several years ago after I planted my IE Mulberry there was a nice shady area underneath where I grew King Stropharia mushrooms. To create my mushroom bed I used some prunings from my mulberry tree to help hold the sides of my bed of straw. Around mid summer I noticed that my IE stakes were actually budding out. They actually grew all summer until I decided to remove them as I did not at the time want more trees growing there. Fast forward a few years and we were having so many compliments on our IE fruits that I decided to try rooting some for friends. Those of you who have tried to root IE know how that turned out. After many trials to include air layering, I gave up that endeavor.

Then last fall after berries were thru ripening, I decided to cut off the topmost limb which was growing so high only the crows and squirrels could pick them. As I chopped up this rather large 2+” diameter limb, I reflected back on my mushroom bed. I decided rather than create more wood for the fire pit, to create 24” long stakes. I used my hatchet to sharpen the large or base end of each of 22 stakes and hammered them into the ground in the mushroom bed soil where my IE would shade them during the spring and summer.
Of the 22 stakes I hammered into the soil, 13 have budded. The ones that are about 1” to 2” diameter are showing more agressive growth than the smaller ones. Below is a pic of the two most aggressive stakes. I have watered them each week during our recent dry spell, and kept the berries plucked off where fruit emerged. By this fall when they go dormant, assuming they continue to grow, I will dig several up to check for roots and update this posting in case others want to try this technique! Fingers crossed!
Kent, wa


Consider putting a temperature probe into that mushroom bed and another elsewhere for comparison.


Got tons of them out there now. I just scrape the end and stab them in the ground. Over the years I’m averaging 1-4 out of 20 using this crude method. Usually the first year they leaf out and not much more. Then the next year they give you some growth. With a better method I’m sure much better results would be possible.
Keep in mind they will give you some false action just using scion power. So expect many to go down later.


Nice report. Looking forward to the update.

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I’ve rooted IE before and have 3 self rooted ones in my orchard. Another hang up is that the root system tends to be rather sickly and middling while the top growth proceeds with usual vigor. I had 2 of the three blow over at one point or another, and had to secure them with stakes and nylon webbing. After a couple of years, the roots seem to have caught up.

I’ve rooted other mulberries and grown them out and none of the other varieties has had this issue

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Here is how to root IE by Dr. Jeff McCormak
Pomona: Quarterly of the North American Fruit Explorers, Winter
1985 edition, volume 18, number 1


A few years back I tried some IE cuttings. Some were small 1/4 inch others where 1/2 inch or larger. The only ones that rooted where 1/2 or larger. The roots where very fragile and I found it was best to not try to transplant for a few months or better a year.

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Hi Dennis,
That’s what I gathered from several sources so far. Probably better to move them to a sunnier grow location once dormant where the roots can develop before a final transplant. Right now I’m in no rush, just amused at how they are responding.

I love stories like this, especially with pictures.


I agree with all of that. Bigger is better. I would also leave them in place for at least a year or more. I have messed up plenty of them trying to move them. At the end of the year the roots will be small and they practically fall off with any soil disturbance.

An easier way is to start them in clear plastic cups. Then you can see whats really going on.


That’s my preferred method. I use vermiculite and quart containers- usually a clear one inside of an opaque one, and I’ll use another clear one with a few small holes as a cloche. They’ll root in a month or so on the kitchen counter with some dappled diffuse light, IME. More important than size is timing, I believe. I shoot for mid-July here, which is about a week or two after the first fruits are ripening. I’ve had good luck with pencil diameter. I like to cut just below a node too- mulberry has a hollow pith which is means fungus and bacteria can readily enter the stem if cut above a node.


I removed a branch off my M Kokuso last year. The branch was close to 2 inches in diameter. I cut a section about 4 feet long and dug into soil and buried about half of it. This spring the branch is pushing growth…

If it works, great. If not then nothing lost…


Just a heads up: Kukoso is currently classified as a race of M. alba.

I have several similar to this. But after half year, most of them dropped the leaves and eventually failed. I still have a couple with nice leaves on, but there are no any roots when I dug and repotted them 2 weeks ago.

@aaron-wang ! Welcome to GrowingFruit!!

Propagation experts stress the importance of bottom heat when rooting Moraceae.