I’ve thought about adding some type of berry to my orchard. I like the idea of the long summer ripening that I could get from mulberries. My only experience with mulberries was a large wild mulberry that grew on the ridge behind my home as a child. I remember them being very tasty. I don’t think I had a very refined palette but they tasted like the best blackberries back then. I also remember the tree was really large and quite messy. The ground below the tree was a stained sticky mess. Haha.
Fast forward to today and I realize I want some type of delicious berry. Disease And pest free is a plus. My concern is that I don’t want a huge tree like what I remember as a kid. Ideally I’d like to grow it in a pot. Worst case I’d like a tree that I could maintain in ground at less than 8 feet like the rest of my small orchard.
Is this doable? Is Illinios Everbearing my best option?
Probably the one that will fit that description is the Dwarf Mulberry ‘Geraldi Dwarf’ or Girardi Dwarf Mulberry or ‘Gerardi Dwarf’.I think that may satisfy everyone’s spelling of the name.
The plant is so slow growing,that a Pawpaw might even grow faster and the thing only gets to about six feet,so I’ve read.Mine is about half way there.
Now for better fruit quality and more work,another Alba/Rubra like Illinois Everbearing might be something to try.Just remember,they can get big. Brady
Thanks a lot guys for the recommendation. How good do the dwarf Geraldi mulberries taste? I was reading through another mulberry thread here at GF and some people weren’t overly thrilled with Giraldi. Complaints were that the berries were bland. Of course that seemed to be a minority and there were lots of positive comments as well. If I decide to grow it in a pot what type of soil do mulberries prefer?
Mulbs on the whole are bland compared to many fruits. The west coast folks say nigras are the best, but I don’t think pure nigras do well here back east.
USDA suspects that Geraldi is a nigra/alba hybrid. Albas are much more robust in handling eastern conditions. @BobVance has successfully fruited Geraldi in Connecticut. The cultuvar was discovered in Illinois. It has demonstrated a naturally dwarfed growth habit. For easterners with spaces concerns, it sounds like a slam dunk:
I just received my Silk Hope from Burnt Ridge. I have no idea how they taste or how big the tree will get. Most reviews seem positive.
I also have a couple of wild mulberries growing on my property. And I agree that they taste like very good blackberries. Better taste and no tartness that you find in most blackberries. There’s never a mess around my trees as the wild birds and my chickens eat them all.
I’m one of those who said it is pretty bland. But, it is exactly what you are looking for with respect to size. After 5 years, mine is about 5 feet tall, though it is pretty wide and dense (a good thing I think, as there is more fruiting area then). I’m planning to graft over it this year and see if the new growth stays small, or if it goes for the sky.
Like you, I wanted to keep an IE small and grew it in a pot. I managed to kill mine, so I can only share what didn’t work. The only trace I still have of the IE is a single branch on a wild mulberry which I grafted from the potted plant soon before its demise. In 2012, when I did this, I kept better records than now of how I made my potting mixes:
10 gal pine bark- 42%
5 gal Turface- 22%
1.5 gal leaf mulch (LM)- 7%
1.5 gal garden soil (high in LM)- 7%
5 gal perlite- 22%
This mix went towards the IE in a 15 gallon fabric container and a Karmmijn De Sonnaville (M27) in a 10 gallon Roottrapper II (white sided). Both trees died, though the KDS took longer and was more due to insufficient watering.
I got 2 from Whitman last year - both in one gallon containers. I planted them, they leafed out nice and healthy. Then surprisingly they both set fruit (a lot for the 2 foot size of the things) in their first leaf. The only problem was I was out of town when most of them ripened and the trees were almost bare and the birds were fat by the time I got back. The that I was able to protect when I got back did taste was promising, but certainly not enough for any verdict.
By the way, a deer wandered into the yard later in the summer and ate all the leaves off one so, just like most fruit trees, beware of deer pressure. Since they are short and always will be you’ll need to protect them. I used a raw egg and dish soap spray suggested by Alan and that seemed to keep them off.
Also, they are grafted on some type of root stock (probably just seedling alba, rubra or hybrids that pop up) so beware of anything coming up from below the graft because the shoots from the rootstock will grow much faster than the Geraldi and will quickly dwarf the dwarf. Seeing that they were grafted, I did snip a little wood off them when they were dormant and will try grafting it to chance seedlings the birds have generously planted in my strawberry bed. Perhaps they were paying me back for the fruit they had stolen.