Mulberry: the king of tree fruits (for pigs)



By the look of the leaf edges, it appears you have a white mulberry (Morus Alba) or a red-white hybrid with Morus Rubus (they hybridize naturally).


I’ll be darned! I have had several mislabeled trees from big box stores, but I honestly accept that as a well known risk of buying from big box stores and do so with the attitude that if its not what the label says, I’ll accept that as a trade-off for getting, large, potted, convenient trees without shipping. But when I buy from an online nursery and go to the trouble and expense of getting a professionally grown, bare root tree shipped to me, I expect more! But we know it happens.

The big disappointment to me is not that I have the wrong tree which may have average or worse flavor, but its that I was looking so forward to learning what a “good” mulberry tastes like and why so many people like them, as opposed to the wild ones I’ve tried and do not like. Oh well. I’ll let it grow and see what happens. I can always cut it down or maybe top work it (do mulberries graft well?)


rubra/alba/and nigra could be grafted over with any of the others.
alba’s supposedly live longer than rubra’s, so should be a better rootstock option when propagating the nigras


We can in most cases determine with the red mulberry seedlings if they are male or female by the leaves. The exception To that is when the seedling is a white mulberry because like the male the leaves are more rounded.


You’ve just got a white mulberry (M.alba); they gypped you. I fell prey to TyTy early in my career, and ordered a Black Beauty or Black Giant(it’s been 20 years ago). It’s the only TyTy plant still alive… it’s nothing but a crappy M.alba seedling with small,mostly tasteless berries. Yeah, they turn black, but they’re not a beauty or a giant. I’ve partially topworked it to other varieties, but most of it is nothing better than - and not as good as some - that one would find growing in any untended fenceline or roadside ditch in town here.


didn’t know that TyTy, despite all online feedback i have been seeing, is at least 20 yrs old and going strong…
must be the advertisements they have been posting, like this one about pakistan mulberries, replete with pizza, and the dramatic fireworks at the end of the movie.

anyway, i also gypped myself: here’s the ‘dwarf everbearing black mulberry’ i got from ebay(not from TyTy). I knew it wasn’t a black mulberry, but the 6$ price for the intriguing ‘curio’ was just too hard to resist. It was even potted when i received it in the mail, and that’s hard to beat, lol! Like yours, and @thecityman , it’s probably just a variant of M alba. Definitely not a dwarf, bolting up 6 feet in just a few months. Tortoises love the leaves and shoots, btw.

below is a close up of a true black mulberry, with chocolate to black colored dormant buds

next are a ‘noir de spain’ black mulberry(left), and dwarf gerardi M. alba(right), smothered with bermuda grass. On their second year, and each having grown not much more than a few inches. For reference, concrete dumbo’s rump is ~1.5 feet high. These two, along with black beauty mulberries(a M. nigra) are the veritable dwarfs of the mulberry family.


Well this just stinks!!! Overall, I’ve been pleased with Willis Orchards, and they’ve been really good about honoring their warranty. But passing of a regular mulberry as a true black is very frustrating. I was suspicious just because of its extreme growth rate- it literally grew 7 feet in the last 3 months- fastest growing tree I have. From what I’ve read, true blacks aren’t fast growers and you all have just confirmed that. So looks like I spent $20 and a lot of time on a tree that grows wild around here and doesn’t make very tasty fruit! frustrating. Very frustrating. Maybe I can beg some scion from some of you this winter/spring so I can convert this tree into a “real” one.
BTW, @Lucky_P - of topic, but I wanted to let you know that I ended up getting 2 grafted Pawnee Pecans this year and they are doing great. I know they weren’t on your “top” list for my area, but you said they were “acceptable” and better than the others I asked you about. Also, I fully intend to plant to more trees to pollinate them next spring, so I may be reaching out to you again for that. thanks for all your help on Pecans.


where are you at? If you’re in the southwest, star nursery sometimes sell sizeable specimens.
black mulberries and dwarf gerardi’s are extremely slow growers, i think it would be best you obtain actual specimens which slashes the long waiting time. Burntridgenursery sells black beauty mulberries for ~ same price as the impostor you received from willis orchards, and those from burntridge seem to be 3 or 4 yrs old already(which are still quite young, in M. nigra terms), and that should give you way more of a headstart, compared to grafting a twig , then having to wait at least 3 more years.
i already have 4 black mulberries, and they are all 3 to 4 years of age(6-8 yrs old if adding their estimated age when i obtained them), but still, am planning to buy more of them next year…due to the long wait. If i can’t speed up their growth, i will have to buy more of them to make up for the scarcity of fruiting branches


That is excellent advice @jujubemulberry. I am in Tennessee on the KY line, btw. But I hadn’t thought about the fact that grafting would take so much longer. The only grafting I’ve done has been top working large apple and pear trees, and because they were already such large trees (8-12 inch diameter) the grafts have grown incredibly fast and are likely to fruit next year if I let them (2ed year after graft!). But obviously M. Nigra’s don’t grow that fast, nor do I have such large trees to graft to. I’m certainly someone who is guilty of doing whatever I can to speed up fruit production, even if it costs me considerably more to do it. So you are right- I’ll just buy some whole trees this fall or next spring. Thanks.


Has anyone had much success grafting Mulberries?I’ve tried different varieties to various root stocks and trees and nothing yet.I sent some scions to a guy in New York and he gets them to take.Keep trying I guess. Brady


I ruled out that they absolutely cannot be grafted dormant. Whites and reds do not appear compatable. My wild trees in some cases are part white and part red in which case I get nothing to take. So they need to be grafted with dormant scions to a non dormant tree before it’s hot outside. That tree must be compatable with the new scion . It is a tall order and I lost 100% of my grafts. I have had success growing very large hybrids so next time I will graft the crosses on the smaller berried hybrids


Today I learned that groundhogs can climb. And they like mulberry leaves. So there’s another kind of hog that likes this tree.


That’s funny, I have almost exactly the same memory. Putting up hay in the summer in Iowa and having a mulberry snack along the fence row. My grandpa loved these more than the rest of us and after a while his lips would be purple! But, yeah, I always found wild mulberries in the midwest to be relatively bland. I would love to try the Persian varieties some day.


I’ve done grafts of dormant-collected scions onto actively-growing seedling rootstocks in spring and mid-summer T-budding with high success rates.
For the most part, I’ve used either volunteer M.alba seedlings or (this year) purchased M.rubra seedlings(from the KY state forestry nursery - though I’m not thoroughly convinced that they’re pure M.rubra).
Have had no issue with getting most varieties - whether M.albaXrubra hybrids, M.macroura, M.rubra, or whatever, to take on virtually any rootstock I’ve tried… though I do have one M.rubra selection I’d made out of south Alabama that neither I nor a friend in NJ have been able to keep alive on M.alba rootstock for more than a couple of years…and the ortet is now dead, so it’s lost…

The (NOT)Black Giant or whatever I got from TyTy years ago is currently home to a local M.rubra, Kokuso, a local hybrid(Lawson Dawson), and another variety or two that I’ve lost IDs on.


Here is the picture of my Persian mulberry from Willies. I have it grew in a pot . Is it or is it not a black mulberry?


in my eyes, it is definitely not blac mulberry. Sorry.
hard for me to say if it is an alba, a rubra, or a cross between the two, but am quite certain it is not a morus nigra.
the straight and slender stem is quite conclusive, as well as the long petioles.
but it is just me, and i am actually the type of person who’s happier proven wrong, than proven right.
so inviting to hear from others who might disagree.


Thank you. It is better to find out sooner than later. After I saw your comments of thecityman’s mulberry tree, I had already guessed mine is not black mulberry neither. We both bought trees from same place, Willis. I actually called the nursery talked to a gentleman name Jay after I received the shipment in April to confirm that my tree is Persian mulberry (he said it is a local variety also called black beauty) because, for my limited knowledge, black mulberry can’t be hardy to zone 5 and this one was listed zone 4 , also regular white mulberry tree does not have 3" long fruit. I could be wrong, but I will be happy for whatever it is as long as it does bear 3" long fruit .

I bought some mulberry nigra seeds recently , do you know if I grow the tree from seeds, will the seeding comparable to its parents?


i am so sorry Annie, but i have never heard of morus nigra’s being grown from seed. Perhaps it happens in the wild, or in laboratories, but i have not experienced it nor come across in my own mulberry studies…
also, i agree with you, zone 4 might be way too cold and damp for morus nigra’s…


Honestly, the teeth on the edge of the leaf pattern makes me think they sold you a red mulberry (morus rubra).


See this document:

Curious Mulberry Problem