Mulberry: the king of tree fruits (for pigs)


Good to know. I have ordered from Willis in teh past, and had to have a return taken care of. It was not the easiest process, but at least they did honor the return and replacement. It is due to wonderful forums such as this one, that we can find really outstanding growers and reliable places to order our trees. Mistakes can still happen, but they are significantly reduced by using growers who have an excellent track record and history.


exactly, and my post was not to slander said nursery, as it coud have been just an honest mistake and not intended to mislead
may be just an errant word-of-mouth/second-hand info which they obtained from their supplier of grafted stock.

especially with the enigmatic mulberries-- being ubiquitous–and yet still relatively unknown

btw, georgia, where willisorchards is located, is not an area where Morus nigra’s thrive well.


Oikos Tree Crops owner Ken Asmus states that the morus nigra that he sells (grown from seed) will overwinter and fruit in Michigan. We discussed it once and he said that grafted ones don’t tend to be hardy enough for Mi, but own rooted ones are ok. I asked him how sure he was that what he sold was morus nigra and he told me he was absolutely sure.

I have not yet tried it, though if I had the space…



I just received my Black Beauty (Morus Nigra) mulberry from Bay Laurel yesterday. It is a nice sized bush and appears to be in good shape. I was planning to plant it this weekend but we are experiencing our coldest spell of the winter so far… hopefully it will be ok waiting a few days in a cool closet.

Speaking of the weather… per the tag, the tree itself is from LE Cook and it says the tree is hardy to zone 7, while the Bay Laurel website says zone 4. (which I was always skeptical of for a Morus Nigra) That is an awfully big difference in opinion on zones. I am in 7a so I hope LE Cook’s “zone 7” is a little conservative.

I am excited about this bush and plan to give it one of only a couple really good spots left in my yard. I don’t want to devote a nice spot to a tree that struggles to survive here.


My experience with mulberries is they leaf out too early. They aren’t early leafing compared to other things but are very freeze sensitive once they do leaf.


So if they leaf out early and get frozen do they loose their crop for the year or is it more serious and damaging to the tree?


definitely inaccurate. They should remove that post. A broader zone may encourage more people from colder regions to buy the trees they are marketing, but for the consumer it is unfair, and outright wrong, especially if the consumer has limited funds/space/time and looking forward to the specimen for that ‘one special spot’ in one’s yard. Worse is that it sets one back at least a year of waiting … nothing more irritating than finding it dead come spring…

my other qualm is that if posting it as cold tolerant to zone 4, it could also be an impostor. A white or red mulberry/hybrid being marketed as a black. Could you post a pic of your specimen? Especially a close up of the stems and buds

as a disclaimer, however, and i admit— i have never grown morus nigra’s in canada, but the fact that it is unheard of there, and not even in the relatively warmer but still blizzardy and wet northeast usa, one could deduce it is not fit for those regions, because it is a country-mile ahead of other mulberries in desirability.

will post pics of mulbs later.


My Illinois fruits on new growth so a freeze shouldn’t be a problem.


if it is a nigra, it may be lethal. Albas and rubras are more resilient, but fruiting may be compromised. Thankfully, nigra’s are wiser to late frosts than alba’s. Nigra’s leaf out much later in the year.


I agree. The difference between zone 7 and zone 4 is huge, but I just double checked and that is what the webpage says. Bay Laurel

I don’t think it is an impostor. The tree’s tag says LE Cooke, states it is Black Beauty, and that it is hardy to zone 7. (which matches the info on the LE Cooke webpage LE Cooke info )

Given that I am in zone 7 I just hope it is truly hardy to zone 7…


I wonder if these new to us mulberries will cross into the mix we already have . Bloom time may be a factor . Could produce some interesting mixes . i like the descriptions of some of the new ones but I am in zone 5 .


i agree, zone 7 sounds more feasible compared to zone 4. Anyway, here are some pix.

superimposed branches of black mulberry, jujube, and peach at this time of year. The still-dormant black mulberry (blurry at foreground), then dormant jujube(upright branches further back), and peach (already flowering branches farthest back)

close up of black mulberry growth habit(tortuous branches with very dark buds)

white mulberry, already rousing at this time with swollen/green buds.


What is the recommended procedure and time for grafting (non-nigra) mulberries? We’re still in the polar vortex here, but graft time isn’t that far away, and there are a few interesting local plants I’d like to try topworking onto the many volunteer rootstocks in my yard.


pretty much the same for many deciduous trees–rootstock sap should be flowing, although in warmer areas, it might also work just fine prior to, since most mulberry stems are naturally milky- sappy even in relatively cold weather


I get good success when waiting until they are already leafed out and have failed when grafting at first growth.


Have you figured out what mulberry you have? I, too, bought a “Persian” mulberry from Willis Orchard in 2009. Even though it has grown into a 20 foot tall by 20 foot wide tree, it has produced just a couple of fairly bland fruit; producing mainly male flowers. I am getting impatient and have been considering cutting it down and planting something different. Have you gotten and fruit from your tree?


Wow…you message is depressing and is further evidence that we’ve been duped- just as other have suggested. TO me, this is worse than a nursery mislabeling a tree- though that is careless and a bad thing- I’d like to think its usually an honest accident or a lazy employee who does it. What is happening with these mulberries seems a bit ore sinister to me. I’ve seen people say they have called and questioned Willis, only to be told “oh no, its what you ordered”. After all this time, and probably even more calls, they must realize what they are doing. The fact that yours was a Persian and mine a black beauty makes it look even worse for them. It seems like they are just growing a bunch of native persimmons and sticking whatever order they have on them. I have no proof of this…just basing it on observations and comments from you, myself, and others here.

TO answer your question, I still have no idea what mine is, but its 3 years old, over 10 foot tall, extremely bushy/vigorous, and it has mostly leafed out already this year with no signs whatsoever of flowing/fruiting. Like you, I’m extremely disappointed and frustrated. I don’t know how hard mulberries are to graft, but I will likely top work mine next year if I can find some kind soul to help with some scion wood.

Good luck with yours. If you contact Willis I’d sure like to hear what they tell you!


The fact that you’re getting males looks even worse. That implies to me that they’re not even grafting on the wrong variety accidentally; it sounds like they may just be shipping seedlings. That goes well beyond an honest mistake.


Now I just got mad. Don’t ask me how I could be so dumb to have never thought about this or noticed this, and keep in mind when I got my mulberry it was one of my first trees, but after reading your comment I went out and looked and I am 95% sure my mulberry tree has never been grafted…suggesting it probably is a seedling! Again, I’m no expert, but I closely examined the bottom of my tree is there is no buldge at all, no difference of any kind in bark appearance from below ground on up (I dug down a little to see it I’d accidentally buried the graft union). I don’t think its there. As you said, that’s well beyond an honest mistake if I’m right. wow. I hope it was just a perfectly done graft that left no scar or bulge, but I’m doubtful!


It’s “buyer beware” out there, guys.

Good thing we have this forum, so we can be enlightened!