Purple reign


i second that.
@fruitnut 's bigger specimen is more developed than our noirs when our noirs finally managed to nurse the berries to maturity. Full sun this year will definitely help impart a sense of surplus on the rootstoc, as well as hasten ‘seasoning’ of the graft’s stems and future buds. The plumper the buds, the more likely for the berries to mature.
With nigras at dormancy, the buds that are actually thicker than the stems(they are borne on) the more promising the future berries within those buds.

glad that @chriso has the same guarded optimism and sentiments, and can’t add much more to the superb dissertation he just posted!

evidently the last resort !


In reflecting on my M. nigra suffering from extended dormancy, I believe that the one episode of drought damage back in September is the culprit.
I am quoting this from the web article link below:
“Growing periods with little water can lead to decreased rates of diameter and height growth, poor
resistance to other stresses, disruption of food production and distribution, and changes to the timing and rate of physiological processes, like fruit production and dormancy.”

Back then, my tree was still potted and in full sun, and on one hot afternoon, and without a warning, it looked almost completely dry. Unlike the thin fig leaves which will droop and wilt when the tree goes dry, giving a warning sign of impending damage before it happens, the thick leaves of nigras will not wilt but instead, will directly dry out. In trying to avoid overwatering it for fear of root rot, I ended up underwatering it. At the time, and to my great relief, I thought it had recovered. It had lost almost 80% of its leaves, but managed to grow a few new ones before it went into dormancy. In the fall, I planted it in the ground.

I am hoping this will serve as a precautionary warning to others, especially those with potted nigras, to make sure they don’t go dry.


Wow, thats a really helpful warning. I am trying to grow Morus Nigra in zone 7a in the northern part of germany. I have 3 potted nigras as my backups and one small tree planted in the ground this spring (2 named varieties and 2 unknown cultivars). 2 of those trees I grafted myself. All are on alba rootstock. None of them has fruited for me but I hope next year will be the year (in gardening it often is “next year”).

And as you did I tend to have a watering schedule on the dry side for my container plants. Most plants show some stress as a warning when too dry. So it is great advise to be double careful with nigras not showing those warnings.

I have some more alba rootstocks and will try to get extra copies of my nigras to do some experimenting. On the long run I will try to plant them all (an exemplar of all my varieties) in the ground. Since I fear winter damage will occur in my climate from time to time, I am going to graft them low and plant the grafts below soil level to get nigras on their own roots. That way I hope they might sprout from the roots if winter damage might happen.

Do you guys think planting deep is a reasonable plan in colder climates? Some might argue that the alba rootstock can support hardiness but I don’t think thats the case for the grafted part of the tree.


Peak mulberry production happening here right now.
Unfortunately, the two 20-yr old Illinois Everbearing trees are heavily-infected with the ‘popcorn disease’ fungus… so most of the first crop of fruits will be those woody inedible things.
Local rubra and rubraXalba hybrid(Lawson Dawson) are coming on strong. Silk Hope, planted in the corner of the backyard is great!. Stearns is good… just not big enough to produce much yet.
A random seedling (now showing itself to be a rXa hybrid) that I plucked from somewhere in the orchard and planted to provide shade to the cattle corral is proving to be good enough - heavy production of very tasty 2" berries with good flavor balance - that I’ll probably graft additional copies of it onto other seedlings I’ve planted out around the barnlots.


you may be in germany but sure many here would like to hear some updates on your nigras. Hope you keep posting them !

7a doesn’t sound bad for albas but may be lethal to nigras. If the above-graft portion of your nigra is relatively long, planting deep will help insulate a good portion of the graft and minimize dying back at the graft portion.


Thank you,

I will keep posting updates. I really do enjoy this topic since other than here and on Mark’s website there seem to be very limited informations accessable (at least to me) about growing morus nigra. Since I am profitting that much from all that experience, I of course will share all information I can. Maybe someone might find them as useful as I do with all your shared experience.

I have got another question. Looking at the pictures with fruits it seems all the fruit is forming at the base of new shoots. Is that right or do morus nigra also fruit on new wood furter away from the base of new shoots?


@carot [quote=“carot, post:123, topic:5707”]
2 of those trees I grafted myself. All are on alba rootstock.
I had several atempts to graft nigra on alba rootstock without success. :cry:
If You can post some pictures and explain when and how You make these grafts, it will be very helpfull.
Low on the trunk of your bigger nigra tree I see a thin section. Is this a graft union? Looks strange for me. Is this whip-tongue or budding?


Thanks for pointing that out. It is indeed a W&T on the larger plant, a “Persian fruiting mulberry” from Burnt Ridge. The union extends on the back side from the bottom of the tag and on the front side where the trunk gets skinnier and changes color, right at the tip of your arrow. So the scion is slightly out growing the rootstock. I was thinking it was budded right where it branches out but that’s not the case.

The smaller tree a Noir of Spain also BR is also W&T in between those two tags.

Both trees are growing like weeds at the moment and I’m debating if I should tip the branches to force side growth.


generally, no.

come spring, nigras typically develop new stems(usually from the most plump buds of old growth), and on the axils of these new stems, will be berries. The longer and thicker the new growth, the longer the segment of stem which will have berries. You are right about berries being mostly borne near the base, but later in the year, and from the same new growth, additional new growth from buds higher up may produce another crop, but only very sparsely compared to the crop in spring. I could predict older trees may produce considerably more on the second crop, and in areas with longer growing seasons.

glad it is growing fast in your area. It does not happen here, but if i had the same speedy growth, i will probably let the upright stems grow to about 6 feet and only after then start pruning apical growth. When grown under full sun and in our hot summers here , our trees tend to push side growth on their own without the need to prune apical growth of the upright stems, even at a young age.
those specimens we obtained grafted low to the ground do not form upright growth and behave like old growth — bushy. We wouldn’t even know where to tip, as there seems to be no dominant trunk


In the dry heat of Vegas with your poor soil it would take a lot of water and fertilizer to push rapid growth. But I think it could be done. It might not be a good idea but possible whenever I’ve tried with most things.

I don’t want my little trees in pots any more than 6ft tall max. So I’d rather see branching down low.


have been watching the nigras in the nurseries here, and they seem to have been capable of relatively fast growth in crowded/shaded conditions with good irrigation. One of the trees i posted earlier(adjacent to the steel table) is exactly that. Previous rapid growth evident as the internodes were long(for a nigra), and the buds at the nodes were relatively tiny, which means berry production wouldn’t be as promising or as densely spaced as when grown under full sun.

thus said, am curious if your specimens’ laterals would be induced to develop seasoned stems much more quickly, with short internodes and plump buds, after removing the apical buds. Or if some of them (or one of them) would assume apical dominance and shoot up in growth anew.


I am still struggling when it comes to grafting mulberry. This year I had only very little budwood and did 4 grafts in early march. Rootstocks had broken dormancy and started to bud out. That for me usually is a good time for grafting. Mulberry seem to be different. I understand some people have good success grafting early, I didn’t. None of the grafts took. So 3 weeks ago I cut a single bud scion of of a purchased morus nigra graft and did a cleft graft to an alba seedling. That one is starting to grow now. The seedling already had leafed out at that time.

You see I am not out of the woods myself grafting mulberry. But I did have another success grafting late which I didn’t even realise not beeing pure luck until this year. Last year I brought some morus nigra scion wood from a trip to canary islands. It was new wood already lignified. It was this time of the year when I out of desperation veneer grafted those scions to an alba seedling. I only had one seedling at hand last year, so I did graft both scions to the same rootstock. Both took, so I now have a multi variety morus nigra tree… Those grafts are quite ugly, it was my first veneer graft and the seedling even had some bark damage. Now I think it was no coincidence both grafts took. This year in july I will try to propagate those unknown varieties. Then I will cut of the upper part of that seedling to let the lower variety grow on that tree and the upper variety I will transfer on another tree. The grafts now literally sit on top of each other, they cannot last that way. The scions came from big trees full of immature fruit. I’d really like to keep those varieties.
So in short: graft late, would be my advise.
That are the very ugly grafts

I am very happy to have this little tree


Thank You very much! Ugly or not, the most important thing is they are alive and grow!


Katie said…
“Now if it just survives…”

I hope she has better luck in Texas!

I am already seeing first-hand evidence leading to the demise of Morus nigra in hot, wet climates of the Southeast. My Morus nigra is already covered in fungal leaf spot…All my other mulberry plants (except one) have no indication of this disease so far. Most of my mulberries will develop it sometime before the end of the year, but to see it so prevalent so early in the year does not bode well for the slow growing Morus nigra here in Gainesville, Florida. In the short term, I sprayed it with Captan fungicide and threw down extra fertilizer (to try to get it to put out new growth faster than the leaf loss), but I have no interest in keeping plants alive that need that kind of care.


I can’t hit the “like” button on this post. I hate to hear that. Especially in that today we have had showers and have hit 90 degrees. We’ve had a relatively cool spring and are just now getting temps above 90. So far we’ve had scattered rain storms which is great for all our other stuff but sure adds to the humidity. If I can get mine to July our moisture decreases a lot in a typical year. So far mine is still pushing growth and has a few berries yet to ripen…I had one today!


i have seen similar lesions on our nigras, but couldn’t really tell if those were fungal. Probably just mechanical injuries.
incidentally, was wondering if you could perform a microscopic study of the lesions if you still have your microscope and if you have the proper stains.
i hope your tree survives the florida heat and humidity/fungal infection, and same for @k8tpayaso and @fruitnut


That is amazing to me that there are places in the US where fungal leaf spot is largely unknown, since in Florida it causes severe defoliation of mulberries and, especially, fig. I have only looked briefly into the plant pathology involving fungal leaf spot, as to why it is so prevalent in Florida but not perhaps Great Britain and it appears there is a temperature and humidity threshold that must be maintained to breed Cercospora fungus. I am not claiming that this is the main culprit behind their eventual demise, but right now I am not happy at the appearance of my plant. I will let you know if microscopic evaluation gives any further information.


pls keep us posted, here and at your growingmulberry.org website!


I looked at the leaf spots microscopically on my Morus nigra (see pics) and was glad to see that the lesions were fungal and not bacterial. I tried to determine what fungal species it may be, but with a little research found that there are over a thousand types of fungi that attack leaves, so I will leave that to the experts to determine. Cercospora is the genus that comes up most often when researching fungal leaf spots on mulberry, but with over 1200 species in that genus, I will refrain from speculation.


It’s a major disease of sugarbeet. We used to spray sulfur or other products 3-6 times each summer.