Slow or dead mulb...from bad graft?

I checked on my Black ‘Persian’ Mulberry today and found no progress from the last check, in fact, it looks like it may have regressed. I thought a couple weeks ago that the buds were starting to swell…not now. It also looks like a main branch died…and it looks like the graft is coming undone.
A strange coincidence is that just yesterday someone told me that they had a semi-new (approaching second leaf for her) tree break in the wind, and it broke at the graft, and she said there was what looked like a dowel in the middle of a not well-aligned graft. Upon closer inspection my black Mulberry looks like that to me, though the protrusion may have been a sucker that was removed or ??
The bark (?) was hanging loose around the graft and I moved it a little and made a photo. (The blue dots would normally be touching when the piece was in place but it was just hanging, not really attached.) The branch in the other inset looks dead to me. I didn’t do any scratch test. The graft does not seem right at all to me. Opinions?

Whole plant, with one foot ruler.

Flap hanging loose and ??

I see what looks like live wood near the union. can you scratch that area to confirm live wood?



I went back and thoroughly rechecked the plant. There are some dead branches but, overall, the thing is still alive. What wigged me out the most and got me thinking the whole thing was doomed was the combination of dead branches and the ‘bark’ peeling off the graft area. Well, now I think the peeling bark is some kind of tape still on it; it’s still kind of gooey…dang. The Noobie Curse. :slight_smile:

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I’ve had problems 2 years running with mulberries that simply refuse to leaf out and then slowly die over the spring. Both time they looked a lot like yours. The buds developed, started to swell, and then just withered or turned sappy. The main branch was still alive for a while, but it never developed more buds and cutting it back didn’t save anything. The pruning cuts turned sappy and goopy.

Hmmm…not good. I went around today looking at my various and sundry plants and concluded that a lot of my little trees have experienced something similar but appear to have recovered somewhat, in that the original tops that should have been cut off when first planted have died on their own.
When originally planting my mini-orchard I didn’t get the ‘balance roots and tops’ concept when starting bare-root trees that had been severely root-hacked at the nursery. This has probably been the ‘root’ of my troubles. With an 18" nigra mulberry it might have been a bad idea to do that anyway 'cuz it was so short, plus I would have cut off several years of growth. I opted for an expensive potted specimen and hoped for the best.
With only a couple of exceptions even the most severely died-back units have at least a few new leaves (mostly really low…dang) so I’m hopeful with the mulberry. One weird thing is that most of the problem plants are third leaf with me…second year I can understand but third? We did not have a tough Winter and I’m in Z8.
I’m quite new to this. I came into it thinking, ya plant some fruit trees and next year ya get some fruit and the next year = bonanza…all your troubles are over…bwaaahahahaha


oh yes…i know that concept well…