I’ve been interested in the Geraldi mulberry for a while, hoping I could make other mulberries dwarf.
As this pic from last year shows, it doesn’t. New grafts from 3 varieties grew 5-10’ in the first year, while the Gerardi only grew to 5-6’ in 6 years.
So, this spring, when examining grafts, I noticed something interesting. The Gerardi is chock full of flowers/fruit. I vaugely recall it having quite a bit last year, but I never paid enough attention to see how it compares to the other varieties.
What I found:
1.) Gerardi has many more flowers/foot.
2.) The flower density varies for the other cultivars as well, particularly on the basis of:
- How close each cluster is to the next
- How many flowers per cluster
I measured how many fruit were within a length of 3 cell phones (later found to be 15"):
Gerardi- 88-102 fruit, 3-6 fruit per cluster
IE- 26-27, 4-5 per node
Kokuso- 25-28, mostly 4/node
Oscar- 16-18, mostly 3/node
I measured several branches on each, though I didn’t have the patience to do more than 2 on the Gerardi. I was going to have to take off my shoes to count any higher…
This pic is of the Gerardi. I didn’t take counts from any of the others grafted onto it, under the hypothesis that the low yield may be due to the the others being new grafts. But the Kokuso and Oscar stats come from established trees ( 2013) and a IE graft from 2014.
One would think that all this would be something I notice in the fruit yields. But in truth, I get very little fruit- only the birds know how much each tree makes.
But, if one was to net the trees, Gerardi is better in 2 ways- more fruit per volume and it stays small enough to fit under a net. From my recollection, it doesn’t taste as good as Oscar though (not very space efficient, with fewer fruit per node and more space between nodes). Maybe I need a really sunny year where the tree gets enough energy to make the huge number of fruits sweet enough…