Why Gerardi is a dwarf mulberry

Phenotype is an individual trait whereas in nature genotypes are formed by populations having the same trait. For more information, consider an online course in genetics.

Is there an online course that teaches about plant growth regulators?

PGR is a general classification for substances that alter normally encoded plant growth. For example Nitrogen does increase growth in plants accordance with a plant’s intrinsic characteristics. As such it is not considered a PGR. However there are natural and human-designed substances that alter characteristic growth in general or specific ways: these are PGRs. Their modes of action and chemical composition vary widely. Hence to study only one is barely “scratching the surface”.

My guess is that you’d like to learn what modes of action are available more than the chemical details. PGR manufacturers such as Abbott AG sometimes offer short courses at regional agricultural conventions. They are of course interested in farmers who will purchase gallons per year.

:+1::+1: Thank you for the info

Cotton is a crop that gets sprayed with Pix to control size but I have never tried it on anything else. I may try it on a mulberry next year.

Isn’t Gerardi supposed to be everbearing?

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What happened with the Gerardi tree. Has it stayed smaller after cutting the grafts off? How big is it (trunk width and height). ordered one of the Whitman Gerardi (it’s on Russian rootstock) and had planned to do a similar experiment but sounds like I shouldn’t after reading this post! Also, has anyone rooted a cutting and if so wonder how it did (did it seem like it grew at about the same rate?)

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Yes, as I cut it back far enough that it mostly died and I removed the last bit of it. I had planted everything pretty close and needed the space anyway. And the productive Sugar Cane/Bok Jo jujube and Golden Russet apple (across the aisle-way) were both much more important to me than the mulberry.

Since then, I’ve grafted it in several other locations. All of them have been pretty sedate growers- maybe 2 feet per year. Nothing like the 10’ growth that other varieties can do.

Even if it keeps growing 2’ every year, you can keep it under control without too much trouble by pruning. At 10’ per year, it is very easy to have it get away from you and need a chainsaw to prune.

I’ve actually got Kokuso and Oscar trees along the North edge of my property that I missed a year on pruning. I’m planning to use a small chainsaw to get them back into the proper size/shape.


Sounds like maybe I should try growing it in a container. Everything is pretty close in my yard. I don’t have any mulberries in my yard for that reason, but had hoped that I could get a dwarf type variety, plant it in the ground, and graft onto it. Don’t think that will work based on your experience. I’m in AZ where it is warm so it might grow faster here.

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Yeah, I think it is dwarf not because of lower vigor, but because of shorter inter-nodes. Not something that will slow down things grafted to it. But, if you are OK with keeping it as is and not grafting to it, it can be a reasonably sized tree. Maybe 7’ spacing with a bit of pruning and 10’ spacing without much pruning. I had it at 5’ spacing (I think, as I’m not going out in the cold to check now :slight_smile: ) and I think I could have made it work if I had never grafted to it.

Maybe, but I would think how much you water it may have a bigger impact.


I spent about an hour today with a (battery operated) chainsaw on those two trees…In places I cut back 10-12 feet of growth.



After (side view):

Note the trees in the background, across the street. They are even further North, and don’t really shade much in my yard at all. But, as you can see in the 1st after pic, the mulberries had started to migrate toward the row of apricots and were actually leaning over them. They’ve now been severely pruned back on that side. I left some closer to the road as a privacy screen, though I did bring down the top and thin it into a bit of a fan shape.

While it could be difficult to get to some of the upper berries without a ladder (not my preferred method), the trees are getting large enough now that I think I can start climbing up them to pick.


Have you tried a Morus nigra? I had both MN and Gerardi in my greenhouse. Gerardi was dwarf for sure but the fruit wasn’t worth growing. MN on the other hand tastes spectacular and stays small compared to most mulberries. You have to be sure to get the real deal in a MN. Some are sold that aren’t real MN.


Here’s my IE last spring after heavy pruning. I’ve since added a Gerardi graft to a low branch and will do more pruning this year.

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I think that’s a great suggestion for AZ. It should be fully hardy there, produce great fruit, and stay small enough. I have a couple of them which have surprised me by actually making it through 4-5 winters here, though neither has grown very much (still 5-6’ tall and pretty narrow). Birds get almost all the fruit, but I had 1-2 half ripe fruit which were pretty good.

Gerardi initially left me un-impressed, but was pretty decent last year. But the only mulberry which has really impressed me in terms of fruit quality is Oscar. I think I’d rather have a bowl of it than blackberries or raspberries. And last year the birds left enough for me that I was actually able to do so (past years I’d only get 2-3 fruit a year). I got a decent amount of several other mulberries (IE and Pakistan being pretty good, a bit better than Geraldi). Wellington and Koksuo didn’t impress me, though I got lots of fruit from both. Neither was bad, but really not worth the effort.

Oscar on the other hand could be. I actually saved a bit of scionwood when I did my chainsaw pruning.

Oscar from last year:


I’m not sure how to tell which is a real MN. Many people sell them but when I look at youtube videos I see that some people end up with larger trees that are obviously not dwarf and others end up with more dwarf trees (so I’m worried about whether anything I purchase will be the real MN). If I end up with a bigger tree, I am worried about not being able to get it out of the ground; that has been my hesitation. I am definitely space limited.

I was given a few cuttings locally from a friend who has a dwarf black everbearing that is still small after 3 years, but the fruit is very tiny (like 1/4 in). One of the local nurseries had a tree in the ground that they called dwarf black everbearing, but it is a much larger tree than my friend’s tree.

I got the Gerardi from Whitmans today; I could graft other dwarfs onto it. It is grafted on Russion Mulberry

I was able to convince the city to let me plant Oscar, Black Pakistani, and Shangri la at the park that is one street away; those were planted in spring 2019 and are doing great (flood irrigated so they are happy).

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You can tell the real MN by the buds. Mulberries are named for color of buds in winter not by fruit color. You want a plant with large black buds. You’ll know it when you see it.

Morus nigra or not? Looking at the buds - General Fruit Growing - Growing Fruit


The fruit looks different too. I couldn’t find any pics of my Nigra, but here is one from online.

Compared to 2 different Gerardi trees:

Not only are the druplets shaped differently, but the Nigra’s fruit seems to not be as shiny. I’ve noticed the same thing on mine. While the Gerardi gets shiny as soon as it starts to get any coloring.


Hmm, I was going to put my weeping mulberry in-ground and buy a second this year. I was considering Gerardi, but maybe I should get an Oscar. Size would be something of a problem, though.

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The shangrila that we planted at the park is delicious. We haven’t gotten much production quite yet … and I suspect it will mostly go to the birds when we do. I don’t recall the Oscar or the Black Pakistani as memorable but the shangrila was (but last year was really the first year for any fruit on them). All of the varieties were purchased at trustworthy local nurseries so they should be the true variety. Their main purpose was for shade … but wanted to try to get fruit trees at the same time.

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In Phoenix, Richard’s Garden Center has a 7 year old weeping mulberry. It may have been from LE Cooke (they could probably tell you if you called them). The tree is about 6 ft tall and doesn’t have a huge trunk. I was just in their yesterday so I could see it when it was dormant. It was loaded with fruit last May and was pretty well spread out (takes some space in width, that is). LE Cooke had two different varieties of mulberry on their site (but I don’t believe they are growing any more … but the info is still up there)

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