We have a wonderful weeping mulberry (Morus alba pendula) (male, so no fruit) in our front yard.

It's massive - probably 15' tall and at least that diameter. The problem is that it's growing larger and larger - every year it sends out a new layer of branches that hang over the previous ones, so the diameter increases. I'd say it's a good 3' larger in diameter than it was when we moved in 9 years ago. The fence used to be visible here, and the sidewalk was clear:

giant tree

At this rate, we won't have a sidewalk in 5 years. What's the best way to get this under control? It's mostly dead wood underneath. We've had a couple arborists out and asked about it and gotten nothing more than "just leave it alone", which unfortunately isn't working anymore!

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    Had another thought that you HAVE to consider and that is lighting! Low voltage lighting. Use matt black spot lights to up light the trunk and branching and canopy. Tricky part is to locate the spot lights so they aren't seen and never shine into a viewer's eyes. The ambient light is PLENTY to see the walkway at night. Never want to see the hot white of the light source EVER. Call your University Cooperative Extension service. The master gardeners WOULD love to do this for a class for free! Make dang sure you get a master pruner this tree is not to be touched or pruned by just anybody!
    – stormy
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 20:03
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    Can you imagine Halloween? A bit of dry ice for effects, Gauzy amorphous shapes that move in the littlest bit of breeze (I'd use a quiet, hidden fan)...Pipe in sound effects, Subtle creaks, crying, and have a piercing scream that would be triggered via movement sensor. Dress up as a scarecrow like someone's Holloween prop. Sit like a floppy doll amidst the pumpkins, cornstalks and hay bale. You could do the scream as they walked past you to your front door. You could hand out candy and toilet paper as well. I love Halloween as much as I love pruning. Grins!!
    – stormy
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 20:17
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    Oh and then there is the giant spider gig as well!! The spider can be just barely seen; long legs, red lights for eyes on a dimmer. All in matt black with just suggested mass, legs. Of course a tunnel of webbing, partly lit and where it is darker and harder to see, dangle webbing down to brush their faces. Use a clicking sound that is sporatic and changes in volume. Also sounds of wind and crickets. If the kids make it to your door, ask them if they saw your 'pet'? Take the kids back and point up into the branches while you use a remote control for the eyes, a leg or two and the clicking
    – stormy
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 20:27

4 Answers 4


Oh my goodness. Do you understand the treasure you have? Find a master pruner to create a covered walkway! How wonderful. If you destroy this tree I will haunt you when I am dead! (Grins). That tree should not be getting taller at all. Weeping trees are two trees grafted together; a prostrate variety of the same species grafted on top of an upright variety. The prostate part of the tree grows laterally, horizontally...not vertically. What was the height when you purchased this specimen?

I am drooling to come prune this tree and make an incredible pergola for your entrance. Are there any covenants from your division that concern 'line of sight'? This should be done in at least two or three prunings, not all at once. Nothing but hand tools should be used! An arch is made but set behind foliage that covers the cuts. Then creating an arched pergola to the house. A really good pruning artist will take a couple of years. And at least teach you how to prune this tree and the necessary steps that follow; thinning to allow more light and pruning to encourage denser growth behind the 'water fall' of foliage to make a denser structure. )


Just cut regularly the bottom green part (just like the ruminants).

But I would also consider to remove the entire tree. (No more, after reading Stormy answer).

  • Now that was sweet Giacomo! I like that ruminant pruned look for willows...but this waterfall over the tunnel/pergola is WOW!! It will show in Sunset magazine or Garden Design or Houze for sure. Winter will be an entirely new look of just branches covered in snow.
    – stormy
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 19:51

Easy way:

  • two stakes with a level line between them and a sharp hedge trimmer

More work

  • pair of pruners to cut the branches back off the ground. Cut back to a leaf node

Just cut it back. Branches growing on the ground may root but will definitely kill off the grass and provide a hiding spot for small animals including skunks, rats and mice if they live in your area. Repeat once a year or when it starts getting too low and that's all you need to do.


I suggest two approaches:

1 Umbrella look

enter image description here

Umbrella haircut

This is simple, you just cut everything below set height twice a year.

2 Pedestrian tunnel

sophora tunnels

The tree in the image above is a Sophora pendula, but it doesn't matter, it is just for illustrative purposes.

You could train (by staking and pruning) your mulberry to 'jump' over the sidewalk, and by doing that you would create a tunnel for people strolling down your street.

Your tree would become a major conversation topic in your area. :-)

The dowside is that in 7-8 years, the tree would start growing in traffic lanes.

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