3

I have 3 mulberry trees that are over 30 years old and have never fruited. They were purchased from a nursery in sets of 2 (one died within a year) and we were told at the time of purchase that there was one female and one male for cross pollination. Obviously we were misinformed since we have never gotten fruit from any of the trees.

My question is does any one know where I can get some scions from fruiting trees so I can graft them onto my trees to eventually get some berries?

1
2

Hmm, well I'm confused and clearly, so is the nursery you bought from. Mulberries are self fertile, in other words, they do not need a partner in order for pollination to take place, each tree carries both male and female flowers. These are rather inconspicuous, and may not even be noticed if there are few of them.

I don't know what part of the world you're in, but mulberries do require a sheltered, warm position, so against a wall, out of cold winds, and preferably not planted in colder regions at all, or they won't flower, or will flower but the cold/frost kills them before pollination and no fruit forms. Which might be what's happening with yours... have you ever seen any flowers on any of your trees? Come to that, are they actually Mulberry?

5
  • "Are they actually Mulberry?" Good point! – kevinskio May 11 '14 at 16:08
  • Most varieties of mulberry are not self fertile. – J. Musser May 16 '14 at 4:01
  • @jmusser - can you name the source for that statement 'mulberry are not self fertile' please... my sources are the RHS Encyclopaedia, the RHS website, Reader's Digest Encyclopaedia, and a fruit tree nursery by the name of Keepers in the UK... – Bamboo May 16 '14 at 16:34
  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morus_(plant) has a list of varieties. I googled many of them, like 'Is morus nigra dioecious or monoecious?' And found that most of them were dioecious. – J. Musser May 16 '14 at 21:31
  • @jmusser - Thanks for the reference, and dear oh dear, what a mess - done a bit more research (I don't really trust Wiki) and it appears you're right - mostly its down to horticultural confusion between species, it seems, but certainly, in the UK, a Morus that isn't self fertile is unheard of. Jolly glad I live here and not in the States, where there there's clearly a problem... apparently, its even possible for some 'mulberries' to change sex... – Bamboo May 18 '14 at 10:47
1

With trees of that size, grafting will not bring good results. The trees will sucker around the new scions even after they take, and it will be a constant battle to keep them under control. If the nurseryman said they came in pairs of male and female trees for pollination, I would assume that they are a monoecious species. Sexing young trees isn't always accurate, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if you have three male trees. You may have to have a certified arborist/tree care professional have a look at them to make sure.

Other things that make Morus species flower less are:

  • Low light levels (like being under large over-story trees, or between close buildings)
  • Way too much nitrogen (they will fruit in very nutrient-deprived soil, but don't like much nitrogen)
  • Very wet soil
  • The bacterial blight Pseudomonas syringae

None of these things should completely stop a mature mulberry from fruiting. I think you probably purchased black mulberry (Morus nigra), which is a very common monoecious species. If you find that this is the case, your problem will be solved by replacing two of the male trees with females. Try to find a reputable grower that knows what he's doing. That will keep you from another thirty years of wasted time.

3
  • Source for your statement regarding mulberry not being self fertile, please... – Bamboo May 16 '14 at 16:38
  • I used to live next to a Morus nigra- it always had fruit on it every year and there were no other mulberries in the local area within several miles of it- being said I have never heard of a mulberry being monoecious ever in all of my 40 years of being the industry? please state the source of you information... – olantigh Jul 15 '17 at 20:34
  • We have only two females on our three acre lot. The other 10 or so are males, and don't bear fruit – J. Musser Jul 15 '17 at 20:52

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.