This is one of the fastest growing mulberries at our farm growing more that 3-5 ft. per year. The high quality sweet fruit is not as insipid as other mulberries and is favored by birds and people. Large lustrous green leaves are very clean and free of disease throughout the summer. The trees are said to be resistant to witches broom which is common throughout the midwest which deforms trees.
The taste and juiciness of this black mulberry is much more worthwhile to grow compared to seedling mulberries you may commonly find. Fruit size can run between 2- 4 inches in length. At this point, we use only the seedlings that survive at the farm location in zone 5. The seed source we use comes true to type and rarely hybridizes. Black mulberries contain 8 percent sugar and are high in potassium and vitamin C. This fruit is best enjoyed fresh. Trees are self fertile usually but two plants are always better than one with mulberries as trees produce male, female and perfect flowers with both parts.
For years Oikos Tree Crops bought a lot of grafted black mulberries from other nurseries. Unfortunately they are not hardy at our farm. In the meantime we experimented with a lot of seedling mulberries. These worked. Black mulberry has a huge range in its native habitat, however most of the selection process was done in warmer climates where it rarely dips below freezing. Of course those are nice selections in warmer climates but not in Michigan and other cold regions of the U.S. above zone 7 or 8. Another aspect often ignored is the delicious nature of the leaves favored by white tailed deer. It is almost as if the trees are calling them for sit down dining when you plant them out in an open field. They are probably the only plant where we have to make a cone of chicken wire to get them above the 5 ft. browse line. But even if they browse them to the ground, the ungrafted mulberry does not mind and resprouts with even greater vigor than before growing up to its planting height in a month or less. That is the beauty of a plant population grown from seed.
|Genus & Species||Morus nigra|
|Seed Source||New York|
|Hardiness||-15 F to -20F|
|Pollination Requirements||Can be both self fertile and require additional pollination with another black mulberry. Generally this species is fully fertile containing both male and female flowers or complete flowers on the same plant.|
|Soil||Adaptable. Rock, clay, loam, sand.|
|Climate||Zone 5ish to zone 10. Minus 20 F did not damage our seed trees so far.|
|Ease of Cultivation||Anyone can grow it in almost any soil and climate. No insect or disease issues. Birds can beat you to them. Trees fruit in 3-6 years from seed. Growth rate of 2-4 ft. per year is common. One year to establish and then you are off to the races.|