Morus nigra – Black Mulberry
Morus alba, – White Mulberry
The Mulberry is a deciduous tree reaching up to 10m, but they can be coppiced or pollarded, every 1 – 4 years, to control size and provide leaf fodder for livestock. The Black Mulberry is considered to have the better fruit, while the White Mulberry is grown for its leaf value (silk worms are grown on the White). They are rapid growers while young but this slows as they age and they are also considered long lived trees. Because the trees are deep rooting they bring up nutrients from the ground and can be grown with crops surrounding them as they don’t compete. The leaves also contain high protein levels for a plant, making them highly nutritious for livestock, including rabbits. While the berries are an excellent chook forage.
The purple-black berries of the Black Mulberry, are produced early summer and are considered delicious, though it recommended that you do not plant near concrete as they stain. These berries can be eaten fresh or used in jams, cordials and winemaking. Young leaves are eaten cooked in many countries. The fruit, bark and leaves, of both species, are also medicinal with many uses, including the treatment of colds, flu, eye infections and toothache. The bark is considered anthelmintic and purgative, it is used to expel tape worms, this could be highly beneficial if feeding branch trimmings to livestock. Fiber can also be made from the bark, dye from the fruit and leaves, and the wood can be used for joinery.
It is also said that if planted next to Walnuts, Mulberries can buffer the negative effects of the Walnut roots on other plants. Underplanting with nitrogen fixing plants will help support the Mulberries growth. Well drained soil is preferred, Mulberries are fairly drought-hardy once established but prefer water during fruiting. They are low maintenance, frost hardy and self-fertile. An excellent choice for a multi-purpose hedgerow, specimen tree, etc.