Mulberry trees are one of the banes of my existence. We had a large one on our property that was a voluntary. I am pretty sure it wasn’t planted on purpose. It was big and it was ugly. Its roots were starting to destroy a sidewalk in one place and it was shading out other trees and plants that were much more interesting. When we had the Yew Tree incident, we were able to get rid of the mulberry.
Roots, Roots and More Roots
It still hasn’t wanted to go away. The tree company that took it down ground the stump but there were huge roots. Many of the roots were right where we were going to plant the arborvitae to replace the yew. The tree company knew this, so I was a bit miffed. I dug some of it up myself and then had them come back and finish getting the bigger roots out.
Even so, in a couple of places, a new tree is trying to grow up from the roots and I am having to combat it.
Birds love them and because of that you have to be constantly looking for small mulberry trees sprouting. Frequently under branches and bushes where birds sit and then poop. Get them as early as you can because they put down a long tap root amazingly quickly. They are a fast growing tree and are somewhat unusual in that they not only have a large tap root but they also have large horizontal roots. Most trees have roots that extend about to the edge of the trees canopy if you were to draw a line straight down from it. The mulberry’s roots seem to go further.
History of the Mulberry
There was a native mulberry but others were imported from Europe and other places in 1733 by a General Oglethorpe and later by others who were trying to start a silk trade in the United States. They also liked the tree because it was fast growing and provided lots of fruit.
Farmers found they could fatten hogs with mulberry trees which would grow even on poor thin soil that other plants did not do well on. The fruit is apparently very delicious. I should have tried some before the tree was cut down. Apparently it is not a commercial crop in the US because the fruit is so fragile that it is difficult to pick and transport on a commercial scale. So if you have one on your property or know of one in your neighborhood, next summer try eating some of the fruit.