Black Mulberry – Morus Nigra – Tree Friend
THE BLACK MULBERRY TREE
a) Average expected life of tree, in years, from sprout to death (approx. numbers)
The Black Mulberry Tree can expect to live within a range of 25 to 50 years, and some varieties of Mulberry have been known to live longer (up to 100 years).
b) Years until trees first fruit (i.e. some trees fruit within a few years, others can take decades)
It can take up to 10 years for a Black Mulberry Tree to produce fruit from a seed, although this time period is less if planted from a sapling.
c) Season of year when productive tree fruits (i.e. Summer, Autumn, Winter Spring or combo i.e. Su/Au)
The fruit of a Black Mulberry ripen during the summer and can be harvested during the mid to late summer period.
d) Expected or average number years tree expected to fruit for once it begins. (ie year 8 to 20 = 12 yrs)
If the Black Mulberry tree can expect to bear fruit after 10 years, and live to an age of between 25-50 years, then the average number of years the tree is expected to fruit is somewhere in between 15-40 years.
e) Country/area of origin
The Black Mulberry is known to have originated in South Western Asia growing in Mesopotamia and Persia, and more recently in many middle eastern countries. It was brought to Europe by the roman empire.
f) Average annual rainfall in area of origin
The average annual rainfall in the Mulberry’s area of origin (Persia/Iran) is about 1000mm to 1500 mm, although the tree can survive in slightly drier regions.
g) Latin name of tree and family
The Latin name for the black mulberry tree is “Morus Nigra” and is a member of the “Moraceae” family.
h) Any other products, benefits, useful or interesting facts about of tree:
The Black Mulberry Tree has a variety of products and beneficial uses including;
- Edibles berries
- Leaves have been used for tea in parts of Asia (Korea) as well as the bark being used in natural medicines.
- Leaves have also been used to feed silkworms (although less successfully with the Black Mulberry variety).
- The leaves can also be used as animal fodder – bees, cattle, goats, pigs, rabbits and some chickens.
- The wood of the tree has been used in handicrafts, cabinet work, hockey sticks.
- Small branches have been used in weaving including being made into baskets.
The Black Mulberry can also be used for a variety of other uses that benefit the landscape and ecosystem including:
- Being an effective method of controlling erosion
- Large enough to provide street side shade and green space,
- Can be used as hedging and windbreaks
- Can be grown on wastelands and also be used as a soil fertility improver
- The tree is drought tolerant, and fast growing providing a source of wood.
- Providing shelter for biodiversity and small animals – birds, squirrels.
i) Height, width and shape of tree at maturity.
The black mulberry grows between 8-15 metres high, and between 10-15 broad/width during maturity – some can occasionally grow a little bigger.
The black mulberry has a spreading, rounded shape to it which is almost domed. It can have a dense and course canopy and can grow from a single trunk or multiple trunks. The estimated trunk diameter can range between 1 – 1.5 meters.
j) Challenges or special requirements, such as needing other varieties in order to fruit.
The main challenges associated with the Black Mulberry Tree relate to problems caused by fruit dropping onto surfaces (or being dropped by birds and small animals) and staining them, as well as the size of the tree itself needing a large area to grow in and therefore not being suitable for small gardens.
The tree’s pollen has in a few minor cases been blamed for irritating allergies related to hay fever.
Fruiting is relatively easy as Black Mulberry trees are generally wind pollinated and do not require cross-pollination.