[NAFEX] Mulberry emergency surgery
William C. Garthright
billg at inebraska.com
Tue Oct 2 10:53:19 EDT 2007
Well, I did it again. This is really dumb, but I suppose I'd better
'fess up. I planted an Illinois Everbearing Mulberry this past spring,
and it has grown like a weed. It was just a twig when I planted it, but
now it's about twelve feet tall with a trunk maybe three inches in
diameter at the base. OK, it's raining, so I'm just guessing, but the
point is that it's really grown surprisingly big in just a few short
months, even though I tried to do a little summer pruning (not much,
since I'd just planted it).
It doesn't have too many branches, and those it does have tend to be
very long - even summer pruning didn't seem to stop them from extending
further. But one branch (the only one it had when I planted it) is
really huge. In fact, it's bigger in diameter than the main trunk that
rises above it. And it has a narrow crotch angle, though I've been
trying to gently correct that. Yup, you guessed it,... except that I
didn't snap the branch off (it was too big for that), I ended up
splitting the main trunk of the tree in half (for about three or four
inches below this branch).
Have I killed the tree completely? I tied it up again right away -
cursing my stupidity all the while - but I doubt this will work. Since
the split is from the top down, I suppose it's almost certain to get
moisture in it this winter, which will then freeze and pry it open. (We
usually have fairly dry winters, but not completely so.) Whatever
happens, I imagine that this branch will have to go, right? But should I
cut it off now, or wait until my normal late-winter pruning?
This is going to make a horrible mess of the tree, whatever I do. But
maybe it will still survive. And actually, I'd like the tree to stay
small and bushy,... which is definitely NOT what it wants to do. I'd
appreciate some suggestions. Do I let it go until spring or prune now?
And how much? Do I cut off the whole branch, or maybe remove the split
side of the trunk, too? Since the trunk is fairly small ABOVE this
branch, the lower trunk is really split in half. It's just disgusting.
I hadn't planned to keep most of the other branches on the tree. One is
too low, and most of the others are higher than I'd like (next spring, I
plan to prune the trunk below them to encourage more branching). But
this branch was perfect, except for the narrow crotch angle,... and
being so big it nearly overwhelms the tree.
Incidentally, there are a half-dozen green mulberries on the tree, which
I thought was kind of funny for October. I've left them alone, since I
figured they wouldn't take much energy from such a huge tree. Now,
though, might be a different story.
Lincoln, NE (zone 5)
I think on-stage nudity is disgusting, shameful and damaging to all
things American. But if I were 22 with a great body, it would be
artistic, tasteful, patriotic and a progressive religious experience. -
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