[NAFEX] Mulberry for Canadian border?

David.Maxwell at dal.ca David.Maxwell at dal.ca
Sun Feb 3 14:12:51 EST 2008

On 2 Feb 2008 at 9:10, Jim Fruth wrote:

> Ernest Plutko wrote, "I wish I could
> grow a mulberry tree on the Canadian border."

I used to live in Dundas, Ontario, at the base of the Niagara escarpment, and 
perhaps 100 miles north of the border.  In our back yard was what we were told was 
"the largest mulberry tree in Ontario", as well as a second smaller tree on the edge 
of the property (both morus alba).  The big one was, as I recall, 155 inches in 
circumference, shaded virtually the entire back yard, and never bore until my 7 year 
old son, in burst of agricultural zeal, fertilised it with a newly acquired gadget which 
delivered liquid fertilizer to the root zone through a long hollow metal rod.  Bad idea; 
now we had not one but two trees dropping huge quantities of dark purple berries 
all over the lawn for us to squish as we walked into the house, staining everything.  
We tried spreading tarps under the trees to catch the berries, but the sheer size of 
the darn things made it impossible to catch all the berries, and we resigned 
ourselves to having everything stained purple for weeks every fall.  The berries 
themselves were edible, but no more.  I certainly wouldn't grow these trees for the 
berries.  We were told that these trees had been planted in the 19'th century as part 
of an attempt to establish a silk industry - the mulberies were to feed the silkworms.  
As far as I am concerned, they are welcome to them.  As a fruit-bearing species 
they are a bust - the berries are most unappealing, and as the tree grows out of 
reach they become impossible to harvest.  But if you want to feed silkworms, or just 
have an impressive shade tree, (starve the darn thing so it doesn't fruit), they can 
readily be grown in the Niagara region of Ontario.

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