[NAFEX] pruning mulberries to a weep
fruitopia at firstva.com
Thu Jun 4 20:45:58 EDT 2009
I've eventually done similarly with my mulberries, albeit with just the summer
pruning. They are SOOO vigorous, I have to cut the heck out of the vertical parts
of the tree. I end up getting very long horizontal-ish branches with lots of
mulberries within reach.
---------- Original Message ----------------------------------
From: Alan Haigh <alandhaigh at gmail.com>
Reply-To: North American Fruit Explorers <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
Date: Thu, 4 Jun 2009 05:57:34 -0400
>It occurred to me to prune mulberries this way because it is the standard
>approach in maintaining oversized very old apple trees. It's about the only
>way to maintain huge apple trees productively without a lot of fuss so I
>tried it on mulberries.
>I've only been doing it for 6 or 7 years and only 3 trees have been under
>this approach for that time so I make no claim of being a mulberry managing
>expert. Right now I have about a dozen IE mulberries that I take care of
>and I'm now pruning them all to this shape because it looks beautiful and
>keeps a lot of fruit within reach.
>It doesn't work quite as well with mulberries as apples because the fruit is
>too light to bend branches downward and I haven't quite gotten into it
>enough to use weights or string tied to a lower point, which would probably
>work real well. I use the weight of the wood itself which will bend down if
>strong upward growth is removed and they grow out far enough.
>I prune once in the winter and once in the summer after the tree has mostly
>stopped fruiting. The summer pruning is to remove all the most vigorous
>upward water-sprout type wood. I always leave all the living smaller
>wood. I begin to prune the trees this way once they get around 12 to 15
>feet high. I try to keep them within about a 15' spread and 15' height at
>the smallest. My own tree has about a 20' spread, and I will give it some
>more room just because I like having a lot of fruit. Even with lots of
>birds feeding on it there's still plenty for me but I could see someone
>wanting to net a tree so they could harvests buckets.
>I create a dome where most of the wood gets plenty of light just as I do
>with apple trees. This keeps the fruit big and the harvests concentrated in
>a smaller area.
>Mulberries create a great site to shoot squirrels early in the season, by
>"Alan, how tall are the mulberries when you prune them to weep, and how tall
>do they end up? I assume we're talking winter pruning."
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