[NAFEX] training mulberries

William C. Garthright billg at inebraska.com
Wed Apr 14 23:10:36 EDT 2010

> I put in a bunch of Illinois Everbearing with the intention of harvesting the fruit to make wine.  I really don't want them to turn into full sized trees & have been considering two options. 1. Keeping them headed off at 10-12 foot range or 2. training the central leader horizontal at about the 4 foot level & creating a sort of espaliered hedge.

I gave up trying to keep my Illinois Everbearing mulberry reasonably 
small, and so I cut the tree down last year. I could not believe how 
vigorous that tree was. It was just ridiculous! Good luck keeping it 
small, because I certainly didn't have any luck.

If I were trying it again, I think I'd try pollarding. Or maybe, if I 
had room for a bigger tree, I'd let it get taller, then train it to a 
weeping form. The branches get so long so quickly that they tend to weep 
anyway, but I would have needed a MUCH bigger location for it.

However, I have to ask, why choose the Illinois Everbearing for wine? 
The biggest problem with the tree for me, even bigger than the problem 
of keeping its size under control, was that the fruit doesn't ripen all 
at once. That meant that I NEVER got a ripe mulberry, since the birds 
always ate them first. (And netting doesn't work very well on a tree 
that fruits over such a long period of time.)

Wild mulberries around here ripen all at once, so they produce more than 
the birds can eat. They're very popular with every bird around, it 
seems, but there's still plenty for people to harvest, too. If you want 
a mulberry to feed the birds, the Illinois Everbearing might work pretty 
well. But I'm surprised that you picked this variety for getting a bunch 
of fruit for wine.

Lincoln, NE (zone 5)


Television has proved that people will look at anything rather than each 
other. - Ann Landers

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