The sweet and tart, mulberry fruits are rarely available in the market due to their short shelf life and also the leaf harvest to feed silkworms don’t allow the fruit business to thrive. So, it’s a good idea to grow them in your garden or yard. But what if you don’t have enough space or you live in a freezing cold climate? In that case, growing mulberry in pot is the one option you can try. And here’s all you need to learn to do this!
Information about Mulberry Tree
The mulberry tree is a small to medium sized deciduous tree or large shrub. Some cultivars exceed the height of 30 feet easily but the tree can be trimmed, and height can be managed.
The cultivars vary according to the climates– Temperates, subtropical or tropical; and it is usually grown in Mediterranean part, South-East Asia, North America, Australia, Northern Africa and the Middle East.
Getting a Tree
Don’t start to propagate a mulberry tree from seeds. It is difficult, the germination rate is low, and the tree will take years to fruit if grown from seedlings. You’ll have to wait for 5-9 years for fruits, and it is also possible that seedlings you’ll grow may remain fruitless (male mulberry trees). So the best idea is to buy a grafted tree from a reputed nursery, NEARBY. This way you’ll get a self-fertile mulberry plant, and it’ll start to fruit in a year or two after planting.
Choosing a Pot
Often people directly plant the fruit trees or shrubs in large pots, which is not right; this way the plant start to grow its roots rather than focusing on the growth above. START with small containers. For example, choose a standard 5-gallon pot (12 inches wide and deep in size) or a little bigger 7-gallon pot (14 inches deep and wide) and upgrade to one size bigger pot each time when you see the plant is getting root bound. Later increase the pot size to 15-20-25 gallons, depending on the space you have and the cultivar you’re growing.
Mulberry Tree Care
- Fertilize: Apply fertilizer moderately! During the start of growing season, you can spread the granular balanced fertilizer over the soil or feed the plant with balanced liquid fertilizer in a regular interval of 7-10 days. You can also spread a layer of well-rotted manure or compost over the top surface of the pot. Regular feeding of compost tea is also a good way to ensure optimum growth.
- Pruning: Basically, in containers, you don’t need to care much about pruning than the mulberry tree growing in grounds. The best time for scheduled pruning is when the tree is dormant and not growing (in winter). You can also prune after the fruiting season ends. Slight pruning and trimming of the dead, damaged, diseased, and crossing branches can occasionally be done or at the time of requirement anytime. In tropical areas, the pruning is done after the end of summer, right before the rainy season begins.
- Mulching and Covering: As you’re growing a mulberry tree in a pot, you don’t need to worry much about the freezing temperatures in winter. Below USDA Zone 7, mulching over the top surface of the soil is important to insulate the roots. If you’re keeping your pots in an exposed spot, cover them with bubble wrap. Mulching also resists heat in summer, so a top layer of mulch is a good idea for a mulberry tree growing in a warm climate.
- Pests and Diseases: In diseases, mildew, leaf spot, and root rot can be a problem. By ensuring proper drainage and avoiding over watering, you can prevent root rot. In pests, thrips, white flies, mealy bugs, spider mites, and scales may affect the growth. However, these pests can easily be outnumbered and eliminated as you’re growing mulberry in a pot.
Contrary to the name of the type of color of their fruits, some mulberry varieties bear fruits in purple to dark red or black colors, when fully mature. So, for the best flavor wait until the fruits ripen on trees completely before picking them.
Depending on the cultivar you’re growing, the mulberry fruits ripen from late spring to late summer.
Source: Balcony Garden Web