The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Illinois everbearing mulberry rooting

Callused mulberry cuttingsI sent some Illinois everbearing mulberry cuttings to a reader who wanted to experiment with their propagation, and asked that he give me some details on how his experiments panned out.  Last week, Gary wrote back to tell me:

"On the rootings front, I tried two approaches.  First approach was to just put the cuttings, dipped in rooting hormone, in rooting medium.  I have propagated red mulberry this way in the past without much issue, although more summertime softwood cuttings than hardwood cuttings, but I have just stuck red mulberry hardwood cuttings in the soil and had success in the past.  On the Illinois Everbearing, I had plenty of bud break and early leaf growth but no callus or rooting so far.  I don't think any are going to root in time to survive.

"My second approach was to dip in rooting hormone, wrap in moist newspaper, roll in a black plastic bag and place over a furnace register.  A similar approach that I use successfully for grape vine cuttings.  On inspection last night I have callus starting to form on three of the four I.E. Mulberry cuttings using this method.  [See photo above.]  They are still a few days to a week away from planting in a rooting medium but I am encouraged by good callus formation.

"I'll share another update in a month or so with updates on rooting and with early results from my grafting efforts."

Mulberry budAs a side note, I decided to try my own mulberry experiments at the same time I sent cuttings to Gary.  I soaked them in willow rooting hormone for a day, then put four cuttings in a pot inside and about a dozen straight into the ground outside.

As you can see, one of the cuttings inside is breaking dormancy already, which is actually a bad thing since that cutting shows no signs of growing roots.  On the other hand, a differnt one of the four indoor mulberry cuttings and perhaps three of the outdoor mulberry cuttings show some resistance to the tug test, suggesting they might be growing roots.  I'll post again when the time comes to repot and I know what kind of root growth (if any) comes from my simple propagation method.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Isn't it possible to root live existing branches off of trees with rooting hormone and then cutting the rooted branches from the main structure? If so, what do you think the benefit is of cutting branches clean and rooting them this way?

"Check out my Survivalist Blog at the Clever Survivalist and read daily Survival Guide content."

Comment by Clever Survivalist Blog Survival Guide Fri Apr 5 09:14:52 2013
Clever Survivalist --- You're referring to layering, which some plants do better than others. (Blackberries and black raspberries are awesome at it, and currants, gooseberries, and grapes are pretty good too.) Layering is definitely handy if your plant is low enough that it's easy to peg a branch down into the ground, but you can get a lot more plants by taking cuttings. For example, I can get a dozen cuttings from a couple of branches, and if even a quarter of them take, that's more offspring than I'd get by layering. On the other hand, layering is more dependable and less work since the parent tree feeds the cutting until it grows roots. So, there are pros and cons for both methods.
Comment by anna Fri Apr 5 10:50:20 2013
Any updates on this? Are Illinois as hardy on their own roots as the would be grafted to white mulberry?
Comment by Derek Mon Apr 22 23:51:37 2013

Derek --- My next update will come around the frost-free date (mid-May) when I set out the ones I have in pots and get a look at their roots (or lack thereof). I suspect I'll hear from our reader around then too.

I don't have any data on hardiness of ungrafted Illinois everbearing, but since they're simply a hybrid of red and white, I'd suspect they'd be just as hardy. The species that is less hardy (although supposedly more delicious) is the black mulberry, which I've yet to try.

Comment by anna Tue Apr 23 09:30:45 2013
Comment by Derek Tue Apr 23 09:42:59 2013

I contacted Starkbros directly via email about this. Here is their response...

Dear Derek,

Our Illinois Everbearing Mulberry is from a rooted cutting rather than a graft.

I hope this has been helpful!

Comment by Derek Tue Apr 23 10:40:01 2013

This is worth watching if you are interested in air layering, I bet these would work great to make a few new mulberries, like stated above, it wouldnt be practical for creating large amounts of trees. On sale even...

Comment by Derek Tue Apr 23 10:51:29 2013

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