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

Morus: Tardy idiot?

Young mulberry leavesWe started planting Illinois Everbearing Mulberries in our chicken pastures a couple of years ago as future chicken feed.  Despite a lot of neglect, one of the trees from 2011 looks like it's going to make a few fruits this year.

Lee Reich likes to say that the mulberry genus name Morus refers to the plant's tendency to flower late so it's seldom nipped by frost.  Since my grasp of Latin is nonexistant, I'm going to assume he's right.  But is the beginning of April actually late?  Or is my mulberry tree more closely related to the Greek definition of Morus --- "idiot"?

Our chicken waterer keeps our flock healthy with POOP-free water.

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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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I planted my first mulberry tree this spring in a huglekulture pile. It is just a yard tall. Was wondering how long I will have to wait for any kind of fruiting, and I heard that these trees grow very fast under the right contions. Do you know how fast is fast?
Comment by Mona Thu Apr 5 16:49:54 2012

Mona --- Well, it looks like mine may fruit for the first time at one year in the ground. Of course, I won't expect many fruits, but presumably within a few years, it will be bearing heavily.

Ours branched out a bit and roughly doubled in height, I think, during that first year. That's despite my very bad weeding job --- I let it get pretty much overwhelmed last summer!

Comment by anna Thu Apr 5 18:48:20 2012

I live in Illinois, and on my property, mulberries are weeds. Once you get one established, you will probably have them forever. I'd say these things can grow ten feet in a year. I think it is the birds that spread the seed around. Sorry I haven't watched too closely to see how soon they start fruiting.

All that being said, I am looking forward to feeding some mulberries to my hens. I have heard good things about the quality of eggs when the hens have been eating mulberries.

I also use them as an indicator of when the black raspberries will ripen. The mulberries seem to come about a week before the black raspberries.

Comment by RDG Fri Apr 6 19:40:26 2012
RDG --- Yep, definitely a bit weedy, but that's a good trait in a chicken pasture since it means the tree will probably be able to survive chicken scratching without being protected soon. :-) I'll let you know if it reseeds too much. I have a feeling no fruits will survive our chickens.
Comment by anna Sat Apr 7 08:13:24 2012

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