Pruning a Fruitless Mulberry Tree

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Old 01-03-07, 11:26 PM
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Question Pruning a Fruitless Mulberry Tree

Hi Everyone!

I live in Northern California with hot summers and mild winters. I have a very old (probably 50+ years old) in my front yard that has been whacked to the nubs many times over the last several decades. I want the tree to develop strong branches (like trees would normally do in nature) but everyone keeps telling me to whack it back to the nubs again. Can anyone give me any guidance as to why these trees should be whacked back?

Thanks!
 
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Old 01-04-07, 11:25 AM
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Hi Gattina,

It sounds like what you are describing is topping, possibly pollarding.

Pollarding:
http://www1.br.cc.va.us/murray/Arboriculture/Pruning/pollarding.htm
http://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profiles0204/pollarding.asp

Topping:
http://www1.br.cc.va.us/murray/Arboriculture/Pruning/topping.htm
http://www.ces.purdue.edu/vanderburgh/horticulture/extnotes/2001/topped.htm
http://www.coopext.colostate.edu/TRA/PLANTS/index.html#http://www.colostate.edu/Depts/CoopExt/TRA/PLANTS/topping.html

Unfortunately doing this can make for an unstable tree over time. Corrective pruning can be done, but it's difficult to do and will probably be life long for the tree. Most arborists suggest removing such a tree and planting something else.

You ask why this is done and my first answer would be due to ignorance.

Newt
 
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Old 01-05-07, 05:21 AM
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They probably suggest that because Mulberry trees grow like weeds and are quite prolific / hard to kill. Perhaps they feel that the tree is more decorative if it only has 1 years' growth?
 
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Old 01-05-07, 02:20 PM
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XSleeper, if you look at the pictures in the links I gave I can't imagine who would think that would be more decorative, but I suppose that's what makes the world go round.

As stated in the links, some folks do it in an attempt to control growth. It only weakens the tree.

Newt
 
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Old 01-08-07, 09:34 PM
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I agree, it makes for an ugly, hacked up tree until it grows out again. Around here, some people to that to Catulpa trees. What a shame.
 
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Old 11-20-07, 02:05 PM
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Fruitless Mulberry Help Please

My tree is about 3 years old and hasn't done much. It gets leaves, looses them as it should but it doesn't seem to be growing. I clipped off a long branch that was sticking out last year hoping it would promote other growth on the tree but nothing has happened, it is not dead, appears to be healthly. Is it still developing it root system? I was hoping by now would have been a nice shade tree. Am I expecting too much too soon? Thank you. Sue
 
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Old 11-20-07, 04:58 PM
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Hi Sue,

The growth rate of mulberries can be very variable and effected by environmental conditions. If you have a fruitless variety it might grow slower. If the soil tends to be dry or it's in part sun that will also slow the growth rate. Do you know the name of the variety of mulberry you have? The botanical name beginning with Morus would be helpful.

Newt
 
 

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