germination and stratification of mulberry tree seeds

dormantrootsJanuary 10, 2008

Okay I was just wondering if someone could help me out. I've had this mulberry tree in my yard since before I can remember, and before it croaks I'd like to grow some seedlings from it. How would I go about germination?

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Well, let the birds eat some, then try to keep them from germinating EVERYWHERE you couldn't possibly want a mulberry -- they do need the winter cold, and come up the next spring, sort of resembling grape seedlings, if that helps. I have 2 nice mulberries I planted from wild-collected stock with large fruits, and the ones I don't use, the birds sow EVERYWHERE for me -- tons of them grow every spring.

I suspect you could just mush up a bunch of berries, plant in desired spot, and let them grow the next spring.

However, you should know, mulberries root VERY EASILY from cuttings, pretty much about as easily as willows -- just stick cuttings about 2 to 3 feet long, and anywhere from 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter, where you want a new tree, first thing in the spring, keep watered, and they'll root right out and grow. You can use a rooting hormone if you like, as insurance. All of those bumps on the bark are pre-formed root initials, just waiting to grow. So, if you like the fruit of your tree, you can make as many carbon copies as you could possibly ever want -- mulberries by the acre, anyone?

    Bookmark   January 10, 2008 at 11:16PM
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Well I dont know about you. But my tree does not reproduce all over my yard, Maybe it's all the sedum and other plants around it. But I know for a fact I've never seen a seedling from my mulberry tree anywhere in my yard. And I don't want clones. So your saying if I collect a bunch of fruit from my tree mush it all up together and leave it in my in a spot in my yard next year after winter lil seedlings will grow. How about if I took the seeds out of a bunch of berries and tryed germinating the seeds during the summer inside my house would germination work without stratification of winter.

and ps the birdys do eat most of them.. thats why i wanna grow more.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2008 at 9:37AM
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Agree with denninmi that most mulberry trees self seed easily, and pop up everywhere the fruits are carried by birds, following a normal winter in a temperate climate. If your tree does not self seed, it might be reasonable to look at the the possibility that your individual tree does not produce viable seed. I note from your profile that you live in Japan, where many different species and varieties of mulberry have been propagated over the years. Some mulberry trees are parthenocarpic, able to set fruit without external pollination, and you may have one of those, resulting in sterile seed.

Since mulberries are prolific, there should be no shortage of seed with which to experiment. Try scattering some outdoors on the soil surface in fall in a confined area, and at the same time, try stratifying a batch of seed for a couple of months in your refrigerator. You could subsequently try to germinate the stratified seeds in a warm indoor area with plenty of natural light, since light is apparently necessary for mulberry germination. If neither technique succeeds, that may be an indicator of non-viable seed.

Although you note that you do not want "clones", the suggestion of propagating by cuttings seems quite reasonable to me. Propagation of fruit trees from scions and cuttings has been going on for many centuries. If you are happy with the mulberry variety you have, it is difficult to understand why you want to avoid this method of propagation. If the fruit is intended for the birds, they certainly wouldn't care whether a tree was cloned or not. And the tree you are growing now was probably cloned as well.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

    Bookmark   January 11, 2008 at 1:08PM
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