How to train/prune a mulberry bush into a proper tree?

isis_21September 24, 2012

Hi All,

I have a black mulberry bush/tree which I planted in the garden about 18 months ago. It's now approximately 2 metres tall. I bought it as a tree, but it looks like a bush, with several branches radiating out from a central point/stem in the ground.

I would like to grow this plant as a tree, but at the moment it has no single stem/trunk. Do I need to prune it myself for it to take on a tree shape or will it eventually start looking like a tree on its own?? Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated as at the moment I've no idea what to do with it. Thanks! :) Anita

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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)


Or we could just switch trees lol. I have a black mulberry here that insists it wants to be a tree even though I want it to be a bush. If it has multiple stems coming from the ground you will have to cut the extras and just choose one to be the trunk.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 7:20AM
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alan haigh

Choose the most vertical branch and remove the others, either completely, in very early spring, or gradually, with a lot of summer pruning. If needed, use a piece of rebar or other stake to keep the chosen branch straight and vertical and remove all branches more than a third the diameter of the trunk (that is branches coming off your chosen branch) at point of attachment to maintain vertical growth (apical dominance, which you can look up).

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 7:21AM
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armyofda12mnkeys(7a, Philly, PA)

You may want to look at see if the nursery provided you a grafted mulberry tree.
If it has stems coming up from the ground it may be from the mulberry they used as a rootstock which I think I read is usually bad (like Russian mulberry rootstock I think?). In other words, if its grafted, get rid of those other stems coming up from the ground anyway. and keep the main trunk/stem that the plant came with.

If its not, then just pick strongest growing one as the main trunk (and may want to train/tie it upwards along a wood stake so it grows very straight, and get rid branches you want later on [I forget when to prune, since mulberries 'bleed' white stuff. You can google it.].)


    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 12:06PM
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