Rooting mulberry cuttings outside over winter

fabaceae_nativeDecember 8, 2012

I keep encountering sources that say mulberry can be rooted with hardwood "truncheons" which are large cuttings that you stick directly in the ground during the fall/winter where the plant is to grow.

It has not worked at all for me so far, but I've decided to try again with the same cuttings that rooted very easily for me last year in pots inside.

I'd love to hear about other folks' trials, and will certainly post again in the spring if these work for me...

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Bradybb WA-Zone8

I have a young Wellington that grew about four or five feet this year.I'm going to try to propagate some cuttings from it.What is the best method(s) for success?
I also have two small White Russian Mulberries in pots and want to try to graft the Wellington to them.Does this usually work well? Thank,Brady

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 11:22AM
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I've planted probably 100 or more truncheons of M.rubra and several M.rubraXalba hybrids this fall - ranging from pencil-size cuttings, either with a heel/hammer of 2-yr old wood to 4" diameter limbs.
Will they root? I dunno - I've had no success in the past getting cuttings of Illinois Everbearing stuck in the ground just at the break of dormancy; hoping that I'll have some success with these. Hope to be able to give a favorable report, come spring, but not holding my breath.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 12:14AM
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Would it help to cover them with leaves? that would at least keep the moisture levels right, and improve rooting underground due to increased temperatures.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 9:44AM
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I had tried almost every Spring with no luck at all, both rooting and grafting. I heard that it is easy, but not for me. They usually start with new shoots, but then withered later under summer heat. So I am quite interested in other's experience on this. The reason I am interested in this was there are some very good quality mulberry in the wild that is much better than ordinary wild mulberries that is worth propagating.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 1:10PM
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Some seem to root easier than others last year I tried the following cultivars from small cuttings. I was successful with Shangri La (3of4) and Middleton (4of4) but no success with 4 each of Kokuso No. 20, Geraldi Dwarf, Pakistan, and no success with a bunch Illinois Everbearing from my own trees either. I was successful grafting with a basic bark graft, but foolish in grafting them on low branches and the deer broke some off. I had planned on trying to air layer the grafted branches as most don't seem easy to root as has been noted.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 1:37PM
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Wow, I guess there are more people trying this than I thought... thanks for the replies.

I also tried in vain for several years to root hardwood cuttings from various mulberry trees in pots inside. Then last year I collected a giant "water sprout" which was much thicker than the pencil size which is so often recommended in the literature, but more like finger thickness. I also used much longer pieces, over 12 inches. I got 100% rooting success with pure perlite in gallon pots covered with a clear plastic dome. I had them in my sunroom on a seedling heat mat for the colder nights.

It may just have been the particular tree I collected from, but I'm betting the large size of the cuttings, perhaps combined with the heat mat, made them root well. In any event, I collected from the same tree for this current experiment, using mostly same year large shoots, along with one or two with older wood. I also did mulch heavily with straw as glib suggested.

I hope one of us at least has some success to report this spring!

ps. apparently this type of rooting cuttings is routinely done by some people with pomegranate, and an appropriate soil mix is first put into the ground where the cutting is to go (see the recent post about rooting pomegranate on this forum)

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 2:46PM
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happyballz(9A/B Valrico,Florida)

I tried rooting my Pakistani and Lavender/White Mulberry I got from RaintTree Nurs. solely as an experiment.

I just stuck 5 pencil-diameter, 3-4 foot long sticks with root hormone right into the ground, about little over 2 months ago. Out of those 4 lavender/white and 2 Paki sticks I only have one white that I think will make it as it actually started to put on leaves while all other sticks are barren.

Does not surprise me as I heard Pakistani one is harder to propagate.
Not exactly scientific experiment... Definitely better than just throwing the pruned wood away and not using it for anything.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 11:11AM
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Since rooting Pakistan m/b sticks is so much a waste of effort, it may be better to just toss out that idea. Air layering compartments rigged up on the many verticle suckers during the Spring/Summer is productive. Many suckers will generate a set of roots inside the compartments, but some will likely pass on the opportunity. If you set the unit above 2 or 3 buds on the sucker, after clipping off the (hopefully) rooted branch, the buds below will form new replacement branches for future fruiting or for more air layering.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 7:26PM
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I've tried rooting mulberry cuttings in water. They leafed out and then died. No roots sprouted.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 12:20PM
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I went and picked cuttings from one of my favorite local wild mulberries. The weather is so mild that sap was running (it is quite milky), hopefully they will still be viable. I have put all 20 cuttings in a large ziploc bag, filled with moist compost, and put the whole thing inside an ice chest with a 13W lamp for heat (and light if leaves start developing). Temp. inside the chest is about 77F now, I will let you all know how it goes.

Should I also get cuttings from a male, since I will transplant any success in an area without mulberries? And what do nurseries do when they sell mulberry trees, do they have a grafted male branch in there?

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 9:05PM
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I've often heard that the native M. rubra is especially difficult to grow from cuttings. The one success with rooting hardwood mulberry cuttings I had was last year when I put the cuttings directly into pots with bottom heat and bright light indoors, as mentioned above.

In terms of pollination: many named cultivars are self-fertile, some bearing seedless fruit, so nurseries don't have to do any grafting of male branches. The other thing though is that fruitless male mulberries have been planted to a huge extent in American cities, especially in hot climates, as shade trees, so there is usually plenty of pollen out there.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 9:47AM
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I contacted starkbros and their zone4 Illinois everbearing mulberry is rooted cuttings, not grafted. This is good news! I found an article that has information about rooting these, it appears to be relatively difficult, but doable.

I think air layering would work well for this species, check out this video...

You an order the clam shells here, currently on sale. I havent used them, but I did order some to try.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 11:16AM
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Well hopefully it was grafted when I got mine from Starkbros about a decade ago, because that is what I blamed for suffering and finally dying from -20F winter. So I bought a rooted cutting of it from Burnt Ridge last year.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 9:03PM
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