I Love My Mulberry Tree

Beautiful little mulberries from our tree
Beautiful little mulberries from our tree

Our mulberry tree is absolutely loaded with berries this year, after not bearing a single fruit last year. I thought that meant it was dying but clearly it wasn’t. I was surprised to see a fellow birder mention the same thing about his mulberry trees recently, so I wondered if it was normal for mulberry trees to fruit in alternate years or something. I haven’t found the answer yet, but I’m tickled to see such an abundance of the pretty berries right now.

Mulberries in various stages of ripeness
Mulberries in various stages of ripeness

This tree is beside our deck and has some branches that hang down right beside the patio table, so I can literally reach up from my chair and grab a berry. If I’d only known we were going to have such a crop I might have been able to figure out something to do with them. As it is now, they’re providing delicious nourishment for the wildlife in our yard, as these photos show.  I keep hoping that my favorite birds, the Cedar Waxwings, will show up to feast on them, but they haven’t been here yet. The Goldfinches were the first ones I noticed partaking of the bounty, even before the berries were ripe:

Goldfinch eating mulberries beside our deck v2
Goldfinch eating unripe mulberries

And almost as soon as some of the berries hit purplish maturity, they started dropping to the deck. Well, they had a little help from this guy, who rattles the entire limb when he wants a snack:
Squirrel coming down for mulberries (800x533)

Here’s the result of his visits:

Berries on deck!!
Berries on deck!!

Just before dinner last night I caught this guy and his friend sneaking around behind me:

Chipmunk eating mulberries
Chipmunk eating mulberries

And while I was inside making dinner I looked out and saw yet another visitor grabbing a snack:

Groundhog having a mulberry snack
Groundhog having a mulberry snack

It’s funny, when I was searching the web to find out about the fruiting frequency of the tree I found that mulberry trees are not loved by everyone, primarily because they can stain anything that touches them. And I came upon this advice on a web forum: “Mulberry trees can get HUGE! They attract birds, so don’t plant one near your house/car/walkways.” Hmmm, that’s one of the best reasons to plant one, if you ask me. Bring on the birdies!


    • Thanks, Connie. They’re cute little critters, but they can do a lot of damage. In fact, when we moved into this house we were surprised to find electric fencing strung all along the underside of the deck. Probably because of this guy, who lives under the deck. We disconnected the electric fence because it seemed cruel to me. I hope I don’t regret that one day!

      • I once found new baby bunny rabbits under a pine tree in my yard. They were so cute, but then a cat found them and I never saw them again. I guess I would not want an animal doing damage to my house either. But he is cute.

    • Beautiful Kim!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Jo and I just bought a new Home. Our last one. I finally get my Gardens back. Vegetables and a seperate wildflower and fruits. I would love to get a cutting from such an old and well set Mulberry tree as yours. These older trees are the best. I have some 25 year old Black Raspberry bushes also, to start. Again…..these older trees and bushes have faced the time test and are the best. This is suppose to be one of the best Berry & Fruit years we have seen in a long time. Hot…..lots of rain. May I get a cutting from you before Fall sets in so it will have a chance to set itself before Winter comes? I will name the tree after you. YUP…..I name all my plants, trees and bushes. Most of the Flowers too. Also open to any suggestions you may have. 🙂

      • Sure, Rob, that would be fine. I’d prefer to wait until the berries are gone, but remind me in a couple weeks and we can set up a day for you to come over and take a cutting or two. Congrats on the new house, by the way!

  1. Loved the pictures! I have never lived near a mulberry tree, but my brother has them near where he lives in Chicago and dislikes them because of their “stain anything that touches them” issue. I wasn’t sure if you eat the berries, or just the wildlife??

    • I’ve eaten a few of them, but they don’t taste particularly good to me. There are recipes for mulberry jam, mulberry sorbet, and more out there though. If I had all the equipment to make jam I’d probably give it a go, but it seems like a lot of work in a hot kitchen!

  2. Great post Kim! We had mega mulberries last year, and none this year. I’m not a fan of mulberries myself, but I am happy the wildlife love them! I’m so disappointed in my blackberries this year. It’s the first year they really went to town – the canes are loaded. But, the deer and birds have been eating them before they even ripen. So much for my idea about thornless blackberries. I’ve made it easy for the early birds and night critters to get all that they want with little trouble! LOL

    • Yeah, I was surprised to see the birds eating unripe fruit too, Lori. Maybe you’ll have to fence off a portion of the blackberries next year — some for you and some for them. Seems fair to me…. 😉

  3. Hi Kim! As to the frequency of fruiting. Most fruiting trees will at some time experience a phenomena called “alternating”. That means when a fruit tree has a more than bountiful harvest in one year then it is likely to have little to no fruit in the next year. Some apple trees and plum trees have a real tendency to this. If it becomes a problem one can help solve it by pruning or removing some of the fruit before it develops. And as to the thought that the tree might be dying- one possible symptom of a dying tree is massive fruiting. It´s like the tree wants to make sure something is going to survive. But that doesn´t necessarily mean your tree is dying!
    I love that you have all that wild life around. Can it be that you specifically planted your trees and shrubbery to encourage more wildlife?

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