mulberry-pruning

When and Why to Prune Your Mulberry

Many a good gardener or farmer finds themselves intimidated by the idea of pruning trees. But pruning is a necessary step for healthy trees, especially for trees that produce fruit, like the mulberry. Pruning doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult, though; a good trim should require just five or six good cuts to be successful. Add in some basic precautions, and you’ll have your tree trimmed and tidy in no time!

When to Prune Your Mulberry

Your mulberry tree will show some signs that it’s ready to be pruned. These include:

  • All the leaves have fallen off the tree.
  • The tree has dead branches and twigs.
  • Your plant is not growing straight, or branches are tangled.
  • There are no signs of new growth.

While it’s best to wait until the tree has lost its leaves, don’t prune if the temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit; cold weather makes it difficult for the tree to seal its wounds and heal.

One of the best times to prune your mulberry is in early spring, when the temperatures are warmer but no buds or green shoots have begun showing.

The Why of Pruning Makes a Difference

Your desired outcome for the project will determine how you prune, and how often.

Are you attempting to encourage a large, broad, tree to create shade, house birds (and even a squirrel or two), and even provide a place to house your compost bin? If so, you’ll only prune minimally (dead, broken, entangled, or distorted branches) and only every few years.

If your goal in pruning is to maximize fruit production, and keep the berries in easy reach, then you’ll prune annually, with an eye toward preserving the blooms and fruited areas of the previous season. Cut from the outside with an eye toward keeping berry growth in the lower portion of the plant where you can reach it.

A mulberry tree that is overgrowing its space may need a pollarding technique to control size, but it’s probably better to have this done professionally. Incorrect pruning to reduce the size of a tree can result in your tree being damaged and unattractive, or becoming susceptible to disease.

To encourage a large tree to give plenty of shade, you should prune every two to three years. Cut minimally, using a good, sharp, clean pair of pruning shears and tree loppers. Take off any branches or twigs that are dead or broken, remove bent and misdirected branches, and avoid cutting anything over two inches in diameter.