We have a large (25 foot) mulberry tree planted near our property line. It was planted several owners ago and while I would NEVER plant a mulberry tree, I do enjoy watching the birds gorge themselves in summer on the berries. I feed sunflower seeds all year, but the birds sure do rush to eat as many berries as they can when they are ripening. I talked to the neighbor to see how he would feel about me cutting down the tree (I would much rather have something I WANT - like a magnolia or conifer) in that spot, but he was strongly opposed. I assumed he would want it down, as the property line is already over-crowded, but I guess the lesson there is never assume.
So, the tree gets to stay for now. If we put an addition onto the back of our house, though, that tree is coming down. Or, if our dogs (2 corgis and a collie) catch on that the berries are edible, I am going to axe it. I had to move a sunflower feeder because my dogs discovered how tasty those leftover seeds are and it cause some gastrointestinal distress I would rather not relive. They left the berries alone last summer, but that is no guarantee they won't catch on this year.
There are mulberry trees lining many streets around here. It seems that they must have been very popular in the 1950s. These never produce any fruit. Is there a fruitless variety or are they male and female on separate plants.
I've heard that in some places it is against the law to plant mulberry trees because so many people are allergic to the pollen.
ic_conifers: Sounds more like the tree is "foe" than "friend" for you. Just think of all the money you've saved on bird food. :-) When people ask what you've done for the earth, you can mention "The Bird Food Tree". I'm surprised that the sunflowers caused so much distress. Guess the sunflower seeds are more for people and birds then dogs. I just love Magnolia trees, too. Oklahoma lost a lot of beautiful Magnolia tree limbs in the Great Freeze of December 2007. It was sad to see those beautiful trees so broken and battered. I could stand and smell a lemon Magnolia flower for hours; totally intoxicating!
I'm not sure about the fruitless variety but I wouldn't be surprised. Too bad that people are allergic to so many natural things.
I'm really undecided on whether my tree is friend or foe! I think it is more the quantity that my dogs consumed than the sunflower seeds themselves. The feeders are fairly large and very well-visited! No worries, though, I just moved them out of the fenced part of teh yard. I purchase fifty pound bags of seed for $17 at my local grocery store, so I'm not sure that the fruit bearing season of the mulberry tree led to measurable savings : )
I've seen fruitless dwarf varieties - weeping fruitless mulberry trees are popular around here. They are beautiful little trees. I don't know about fruitless full sized mulberry trees, but modern horticulture is amazing, so it would not surprise met at all!