Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: White Mulberry Tree
Morus alba

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Family: Moraceae (mor-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Morus (MOR-russ) (Info)
Species: alba (AL-ba) (Info)

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

21 members have or want this plant for trade.

Category:
Edible Fruits and Nuts
Trees

Height:
30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

Spacing:
20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

Hardiness:
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Danger:
N/A

Bloom Color:
Chartreuse (Yellow-Green)
Pale Green

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring

Foliage:
Deciduous
Smooth-Textured

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:
Non-patented

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

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to view:

By PaulRobinson
Thumbnail #1 of Morus alba by PaulRobinson

By riversandbar
Thumbnail #2 of Morus alba by riversandbar

By ocimum_nate
Thumbnail #3 of Morus alba by ocimum_nate

By DiOhio
Thumbnail #4 of Morus alba by DiOhio

By jaoakley
Thumbnail #5 of Morus alba by jaoakley

By jaoakley
Thumbnail #6 of Morus alba by jaoakley

By Equilibrium
Thumbnail #7 of Morus alba by Equilibrium

There are a total of 17 photos.
Click here to view them all!

Profile:

10 positives
5 neutrals
5 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Negative coriaceous On Feb 25, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

A very fast-growing weed tree, brought from China in colonial times in a failed attempt to start a silk industry.

The pollen is severely allergenic.

This tree produces very deep shade. The ground in its shade is generally bare, as it produces as many competitive surface roots as a maple. The roots are also notorious for causing damage to foundations. This tree is subject to a variety of ailments, including, very commonly, a highly disfiguring witches' broom. The black fruits are messy and stain. Seedlings pop up everywhere and all too quickly become difficult to remove.

This species is also considered ecologically invasive. Its biggest threat is to our native red mulberry (M. rubra) though hybridization.

I suppose this tree could have uses in the US southwest, where few other trees will grow...

If you must have a mulberry in eastern North America, the native red mulberry (Morus rubra) has bigger, tastier fruit.

Neutral plant_it On May 6, 2012, plant_it from Valparaiso, IN wrote:

It's native to northern China. Due to a lack of natural controls such as insect pests and competitors, some alien plants can easily become established in new areas. Once established, alien plant species can out compete and displace the native plant species. This disrupts ecological processes and significantly degrades entire plant communities. So that's a negative.

On the other hand, this tree produces berries that my wildlife *love*. I've seen raccoons climb the tree and do acrobatics trying to get the last berry hanging from a far branch. Birds love it. Chipmunks eat what falls to the ground.

The verdict: if I was planting a new tree, I would choose a mulberry tree that's native to my area but I'm not gonna chop down the one we have.

Neutral rpc87 On May 29, 2010, rpc87 from Arlington, VA wrote:

there is a tree in my yard that has been there since we moved intothe house, but i just noticed for the first time that it was buddin fruit. The fruit caught my eye because it looked like a miniature noni but I knew that was impossible living just outside of D.C. Upon looking up plants and berries I saw that it resemled a white mulberry but the leaves look different almost like a spade shape. Does anyone have any suggestions on what the tree might be or how to confirm it?

Positive FANNYBUTT On May 11, 2010, FANNYBUTT from Burgaw, NC wrote:

I didn't know what I had in my yard, as many native trees lined my yard beside a river. I admired the many lobed leaves of this particular tree but didn't know what it was until I had the county agricultural agent out helping me identify plants. She said it was white mulberry. Today, I noticed fruit lying on the ground and the tree was full of berries. I got online to see if it was edible fruit. It seems to be. Even if I don't eat them, the birds will, so that's a good thing. I think the leaves are unusual looking. I live in Pender county,NC beside the North East Cape Fear River.
11 May,2010
Carrie Rowe
Burgaw,NC

Neutral Erutuon On Apr 11, 2010, Erutuon from Minneapolis, MN wrote:

I have a white mulberry in my backyard. Unlike red mulberries and (apparently) most other white mulberries, its fruit ripens to white with pink flush. But the leaves are shiny and dark green like other white mulberries.

Negative DisHammerhand On Jun 24, 2009, DisHammerhand from Fontana, CA wrote:

I had the "kingan fruitless' variety in my yard that was planted by a previous owner. It made a wonderful climbing tree for my kids with it's near lateral branching habit. It provided superb shade and made a sort of green 'ceiling' for my front yard.

It's negatives were a thick surface rooting habit. The roots were so big that they were trip hazards and one the root had crack my front porch and another had tilted my garage slab. So we chopped that big root along with some limbs that reached too close to the house. I did not know it until it was too late that limbs larger than 2 inches should not be cut as this introduces rot etc. Though it looked lush it was afflicted with some sort of rot, termites and the trunk was spliting vertically from the weight of its limbs. It need clipping away from my roof twice a year too. And the clouds of pollen it made in spring...

My kids were heartbroken when we decided to take the tree out. I don't blame them: It was pretty but it was too much work and too many problems.

Negative escambiaguy On Dec 5, 2007, escambiaguy from Atmore, AL (Zone 8b) wrote:

White Mulberry is another invasive Asian weed in the southeast. If you want a Mulberry tree, find the native Red Mulberry (Morus rubra).

Positive tropicsofohio On Apr 21, 2007, tropicsofohio from Hilliard, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

i love this tree. its long lived shade tree that grows rapidly(our is growing up to 6 feet a year) and it tastes wonderfull. the 20 year old is nearly everbearing from june to august. not my favoriot tree to step under bare foot.

update
my tree put on an amazing ten feet of growth so far this year!!!!!!

another update...
the tree has added 15 FEET of growth!!! the groth started at the hight of my head to the top of the roof! its so fast. it had some fruit this year. it is about 4 years old!

Negative claypa On Nov 22, 2006, claypa from West Pottsgrove, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

A Weed tree.

This horror show was brought to America from Asia by the British in a foolhardy attempt at a silk industry in colonial times. Since then, it has almost succeeded in displacing our native Red Mulberry, Morus rubra.. It carries a root disease that kills Red Mulberries. It grows fast, and often in awkward places: lawns, gardens, sidewalks, gutters, fence rows, roadsides, next to foundations, edges of forests, and city sidewalks. It's a bread and butter tree for tree removal companie$; it seldom reaches maturity without disease, and constantly drops twigs, branches, fruit, and bird doo. No good near a driveway!

Its only (almost) redeeming qualities are shade, brief yellow fall foliage if you're lucky, and the fruit, which is not as sweet as our native Red Mulberry. Try it, if you can find one. The weed tree has smooth, shiny leaves; our native Red Mulberry has leaves that are fuzzy underneath, and rough or 'sandpapery' on top.

Pull up saplings before they become problem trees.

Positive lkz5ia On Nov 19, 2006, lkz5ia from Denison, IA (Zone 5b) wrote:

Has to be one of my favorite trees.
I don't know what life would be like without this tree.
I've been eating mulberries since I was a little child.
This year I ate more mulberries then I had done in my previous two decades of life.
Where I live, there are numerous mulberry trees, with various shades of pink, white, and purple fruit. The season lasts 2.5 months from mid June to late August. And that fact alone makes it my favorite fruit tree, even though I like fruits that are more tasteful.

Positive edreaadams On Jul 22, 2006, edreaadams from Lucerne Valley, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Great shade tree! I prune mine back every year so I don't hit my head on the branches when walking underneath.

Did a google search on mulberry trees, and the non-fruitbearing ones have aggressive roots that can destroy septic systems and home foundations, so be careful how close they're planted to your house. On the bright side, they are also said to be a great hardwood for burning.

Grow good in the desert (Lucerne Valley), leaves stay very green and don't scorch in the hot, hot sun. I do an overnight drip with the hose once a week.

Positive jaoakley On Jul 13, 2006, jaoakley from Toronto, ON (Zone 5b) wrote:

Admittedly, this tree has many merits, and one glaring fault. The trees can be easily grown from seed, and grow quite quickly when young, but then slowing down before becoming too large, and perhaps unmanageable. The fruits are quite sweet, very good at attracting birds, and more than suitable for human consumption. In fact, I pick several pints from my white mulberry trees yearly, and enjoy birds eating the ones I can't reach right outside my bedroom window.

However, there is one very important fault to these trees: they can be invasive. White mulberry is considered naturalized in Canada, and is often found in waste areas and at the edges of forests. In Canada, white mulberry cannot really be held responsible displacing the native red mulberry, since red mulberry was always very rare in Canada. However, in the United States, if it is at all possible for one to obtain specimens of red mulberry, I would certainly do so.

The first image I have included shows some mulberries next to a ruler for scale. They are about 1020 mm in length, those of red mulberry are about 2230 mm in length.

The second image I have included shows the two of the many leaf variations found on this tree, the leaf on the left has only one small cleft, the leaf on the right has about 6 lobes. Leaves can also be unlobed, as well as having 2-5, as many others have noticed.

Neutral ineedacupoftea On Mar 28, 2006, ineedacupoftea from Denver, CO wrote:

Extremely variable leaf shape. I've seen some so dissected, they look like ferns.
It is planted in my climate (and some cultivars of it) because it is the only non-brittle wooded but very fast growing heat/drought tolerant tree for a desert.

Seedless cultivars (grafted) are wonderful, but the f\ruitful ones have a problem: The fruits are readily eaten by flocks of pleased birds, who commence to land thier well-fed and plump behinds on fencelines and other bird-friendly spots. Anywhere you have birds and a little moisture, there will be a few seedlings of the White Mulberry. These can grow 4-6 feet per year.

I am constantly pulling up young but deep-rooted trees from under conifers and fences for people. They are not extremly prevalent or difficult to kill, but a pain once established. I ahve left one on my fenceline. Mistake? Perhaps.

Negative Equilibrium On Aug 31, 2005, Equilibrium wrote:

The Red Mulberry Tree (Morus rubra) is native to North America. The White Mulberry Tree (Morus alba) is native to China. Morus alba, an introduced species, and its numerous cultivars readily hybridize with Morus rubra and are beginning to naturalize at an unparalleled rate. In addition to displacing indigenous species, Morus alba fruits are messy and its a pain in the rear end dealing with all the weedy seedlings that come up everywhere.

Here are the states where it is reported as being invasive- AR, CT, DC, FL, GA, IA, IN, KS, KY, MD, MI, NC, NJ, NY, OK, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WA, WI

Positive ladyannne On May 2, 2005, ladyannne from Merced, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

This tree is on the corner of the house, is probably about 150 years old. It's so large you can readily pick it out in aerial photographs of the neighborhood. We joke about the fact it holds up the house. Chop down the tree and the house will fall. It covers the inner yards, is trimmed up like a huge umbrella, opposed to removing all the limbs each year. It creates the most incredible shaded area in our 100 degree summers. The hummers love it, along with the rest of the local birds. It is a fruitless mulberry, causing two distinct periods: leaf fall and "worm" fall. Oh boy, we can't wait until both those times are over and can look forward to three plus weeks of picking both out of hundreds of flowers and shrubs. Even with that, we would not dream of having anything else cover the house and yard.

Positive alvaropstn On Apr 24, 2005, alvaropstn from Simancas, Valladolid
Spain wrote:

Excellent tree with a fresh shade during the summer. Late frosts can destroy the new leaves and fruits, but they don't endanger the tree, who makes a new set of leaves for the summertime. Even when some roots end up emerging in the lawn they don't seem very destructive -my oldest mulberry is some 15 yo-. And very important, all the leaves fall in few days in November. Not the kind of tree that fills your garden with leaves during the summer as soon as some wind starts to blow.

Neutral ocimum_nate On Mar 7, 2005, ocimum_nate from American Fork, UT (Zone 5a) wrote:

There is a tendency for this plant to become a nuisance if suckers come up from rootstock because the rootstock often bears berries which stain and can become messy. Otherwise this is a good tree for alkaline soils and is a fast grower.

Positive DiOhio On Feb 14, 2005, DiOhio from Corning, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

It took me quite a long time identifying the small sappling that volunteered in my cactus bed because every picture that I found of white mulberry didn't show the variety of the shape of the leaves that I was finding on my tree. Some leaves have no lobes, yet others have 3, 5, and even 6 lobes (as shown in my submitted picture above). The tree is only six or seven years old and stands about 7-8 feet tall.

Positive gonedutch On Aug 9, 2003, gonedutch from Fairport, NY wrote:

My mature White Mulberry has survived two major ice storms and frequent severe winter conditions in its exposed location. After the storms it sustained significant breaks and stress cracks that required serious pruning. But it happily developed new branches at the cuts and regained much of its former shape.
The many bird species, squirrels and raccoons that feast on the fruit scatter the seeds which results in a few dozen seedlings in the fall. Eventually I use 3-year old plants to fill holes in our hedgerows. Foliage remains shiny and green through three seasons then turns yellow and bronze before it drops.
Mulberry trees grow in many places throughout our town and are purported to be descendant of the mulberry grove of a failed silkworm business in Fairport, NY in 1828.

Positive PaulRobinson On Jun 22, 2003, PaulRobinson from Torrance, CA wrote:

A beatiful, large leaved, naturally well shaped tree that offers dense shade. Grows at about 1 ft/yr to 30 ft. Berries are mildly sweet, reminiscent of watermelon. This is the silkworm tree of Asia.

Regional...

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Grenoble,
Atmore, Alabama
Fontana, California
Long Beach, California
Lucerne Valley, California
Merced, California
Oak View, California
Petaluma, California
San Clemente, California
Tustin, California
Clifton, Colorado
Bridgeboro, Georgia
Grissom Afb, Indiana
Homecroft, Indiana
Valparaiso, Indiana
Denison, Iowa
Benton, Kentucky
Clermont, Kentucky
Georgetown, Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Brookeville, Maryland
Billerica, Massachusetts
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Bay City, Michigan
Port Huron, Michigan
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Waynesboro, Mississippi
Sedalia, Missouri
Fairport, New York
Burgaw, North Carolina
Glouster, Ohio
Hilliard, Ohio
Greencastle, Pennsylvania
Halfway House, Pennsylvania
Clarksville, Tennessee
Knoxville, Tennessee
Austin, Texas
Shady Shores, Texas
Bluffdale, Utah
Orem, Utah
Chesapeake, Virginia
Elmwood, Wisconsin



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