How To Plant A Red Mulberry Tree

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This article provides tips for planting a red mulberry tree
by Brett · Zone 5A · -20° to -15° F to Zone 9B · 25° to 30° F · Planting · 0 Comments · November 01, 2015 · 8,181 views

Growing a red mulberry tree, Morus rubra, in the home garden can be fun and rewarding. Several factors are important to consider before planting.

Best Growing Conditions

Sun - The best and most fruits will be produced when trees are growing in full sun. However, red mulberry trees that receive a little shade during the hottest part of summer days will still produce good crops of fruit.

Soil Type Preferred - Red mulberry trees grow and produce the best fruit in well-drained but moist fertile soil that is rich in organic matter. They like the soil to hold a good supply of water, especially when the fruits are developing in summer, but not so much water that the soil stays constantly soggy or wet. They do not like an overly dry site. In soil with low fertility or compact clay it'll be worth your time to mix in some organic compost at a 50/50 ratio to the native soil.

Soil pH Preferred - Red mulberry trees do best in a moderate to slightly acid soil ranging between 6.0 and 6.5 on the pH scale. Whenever growing plants that prefer a specific pH it's a good idea to test the soil. Testing kits are available at most local nursery and garden centers or you can buy a soil test kit or pH meter probe online. Your local Extension Service might provide soil testing services as well. Depending on the results of the soil test, you can add lime to raise the pH or soil sulfur to lower the pH (make more acid).

How To Plant A Red Mulberry Tree

Below are general guidelines for properly planting a container-grown red mulberry tree in most average garden soils.

STEP 1 - Begin by digging a hole at least twice as wide and a little deeper than the rootball is tall. The wider the hole the better. Place the native soil removed from the planting hole around the perimeter of the hole or on a tarp or in a wheelbarrow.

STEP 2 - Depending on the fertility and porosity of the soil you are planting in, you might need to add a soil amendment to the native soil removed from the planting hole. When planting in heavy clay or poor soil, it's a good idea to thoroughly mix in some good organic matter such as composted cow manure, mushroom compost, or a good planting mix at a 25 to 50% ratio with the native soil. When planting in very sandy, quick-draining soil you might want to consider adding in some peat moss and or compost to help retain moisture. When planting in fertile, moist, well-draining soil there's no need to add any soil amendment.

STEP 3 - Remove tree from container and carefully loosen feeder roots around the surface of the rootball. If necessary, use a claw tool of some sort of tool to loosen roots. You can also spray the sides of the rootball with a stream from the garden hose to help remove some soil from the surface of the rootball. This should help to expose and to loosen some feeder roots.

STEP 4 - Place tree in hole making sure that the top edge of the root ball is at or slightly above ground level to allow for settling. If necessary, place additional soil in the bottom of the planting hole to achieve proper planting height. Then start pulling your backfill soil mixture into the hole around the rootball tamping as you go to remove air pockets. When you have filled the hole to the halfway point you can soak the soil. Then continue back-filling to the top edge of the root ball. Do not put any backfill soil on top of the root ball as doing so can suffocate your trees roots.

STEP 5 - With remaining soil mixture, or additional native top soil, you can build a water retaining ring/berm around the perimeter of the planting hole to a height of around 3 to 4 inches or so. This berm helps to catch and retain rainfall or irrigation, sending it to the roots. This berm can be removed after 1 year or so, when the tree is established.

STEP 6 - Broadcast a good granular fruit tree fertilizer, or organic fertilizer, atop rootball at rates suggested on product label.

STEP 7 - After planting, fill water retension area with water and allow to soak in. Repeat this process one or two more times. If planting in winter, with average rainfall, dormant trees will require litlle if any water until they break from dormancy in spring. Trees planted during the active growth season will require closer attention to watering, but be careful not to overwater. Water enough to keep the soil moist, but not constantly soggy or wet.

STEP 8 - To help retain adequate moisture, apply a 2-inch layer of shredded wood mulch, or a 3-inch layer of pinestraw to a distance of 2-3 feet from trunk of tree, or just beyond water retaining ring.

You can buy Red Mulberry trees online from Gardener Direct plant nursery >

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