Mulberry's dense growth kills its own

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Above: The look we enjoy in a weeping mulberry. Read on for how we spent 30 minutes to create this beauty out from a tree that looked just like the one below. 

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Tired of looking at a scary-thick mass atop a weeping mulberry?

Late winter's a great time to prune it!

1) Take a deep breath. You are going to remove a lot of wood. It is no trouble for the plant, which can grow all you see here in one year, and more if it's in sun!

2) Step under the tree. Most of the dead wood is there, and the framework the tree has or can have is apparent there.



3) Begin cutting out dead wood. It's brittle, gray, and has no leaf buds. Don't be concerned about where you make the cuts -- you'll cut back even further later. Just get all that dead stuff out of the way. Be prepared to be rained upon by flakes and dust and other plant dandruff.

4) As you clear out what's dead, notice the tree's main branches. Elect 3 or 4 to be the main framework. Don't ask anyone else to decide -- this is a subjective, artistic choice as much as anything. However, there is one thing we consider that might help you decide: To be eligible to be a main limb, it should radiate from the trunk into its own section of sky, not compete with a sister limb to fill the same air space with leaves.

More help in deciding: These diagrams in Prune to Keep a Tree Small

PrunSmall1a.jpg  PruneSmall2a.jpg   RestrctnPrungFrTreesS.jpg

Arrows point to some of the dead wood. Lighter in color than the yellow-brown live wood, and without buds.


5) Now look at the side branches. We define "side branch" as one that arises from one of the trunks/branches we've designated as "main." Cut side branches back to allow a year's growth. Thin the side branches to leave the main branch with only its best and strongest, spaced out along its length.

6) When you get done, the tree can look like the one at the top of the page, or like this one below. Either way, the tree will be full of foliage and ready to be clipped again in June or July to take out stragglers.

If it weeps, this works

7) This method of working from underneath, beginning with dead wood, designating main limbs and then thinning will work for any weeping tree, from mulberry through cherry and pussy willow to Japanese maple. Mulberries can be cut more severely than the others without qualm, since flower buds are not an issue and the tree grows very quickly. The slower the tree's growth rate, the less severe the annual cut.

MulbryBonesN2363ss.jpg  MulbGrownBkN3162ss.jpg 

 There is more we long to add here. You can help finish this!









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All of our work will be posted in time, but...



There is a great deal to post -- as of this writing we have about 900 pages posted, of about 3,000 in queue. That includes more about mulberries and many other pruning projects

Because we have so much but there are only the two of u to get it done, the information we have already published and which is still available in books, magazines and on CDs, is last in line for posting unless a Sponsor request calls it forward.

MulberryPrun9ss.jpgThere is more about pruning weeping mulberries, including before-after photos and diagrams, in What's Coming Up #19 and What's Coming Up #35 . These issues and 100 others are available on our CD, Asking About Asters

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