Re: TB: mulberry trees affect on iris growth
I would echo the comments about root systems. Most any big tree will have
dense roots under and near the canopy that will compete for water and
nutrients, and often make it nearly impossible to dig there. Also, the
shade can inhibit growth. On the other hand, I've never heard of any
chemistry from a Mulberry that would cause any issues with plant growth.
I've never noticed any ill-effects on surrounding plants (including Iris).
If the surrounding ground is kept regularly tilled and in good condition as
the young trees grow, the main roots will develop below the tilled ground,
with only some thinner roots produced annually in the tilled soil. Then it
is easier to grow plants around the trees. Of course if you till around an
established tree, you'll just be cutting the main feeder roots and hurting
I enjoyed the comments about eating Mulberries and the flavor. I've eaten
from a lot of Mulberry trees myself, and some are tremendously good, while
others, often the next tree over and of the same species, can be bland to
the point of having no flavor. Years ago there was a tree I really liked
growing by a ditch in the middle of the desert in eastern Mexico not far
from San Luis Potosi. It was a favorite area of desert to visit, and I
used to see the tree about every other spring. The sound of the water, the
cool shade, and the (tons of) fruit were very welcome. Don't know which
species it was (is?), but the fruit were black.
It seems to me most any species can have good fruit, but the one that seems
to be most often bland is White Mulberry (which may have green, white,
pink, red, purple, or black fruit, depending on the individual tree - but
most often light colored). Black and Red Mulberries are most often pretty
Mulberries are a bit messy if growing over your car or sidewalk (the white
ones much less so), but the stain doesn't last long.
As for slow growth, that comment caught me by surprise too. Mulberries are
among the fastest growing trees I know. Not too long ago, there was a
Mulberry craze in the southwest, when about every other shade tree planted
was a male White Mulberry (no berries). Part of the reason was heat
tolerance, but another was fast growth (often 5 ft or more in a year on a
well rooted young tree). There aren't so many planted now, I think largely
because the pollen is allergenic for many people.
Paper Mulberries are nice trees too, but the berries are dry and awful.
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