Mulberry Trees Make Great Addition to Yard

Mulberry Bush
Mulberries taste like summertime. (TheYok/Getty Images)

This summer, I am loving the mulberry trees in the back yard! The ripe fruit is sweet, juicy, and lightly tart, making it an irresistible summer afternoon snack, and the lush trees turn my back yard into a summertime rainforest. The birds and squirrels seem to like them, too, and as I look out my office window this morning, I can see them swooping, hopping, and feasting from branch to branch.

Mulberry trees are quite drought-tolerant and cold-hardy, and many varieties grow in poor soil. In some areas, they’re even known as “weed trees” because they show up uninvited in neglected areas. Below are some tips for growing mulberry trees, although it must be said that my own trees are tucked into a small, semi-shady back yard, with no supplemental care whatsoever, and they are absolutely dripping with berries.

Red Mulberry
The red mulberry grows along trees up to 80 feet. (tang90246/Getty Images)

About Mulberry Trees

  • Species: include White Mulberry (Morus alba), Black Mulberry (Morus nigra), Red Mulberry (Morus rubra), and hybrids, with numerous named cultivars. The Red Mulberry, also called American Mulberry, is the only species native to North America.
  • Hardiness: Hardy to Zones 3-7, depending on the variety. Black Mulberry is the least cold hardy.
  • Size: Red and White Mulberries to 70-80 feet. Black Mulberries are smaller and more bushlike, growing to 30 feet.
  • Flowers: Green and not very distinctive.
  • Fruit: Edible blackberry-shaped fruits in late spring or early summer. Fruits are white, black, dark red, or lavender. Fruit is deliciously sweet and tart and ripens slowly over time, for an extended harvest. Harvest carefully by hand, or spread a sheet on the ground and lightly shake the branches. Fruits are used fresh and in desserts, preserves, and wines, but be prepared to fight the birds and squirrels for them!

Black Mulberry
The black mulberry differs by growing bush-like, rather than a tree. (yebeka/Getty Images)

Mulberry Tree Growing Tips

  • Light: Full sun for best fruiting.
  • Location: Mulberry trees are great for attracting a variety of birds and wildlife to your yard, so plant where you can enjoy them. Don’t plant near sidewalks, structures, or parking areas – the berries will stain (as will the droppings of the feasting birds).
  • Soil: Well-draining and deep, although these trees are tolerant of many soil types.
  • Water: Although fairly drought-tolerant, it will not fruit well if too dry.
  • Nutrient needs: Minimal to no fertilization is needed.
  • Pruning and care: Prune lightly to keep a tidy shape. Heavy or regular pruning is not needed. Branches tend to bleed if heavily pruned.

Further Reading


  1. Hi. I have a question y live in south california and have a mulberry tree, probably 15 to 20 feet tall. The brerries come out long thin and green and than fall to grown like that or stay in the tree turn brown and fall alll dried up
    They do not get red or black or white at all. I deided to put sone fruit food for fruit trees at the drip line as directions read. Watering 4 times a week instead of a couple a week and nothing changes, maybe some look a little pink and then fall but they do not mature. They still look like the green stages no flesh or meat on them at all either. Should i water 7 days a week ? Please help.

  2. Hi Sonia, Leonie from Australia here. My mulberries had the same issues, and I fixed them with heaps of nutritious mulch, but, the main problem was water quality. I was watering the trees with bore water which has a little salt, 750ppm. The salt built up in the soil till the trees couldn’t draw up water, and so the effect is they appear to be thirsty, and drop all their fruit. Some browning of leaf margins too. This can also be caused by treated town water, (chlorine, alum flocculants, fluoride). I now water with surface runoff, gravity fed from a dam, and the trees are growing and fruiting beautifully.

  3. i saw this tree with all these berries, didnt know what they were. now i know. i will use the berries for pie jelly and fruit. thank you this page helped me a lot.


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