Fruitless Mulberry Tree

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Lawn & Garden

The Chinese Fruitless Mulberry tree was initially brought to North America with the intention of establishing a silkworm industry. However, the plan was never realized, and the tree has now become prevalent. The original variety is not desirable in most landscapes due to its messy fruits that can stain clothes and furniture. Additionally, it is considered weedy as birds love to consume the fruits and disperse the seeds, leading to the tree’s proliferation. However, fruitless clones, such as Striblingii, are becoming popular as ornamental plants as they do not have these drawbacks.

The fruitless mulberry tree grows up to 30-50 feet tall with an extremely dense, round-topped crown. Its deciduous, toothed leaves are yellow-green to dark green and have varying shapes, with some being nearly heart-shaped and others deeply-lobed. The tree is easy to grow and drought-resistant, thriving in full sun to light shade. It is an ideal choice for fast shade, as well as urban and coastal conditions due to its pollution resistance.

Other varieties of the fruitless mulberry tree include several weeping mulberries, such as Chapparal, a small-growing, fruitless variety. The scientific name of the fruitless mulberry tree is Morus alba Striblingii.

For more information on trees and gardening, you may want to explore shade trees, flowering trees, different types of trees, and tips on gardening.


1. What is a fruitless mulberry tree?

A fruitless mulberry tree, also known as a male mulberry tree, is a type of mulberry tree that does not produce fruit. Instead, it produces flowers that release pollen, which is necessary for the female mulberry trees to produce fruit.

2. What are the benefits of having a fruitless mulberry tree?

The benefits of having a fruitless mulberry tree include not having to deal with the mess of fallen fruit, which can attract unwanted pests and create a slippery hazard on sidewalks. Additionally, male mulberry trees tend to have a longer lifespan than female mulberry trees.

3. How tall do fruitless mulberry trees typically grow?

Fruitless mulberry trees can grow up to 60 feet tall, with a spread of up to 40 feet. However, they can also be pruned to a smaller size to fit the space available.

4. What type of soil do fruitless mulberry trees prefer?

Fruitless mulberry trees prefer well-draining soil that is slightly acidic, with a pH range of 5.5 to 6.5. They can tolerate some drought conditions, but thrive with regular watering.

5. When is the best time to plant a fruitless mulberry tree?

The best time to plant a fruitless mulberry tree is in the fall or early spring, when the tree is dormant. This allows the roots to establish before the tree begins to grow new leaves in the spring.

6. How often should a fruitless mulberry tree be fertilized?

Fruitless mulberry trees should be fertilized once a year in the early spring, before new growth begins. A balanced fertilizer with equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium is recommended.

7. Do fruitless mulberry trees require pruning?

Yes, fruitless mulberry trees require pruning to maintain their shape and health. Pruning should be done in the winter while the tree is dormant, and should focus on removing dead or diseased branches.

8. What pests are common on fruitless mulberry trees?

Common pests on fruitless mulberry trees include scale insects, mites, and aphids. Regular inspection of the tree and treatment with insecticidal soap or horticultural oils can help control these pests.

9. How long does it take for a fruitless mulberry tree to mature?

It takes about 10 years for a fruitless mulberry tree to reach full maturity and its maximum height.

10. Can fruitless mulberry trees be grown in containers?

While it is possible to grow a fruitless mulberry tree in a container, it is not recommended. The tree’s large size and fast growth rate make it difficult to maintain in a container, and the roots can quickly become rootbound.

11. Are fruitless mulberry trees drought tolerant?

While fruitless mulberry trees can tolerate some drought conditions, they thrive with regular watering. During periods of extended drought, it is important to water the tree deeply to prevent stress and damage to the tree.

12. Can fruitless mulberry trees be propagated from cuttings?

Yes, fruitless mulberry trees can be propagated from hardwood cuttings taken in the winter while the tree is dormant. However, the success rate of propagation from cuttings is low, and it is usually easier to purchase a young tree from a nursery.

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