Cultivating Mulberries in the Moscow Region - Delicious and Large Varieties
Mulberry: BLACK BARONESSA, BLACK PRINCE AND OTHERS
As a child, I happened to spend a couple of summers with relatives in Yevpatoria. She remembered very well the huge spreading mulberry tree that grew right next to the house. In the hot midday hours, my sister and I climbed onto its strong thick branches and spent hours enjoying sweet and sour small medium-sized dark purple berries.
Later, resting in the Crimea, the Caucasus and Central Asia, I constantly saw huge mulberry trees with dark and light berries. There they grew everywhere - along the streets, in yards and squares, and for me they became, as it were, a symbol of all the southern cities.
Imagine my surprise when 12 years ago in the garden of a young man near Moscow
I saw a breeder scientist as low trees with leaves and fruits that are strikingly like mulberries! It turned out that this is a new frost-resistant variety of mulberry, which grows well in our climate and gives berries even larger and sweeter than southern varieties.
I learned a lot about this culture. There are two types of it - black and white. Their names do not depend on the color of the fruit, but on the color of the bark. Black mulberry grows in the southern regions. It does not tolerate negative temperatures below minus 10 °. Its trees, reaching a height of 20 m, can produce white, red and dark berries, but it is not suitable for our climate. But white perfectly tolerates winter frosts up to 35 °. In addition, it is not so spreading and does not exceed 5,5 m in height.
Therefore, it is the white mulberry that breeders use to create new varieties suitable for cultivation in the northern regions. These varieties have been enjoyed by Russian gardeners, and the demand for them is huge today. In the last 3 years, the demand for seedlings of frost-resistant mulberry breaks all records, and it occupies one of the leading places in the garden market.
From China to Russia
White mulberry is grown in many countries of the world, because only its leaves feed on the caterpillars of unpaired silkworms, from the cocoons of which, after special processing, thin silk threads are obtained.
The first to grow white mulberry in culture in ancient China. After all, it was the Chinese who discovered the amazing property of a silkworm cocoon to unwind on the finest durable threads, from which a surprisingly beautiful and light silk fabric was obtained. For a long time, China remained a monopolist in silk production, which was sold for a lot of money. No one could know the secret of its production, even close neighbors - Japan and India, where mulberry trees grow everywhere, did not know that their leaves could bring them huge incomes.
But gradually, the secret ceased to be a secret, and they learned about the technology of silk production from silkworm pupae in the East and in Europe. And there they began to grow white mulberry everywhere and set up silkworm breeding farms near its landings.
Russian Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich became interested in a strange plant and ordered to plant white mulberry in his experimental garden in Izmailovo, where he collected all the rare novelties.
And his son, the great Tsar Peter |, ascending the throne, was one of the first to sign a decree on the cultivation of mulberry worms and the creation of weaving factories for the production of domestic silk.
The most important point of this decree was the one that spoke about the urgent laying of white mulberry gardens to create a food supply for silkworm caterpillars. Then in Russia, they began to call the mulberry “royal berry”.
Later, mulberry gardens were planted in many southern regions of the country. Nurseries were also created under them, where silkworms were bred. The southern climate is very well suited to the new culture, so it is natural that by the 50-m. XVIII century Mulberry has become one of the most common fruit trees in southern Russia.
UNIQUE AND HEALING
Modern "northern" varieties of mulberry in height reach no more than 3,5 m. They perfectly tolerate winter frosts up to 35 °. But since the roots of this plant are superficial, upon the onset of a “black” snowless winter they can freeze even at minus 15 °. To prevent this, the trunk circles must be covered with fallen leaves with a layer of 30 cm and from above - with one layer of fir spruce branches.
But the frost resistance of the tree itself is very high, so in winter even skeletal branches do not freeze in severe frosts near mulberries.
Mulberries are somewhat reminiscent of juicy blackberries or raspberries. In the latest varieties, they are very large (up to 8 cm in length) and sweet, with a pleasant delicate aroma. By color, they can be cream-white, burgundy and dark purple. Ripen in late July - early August. Because of the delicate skin, they practically cannot tolerate transportation, so you need to immediately consume them fresh or start preparing something from them (wine, juices, preserves, compotes). Fruiting of young trees begins in the 4th-5th year.
Mulberry is quite unpretentious and can grow on not very fertile soils. In addition, it has increased drought tolerance. The fact is that a tree has a powerful root system that penetrates deep into the soil and can easily take water and nutrients from there.
Mulberry can grow well and bear fruit in one place for more than 250 years.
Mulberry fruits are very healing. They contain a large number of vitamins and nutrients, including such a rare element as morin, which is not found in any plant. Its wood belongs to valuable species and is equated to red and black trees, from which rare furniture is made, figurines are cut out, decorative panels for wall panels are made in very expensive cottages and offices.
All parts of the plant are considered medicinal and are widely used in medicine for the preparation of various herbal preparations and infusions.
MILK VARIETIES IN MY GARDEN - NAME PHOTOS AND DESCRIPTION
After I learned about the existence of cultivated varieties of northern mulberry, I literally got the idea to grow it on my site. But she decided to plant her not at home, but at her children - in the south of the Moscow region. There the climate is softer and good fertile loamy soils.
At first I managed to get two varieties - Black Baroness and White Honey. Two years later, she planted another 3 varieties: Pink Smolensk, Black Prince and Hartut. And a year later I was presented with a variety that was not on sale then - Galicia. Today it is offered to everyone by several of the largest nurseries and companies involved in the sale of planting material. I prefer varieties with dark fruits, so I planted them mostly.
All seedlings have taken root well and are now producing large crops (up to 40 kg per tree). The most delicious berries, in my opinion, are Black Baroness and Galicia.
I will tell you more about each type of mulberry.
White honey. Very famous domestic variety. The tree is low (does not grow more than 3,5 m), with a thick pyramidal crown. The berries are creamy white, sugary-sweet, up to 3,5 cm long. Yield on average 30 kg per tree. The variety is frost-resistant, disease resistant. One of the most unpretentious varieties. Fruiting begins on the 4 year.
Black Baroness. Wonderful variety with very tasty large (up to 5 cm in length) blue-black berries. They are sweet, with an unusual strawberry-pineapple aroma. Ripen earlier than other varieties - in mid-July. The variety is unpretentious, has increased winter hardiness and resistance to disease. It is practically not damaged by pests. Productivity is up to 50 kg from one tree.
Black Prince. It differs in very large (up to 6 cm in length), black, shiny, dense and tasty (sweet with a spicy delicate aroma) fruits. Berries can be stored for more than a week. Not damaged during shipping.
The variety is frost-resistant, productive (up to 40 kg per tree), very unpretentious in care.
Smolensk pink. Tree up to 4 m high, medium spread. The fruits are raspberry-lilac in color, delicate, sweet, with a slight acidity and a pleasant aroma. Fruiting begins on the 2-3-th year. Very unpretentious grade. It is practically not sick and is not damaged by pests. Very frost resistant.
Hartut. This is the best dark mulberry wine variety. Its large and very juicy, sweet black berries, even fresh, have a savor taste. The wine from them is excellent.
The variety begins bearing fruit in the 3 year. Crop yields high (up to 45 kg per tree). It has high frost resistance and disease resistance.
Galicia. In my opinion, the best of all varieties. The unusually tasty, sweet, fragrant, juicy berries surprise with their huge size (7 cm in length and 3 cm in diameter). Ripen in July. May be stored for more than a week.
The variety tolerates winter frosts perfectly, practically does not get sick and is not affected by pests, it is very productive (more than 40 kg can be collected from one tree).
MY EXPERIENCE OF GROWING Mulberry in the suburbs - planting and care
Still, the mulberry is still a southern culture, so for its landing I chose a well-lit place near the south wall of the house. There is never a wind or drafts that the tree does not like.
Since the soil of this culture needs light, loose, neutral, and better - slightly alkaline, and I have heavy clay and slightly acidic soils, I previously neutralized the entire area with dolomite flour, scattering it under digging at the rate of 2 kg (standard packaging) by 5 sq. m
After 2 weeks, she began digging holes. I dug them with a depth and diameter of 75 cm. I chose the whole soil, laying aside the upper, fertile, and then prepared an artificial mixture of fertile layer, sheet soil, compost and sand in equal amounts. 120 g of double superphosphate and 70 g of potassium sulfate, as well as a can of wood ash were added to each pit. Between the pits left a distance of 4 m.
Since mulberry loves alkaline soils, I bought crushed stone of lime, which is now brought to the Moscow region from somewhere in the south, and put drainage from it in each landing pit with a layer of 15 cm. Such drainage not only removes water from the roots, but also additionally deoxidizes soil in the lower root layer.
When planting, you need to ensure that the root neck is flush with the surface of the earth. It should never be buried.
After planting the seedlings, I watered them well (20 l of water under each) and truncated circles mulched with freshly cut grass.
The next year, the plants did not give much fertilizer, because they received excellent nutrition during planting. In the spring I fed them nitrogen to quickly grow green mass. For this, under each plant, a urea solution (20 g per 10 l of water) was poured on a watering can. In late May and early July, she gave two more feeding with liquid mullein.
Starting from the second year, I added autumn top dressing to these top dressings with a ready-made mineral complex for autumn top dressing of fruit trees containing phosphorus, potassium and more 30 trace elements and nutrients necessary for plants in the pre-winter season. Fertilizer was applied in the doses indicated on the package.
Mulberry is a moisture-loving plant, so it needs constant and plentiful watering. In the first 3-4 years they are carried out at least 3 times a month, and then reduced to 2. For adult trees, a monthly but very plentiful watering is sufficient (at least 60 l for one tree). In the heat watered more often and more plentifully.
Mulberry does not need regular haircuts, but initially it is necessary to form a crown. When the tree grew above me 3,5 m, I cut its central conductor at the 3-meter mark. It is with such growth that mulberry is easier to care for, and it is much easier to pick berries. The remaining branches are not cut. Removed only dry, broken, intersecting and thickening, as well as growing at an acute angle to the trunk.
In the first 6-7 years, I definitely cover the trunk circles for the winter. First, I fill in dry leaves with a layer of 30 cm, and then I put fir spruce branches in one layer. In the first 3 years, a nonwoven covering material was still pulled on them, fixing it at the ends with bricks and boards.
Cultural varieties of northern mulberry are practically not affected by diseases. However, bacteriosis, verticillous wilt and various spotting sometimes appear on them. Although I have never had such a thing, I still treat each mulberry tree with 1% solution of Bordeaux mixture every spring on a green cone for prevention.
I really like fresh mulberries and stewed fruit from them. This culture does not require special care, so I recommend that all gardeners plant this wonderful fruit tree on their site in order to receive many new healthy and tasty vitamins!
Mulberry - Planting and Care: VIDEO
© Author: О. IVANOVA, experienced gardener Moscow Region
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