Saturday, October 27, 2012

Moving a Small Mulberry Tree

Now it's fall. It's chilly.  It's raining every day. Good time to move some more trees, I think. Better than summer, when I moved other trees. This time it's an Illinois Everbearing Mulberry. I originally planted it March, 2010. So it's had 2 summers to grow. I decided it will be hard to keep the growth controlled. The exposure was north of a privacy fence. The neighbor to the south has a massive uncontrolled apple tree, also competing. At the Battleground place, it will have full sun to the East, South, and West. So maybe more mulberries. They are very tasty. One of the most delicious fruits I grow.
"Mulberry Tree Wrap" in an old vinyl tablecloth for travel. No pics digging it up. It's the usual, dig a trench, then try to dig deeply under the tree. It was difficult to dig under the tree. Despite the rain, the ground under the tree was dry and hard.
This is my one chance to inspect the roots. Impressive root system. The roots look thicker than the trunk. They were not very deep. Maybe 18 inches, at the most.
Here we are, planted and mulched with about 3 inches of leaf compost mulch. I did line the hole with chicken wire, to annoy and frustrate the mole.  The mole had a tunnel at exactly this spot, so I think the tree was a sitting duck.

I read on another website that mulberries are a tree "not" to plant, due to the berry production. The main concern is that birds eat the berries. Then the birds defecate, the purple poop stains cars. The berries also stain sidewalks. There are no sidewalks here, and no place to park a car near the tree.  Cars are few and far between.  My plan was to keep the tree small, and cover with bird net. I may still do that. I could have cut it down, and bought a new bare-root tree to plant in Spring. Then I would lose two years of progress. By moving it, I may lose some progress, but not much.

I pruned about 1 to 2 feet of new branch growth.  That will make up for root loss.  I don't think I lost a lot of roots.  Probably less than 20%.  Maybe less than 10%.  That compares to commercially grown trees, which I read lose 85% of their roots when moved.

There is also concern about spread of mulberry trees via seeds in bird poop.  I don't think that's an issue here.

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