When someone asks me what my favorite most useful tree on the homestead is I’m quick to answer, The Mulberry Tree! This usually surprises the person asking the question as this tree is considered a burden to many homeowners. In this podcast episode I’ll talk about why I believe it is one of the best trees you can have on your homestead.
Not getting to do as much hunting as I thought I was going to do.Seed Catalogs are arriving and I’m happy!I’m really getting on the homemade gifts kick.All the garden beds are officially put to bed.
Homesteading Relevant News:
The Washington Post: A growing number of young Americans are leaving desk jobs to farm
The Greenfield Recorder: Evolution of farming in America
Hangin’ Out on the Homestead Front Porch:
Podcast Question for The Homestead Front Porch Facebook Group. On your homestead what provides you with the most food throughout the year? See the responses here – https://www.facebook.com/groups/HomesteadFrontPorch/permalink/1489369151116904/
Main Topic Of Discussion:
The Underappreciated Mulberry Tree
When I was a kid I would spend many weekends at my grandparents house, out behind their barn along the fence were a whole row (probably about 20) Mulberry Trees. Grandma would send me back there to pick a bucket full for a pie, I remember it would take me a long time to fill the bucket because I would eat two of every three I would pick. Grandma would just laugh when she seen me coming into the house and say “your gonna have a belly ache,” I guess the stains on my face gave it away.
All my life mulberries have been one of my favorites, imagine my surprise when I found out most people despise this wonderful tree, they consider it invasive and messy. I will admit I understand why, after all, my vehicles have been a victim of the birds after they have had a healthy meal of mulberries too. I even had a hard time getting rid of a couple that were growing in an inconvenient place beside my garage, I would cut them off level at the ground and they just kept coming back, but this is also one of the things that make it such a great tree.
So I thought I would share a few of the wonderful qualities of this underappreciated tree and perhaps persuade a few self sufficient folks to make it part of their homestead.
Growing the Mulberry Tree
I have never planted any other tree with such an ability to thrive. The most common Mulberry Trees are the Black Mulberry, Red Mulberry and the White Mulberry, you can plant these trees from cuttings or seeds and then just wait and be amazed at how well it grows. Last year I dug one up that was about three feet tall growing at the back of my property and moved it to a better spot, this was at the beginning of summer which most people know is not the best time to plant a tree. Within a couple weeks all the leaves fell off of it and I began to think it wasn’t going to make it, a few weeks later it was full of leaves again and seemed to have grown a few inches. Amazing!
Mulberry leaves, mainly White Mulberry leaves are of utmost importance because they are the only food of the silkworm from which we get silk. Many Mulberry leaf varieties are even edible by livestock and even humans, They are mostly edible when they just begin to open up and are the most tender. Do your own research though on your particular variety, not all are edible and in fact some are quite toxic, especially when mature.
The flexible branches can be pruned in fall after the leaves have fallen off and used for making baskets and crafts. Also these branches are a favorite snack of rabbits, so if your homestead livestock is made up in part by the cute and fluffy then they will love these tasty snacks. Make sure you feed them in moderation though, anything new or in to much volume to the rabbits can cause bowel issues.
Now we come to my favorite part of the Mulberry Tree, the fruit. Basically any dessert you would use most any other fruit in can be substituted with Mulberries, and in my opinion will only make it better. Mulberries have quite a bit of nutritional value as well, read more about the health benefits of mulberries.
What About the Problems?
As stated earlier the Mulberry does pose a problem for clean cars as the birds try to decorate it with a variety of colors and this can be aggravating and make you wonder if having Mulberry Trees on your property are worth it. One solution for this might be to plant the trees at the furthest point away that you can on your property, seems obvious enough I know but when your planting trees sometimes the bird poop from the fruit is not the first thing on your mind, your usually more concerned about the way the tree will look on your property. Another and maybe better option would be to plant White Mulberry Trees, the fruit is just as good, the leaves are edible and the best part is – no colorful paintball war on your car.
I really hope reading this has opened your eyes to the amazing possibilities of having Mulberry Trees on your homestead, and hopefully inspired you to hurry up and plant some in an act of repentance and reconciliation toward your underappreciation of this awesome tree. 🙂 Happy Homesteading!