By Alfredo Chiri
WEEPING MULBERRY Morus alba var. Pendula Moraceae
Common names: Weeping mulberry, common mulberry
This cultivar is a female dwarf, deciduous tree, which features a weeping foliage.
The Weeping mulberry, a white mulberry variety, is a small to medium-sized shrub or tree up to 15 feet tall, round topped with a spread of equal size.
It has drooping foliage, with a trunk attaining 12 inches in diameter. The leaves are alternate, variable in shape, lobed or un-lobed, dentate, 8 inches apart on fruiting branches. Leaves are smooth above and dark green. It is glabrous along veins beneath the leaves and light green.
Flowers are small and greenish, in dense spikes to 1/2 inch long with 4 sepals and 4 stamens. The flower pistils have two styles, maturing onto an aggregate fruit of drupelets 1/4 to 1/2 inch long, white or reddish yellow, before ripe. Fruit is sweet but insipid. Seeds are brown, 1 to 1.2 mm long.
The Pendula cultivar is a female tree, which produces fruit, while its male version, the Chaparral cultivar, does not produce fruit. Both cultivars can be used as ornamentals because of their weeping foliage.
Weeping white mulberry can be propagated from seeds, but primarily it is by grafting and, as an alternate method, by cutting. Propagation by cuttings is done during spring while propagation by grafting is done during late winter, using a Morus alba rootstock.
Seeds should be treated with camphor water before sowing to prevent disease.
Seeds are placed in a thin layer of soil after sowing, and the beds should be kept moist. Seeds germinate in 10-15 days, depending on the season. When the seedlings are about 6 inches tall, they should be thinned and weeded.
Trans-planted seedlings that are 6 inches tall are used as bushes, while seedlings that have been allowed to grow up to 3 feet and trained are used as trees.
Weeping mulberry will tolerate drought and occasional wetness but prefers soil that is well drained, loamy or clay with a pH thatıs slightly acidic to slightly alkaline.
Weeping mulberry will grow well in full sun, partial sun, and partial shade.
Avoid fertilization with high amounts of quick-release Nitrogen. Prune to shorten branches since plant has weak wood. Trees are susceptible to wind and storm damage.
The white mulberry is so named for the color of its buds rather than the color of its fruit. Fruitless cultivars can be used in more extreme environments where few other trees will grow.