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Old 02-06-2010, 11:20 AM   #1
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How to prune a Weeping Mulberry ?


I have a weeping mulberry in southern Ontario. I don't think I have been taking proper care of it. In the past, I have only pruned it in midsummer, when the branches become overwhelming. I don't think I have been very successful in clearing out the dead branches in the center. I have read here that I should be pruning in general, the tree's dormant period, and have read for this tree a good time would be fall or April. OK. But how much should I cut back ? I have seen trees that get pruned back right to the trunk, but I am not sure if they are the same species as what I have.
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Old 02-06-2010, 11:58 AM   #2
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How to prune a Weeping Mulberry ?


Why do you want to prune it? In other words, what is your purpose or what do you want to accomplish?

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Old 02-06-2010, 12:34 PM   #3
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How to prune a Weeping Mulberry ?


I would go to the library to get a book on basic pruning techniques. One I loved was a small paperback called, "How to Prune Almost Everything" or something like that. It is out of print but maybe Abe Books or Amazon can find a copy.

In your climate, pruning after the last frost in early spring before the tree blooms or leafs out would probably be a good bet as you can get rid of any branches that might have frozen. As a general approach, start by cutting out any water shoots and branches that cross over each other or form dangerous crotches. See specfic guides for you trees. Your local nursery or ag extension people can be good resources. Looks like you may want to thin your little tree a bit too. Unless I am seeing things wrong it looks like you tipped off the weeping branches which forced the growth lateral further up them? Not sure that is what you should have done for a weeper.

Don't go crazy but don't be shy about pruning heavily either. The plant will benefit in the long run.

Make sure your pruning tools are appropriate for the size branches, sharp and sterilized/disinfected. If there is any hint of disease, dip the pruners in chorline bleach between cuts. Where clothes you do not mind wearing.

Last edited by user1007; 02-06-2010 at 12:36 PM.
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Old 02-06-2010, 02:02 PM   #4
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How to prune a Weeping Mulberry ?


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Why do you want to prune it?
In the center of that big mess, there are a bunch of dead branches. (Probably going to be easier to get to them without the foilage on it)
And in the summer it becomes a big dense mess. Maybe thats the way they are supposed to be, but probably it is not maintained properly.
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Old 02-06-2010, 03:13 PM   #5
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How to prune a Weeping Mulberry ?


I can tell you from experience that you need to be very aggressive in your pruning with this tree. Dormant pruning is best, but Mulberry is basically a large weed, and hard to kill- so you could probably prune it safely anytime.

I would definitely thin out some of the larger branches in the center, then work your way down to the smaller branches. I would not hesitate to remove 50% of the interior. One benefit of waiting until early spring is you don't have to look at the lack of branches for too long- and by pruning, you will encourage more growth.

You probably have a graft on that tree right where all the branches start. Anything below the graft should be removed. If you can't see an obvious grafting point, it is probably grafted low on the root stock, so only removal of suckers would be an issue.

Use care when cutting branches close to the trunk- you should leave a small (1/2") stub to prevent damage and infection to the trunk.
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Old 02-06-2010, 03:33 PM   #6
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How to prune a Weeping Mulberry ?


Thanks Chris.

By the way, hows the weather down there today ?
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Old 02-06-2010, 04:04 PM   #7
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How to prune a Weeping Mulberry ?


It's beautiful- lots of snow, snow, and more snow!
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Old 02-07-2010, 10:50 AM   #8
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How to prune a Weeping Mulberry ?


Quote:
(Probably going to be easier to get to them without the foilage on it)
Are you comfortable in knowing which is dead and which is just dormant?

If so, you could be right. There may be some objection to this but I would do that pruning just after bud break. You have so much material in there that I am thinking it would be much easier to discern what you want to take out then.

For two reasons don't try to take out too much per cut. First, it really is hard to tell where a branch is coming from. You think you are cutting one and after the cut you discover that that branch came off of a fork that you didn't notice. Just my experience there. Also, taking less per cut will be much easier to remove the cut material without it being such a jumbled, intertwined mess.

As to what I asked earlier about your reason for pruning, are you trying to keep it to a certain shape? Looks like it was cut square across the bottom- not what I would do with a weeping specimen. Are you trying to rejuvenate it? Do you want to restore it to it's natural growth habit?

GC- Don't know that I could agree with the 1/2 inch stub. Any "stub" will eventually decay and could potentially cause problems. Cut just at the outer edge of the collar.
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I would go to the library to get a book on basic pruning techniques.
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Old 02-07-2010, 11:02 AM   #9
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How to prune a Weeping Mulberry ?


GC- Don't know that I could agree with the 1/2 inch stub. Any "stub" will eventually decay and could potentially cause problems. Cut just at the outer edge of the collar.

Good point about the collar- 1/2" 'stub' usually is enough to encompass the collar. Agreed, you don't want more than the collar left after cutting.
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Old 02-07-2010, 02:08 PM   #10
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Are you comfortable in knowing which is dead and which is just dormant?
No. I better wait a little longer.

Thanks
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Old 02-14-2010, 03:36 AM   #11
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How to prune a Weeping Mulberry ?


I didn't see anywhere if it was a dwarf or male or female. Either way any under or low growth should be pruned off. The top should be pruned back so very few branches are crossing over each other. They will droop over to the ground if you let them. Keep them trimmed up off the ground, but not too far. Mulberries can get to 20 to 40 feet tall unless it's a dwarf. Pruning a bit in the summer is fine to keeps its form. Most pruning should be done when it is dormant. Clean it up to keep a nice form before it gets to tall. There is nothing wrong with getting a pro to come in and clean it up and show you how to keep it up from there. Mulberries are beautiful trees. Good Luck
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Old 02-14-2010, 09:01 AM   #12
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How to prune a Weeping Mulberry ?


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Mulberries can get to 20 to 40 feet tall unless it's a dwarf.
That's true for regular mulberries. This thread is about a weeping variety.
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Old 02-14-2010, 06:55 PM   #13
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How to prune a Weeping Mulberry ?


Well slap me stupid, what do they get like seven or so. I stick with the beautiful part though.

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