Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Grafting Mulberries

Mulberries are a weed tree.  Except for a few, precious selections that produce sweet, tangy fruit of respectable size.

Like the "weed" variants, the good ones can grow 8 feet in a season, the leaves are edible and, once established, the trees are are incredibly drought tolerant.

One of my paddocks is bounded by a wildlife travel corridor along the west side.  The corridor is about 65 feet wide.  There are approximately 12 mulberry trees long that 300 feet of fence line.  Ten of those mulberry trees are definitely not among the few, precious selections.

I have been grafting those not-so-precious over to Illinois Everbearing Mulberry.  In my opinion, IEB Mulberry is the mid-West standard that all others should compared to.

I also threw grafts of "PC" on to as many trees as I could.  "PC" is not "Politically Correct". "PC" is Pet Cemetery, based on the location of the original ortet.  Only time will tell if the progeny live up to the potential suggested by the old, nutrient stressed mother tree.

Edible Leaves

The edible leaves pose a problem. They are irresistible to woodchucks.  Woodchucks are  ground squirrels that are very capable of climbing trees.  A single, ravenous woodchuck can defoliate a medium sized mulberry tree in a couple of days.

Game on

Death to woodchucks.  At least until after my grafts are established.

I hear that woodchuck makes awesome burritos.  Where do you think "ground chuck" comes from?

I only hope that my scionwood is not too dry to "take".

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