New Beginnings

Mulberry treeThis mulberry tree produced bowls full of berries in spring. I made several cobblers and want to do that every year for the rest of my life. Frank and I decided to try to start a new plant from a cutting from this tree to increase yield and insure against any future tree death. The plan was to prune it during the winter, after all the leaves are gone (it’s half-way there) and maybe take cuttings in spring.

Then Grace called. She’s the one who gave us this tree, it was an off-shoot from one of hers. She wanted to take some cuttings and start a tree in her new garden. Who was I to tell her her timing was off?

mulberry cuttingsYesterday she came over and cut three branches so I took two of my own. (I removed most of the leaves, cut the branches into 5 pieces and planted them in compost enhanced with water crystals. They’re in the larger pot in the photo on the left.)

Grace said she wasn’t sure if the cuttings would actually take this time of year, but she thought they might. Then she explained that you have to prune mulberry trees after fruiting (just before they put on their new growth), not in winter (oops, missed that chance) or you’ll get no fruit the next year.

Her comments sent me to the internet to try to figure out when and how to take cuttings and when to prune. Basically it appears you can take cuttings almost any time (some live, some die, but it’s an easy plant to propagate through cuttings) and you can prune either after the end of fruiting or in winter. I didn’t see dire warnings of winter prunings removing the parts of the branches (new growth) that produce next year’s fruit. Which doesn’t mean a lot. Anyway, I discussed it with Frank and he’s committed to winter pruning “like all fruit trees”. Fine by me. If next year we get no fruit, we’ll know for the future (and I’ll have to make banana bread rather than mulberry cobbler). Here’s Frank doing as foretold.

jade plantBack on the 17th of Feb this large indoor jade plant lost a branch. Frank and I tried sticking it in the ground but it’s been shedding clumps from that branch with great regularity. Some of them have been replanted in the same pot, but it’s really full. I’ve put a few in other jade plant pots and finally yesterday I created a new pot to house a new batch of cast-offs (the pot on the left in the photo above). My plan is to eventually move some of the new plants outside to the original spot where this jade used to live.

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About Laura Rittenhouse

I'm an American-Australian author, gardener and traveller. Go to my writing website: www.laurarittenhouse.com for more. If you're trying to find my gardening blog, it's here.
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3 Responses to New Beginnings

  1. Laura,
    That jade plant looks lovely and healthy, you must be very rich! they always die on me! I like that hanging plant you have around the bottom of the bamboo as well – is that the one you mentioned before? Gosh i would love a mulberry tree, hope your cuttings take.

  2. The Siamese twin of this jade plant is absolutely covered in flowers so I keep thinking this one isn’t healthy but it really is. A friend accuses me of waxing the leaves because they are so shiny. And yes, that hanging plant (weed?) is the one I mentioned before. I didn’t plant it there but this pot was outside for a few years and when it moved inside it’s brought a friend.

    It looks like just about all the mulberry cuttings have taken. I counted 4 branches with leaves and berry-beginnings on them. I want a row of trees, maybe 5 will be too many, in the back of my garden as insurance against the death of a tree. And because it’s impossible to have too many mulberries.

    I don’t feel I’m overdoing it because the poor things are destined to live in almost full shade (the neighbours oak tree blocks 100% of the sun from the bottom 25% of my garden for half the year). But since the parent mulberry tree produces in spite of the lack of sunshine I figured why not put them all there?

  3. Pingback: Fruiting Tree Planting | Laura Rittenhouse's Gardening Journal

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