Native to southwest Asia, mulberry trees are most well known for their fruits, which can be used as a food source in a variety of ways. They are fast growing and drought resistant, and grow wild and under cultivation in many temperate world regions. It can grow in USDA zones 6-10.
Why We Like It
Not only are the berries delicious for man and animal alike, other parts of the tree are very useful as well. The tree branches are often used for weaving. The leaves are a source of food for silk worms, which are used to make silk. And the pigment from the fruit is often used to make food coloring.
To sum up the advantages of the mulberry tree, as stated by J. Russel Smith in his classic book Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture, this tree…
- is very easy to transplant
- grows rapidly
- bears fruit early
- has nutritious berries that can be harvested without much cost
- has a long fruiting season
- can recover from frost
- provides excellent feed for pigs
- have trunks that make great posts (while the branches make fair firewood)
- and last but not least this tree seems to have fewer enemies than most other valuable trees.
J. Russel Smith also has this to say about the mulberry:
For a large section of the United States the mulberry is easily the king of tree crops when considered from the standpoint of this book; namely, the establishment of new crops which are easily and quickly grown and reasonably certain to produce crops for which there is a secure and steady market for a large and increasing output.
The honey locust, oak, and chestnut probably have greater promise, because their
crop can be stored; but the mulberry has already arrived and has proved its adaptability and its worth.