It is such one of life’s simple pleasures to walk about in your garden in the warmer months and notice rich juicy berries ready for picking. For most the temptation is too great and they are consumed right there and then.
Mulberries will be forming on their trees soon. Unlike raspberries and boysenberries which prefer a cool climate, mulberries are hardy in most parts of Australia. They generally grow as tall as a tree, but you can prune them to remain in a shrub. Dwarf varieties suitable for pots and small gardens are available in garden centres.
Mulberry trees love a sunny position with lots of room to grow. Plant them in a well drained, compost enriched, slightly acidic soil. Mulch well around the roots and fertilise with Searles Fruit & Citrus Food in early spring. Beware the ripe fruit stains and when the birds have a feed they make a big mess, so plant in a space away from driveways and patios. The mulberry tree produces fruit on new growth so they perform well if pruned to desired height that is easy for picking. They are fast growers so they will bounce back very quickly. Prune in late autumn after fruiting has finished.
Mulberry trees are deciduous in winter with new leaves appearing in spring. The red fruit develop to their distinctive purple colour quickly in early spring in tropical and sub-tropics regions and more gradually in cooler regions giving these regions an extended harvest period. Harvest mulberries when they are fully ripened on the tree. Mulberries do not ripen after they are picked. They are also liable to spoil so promptly eat, cook with them or freeze them for later use.
If you’re looking for something more unusual, there’s a form with white berries (M. macroura ‘Shatoot’) which are sweeter and have a more subtle flavour.
When berries are in season they are irresistibly juicy and a must to pick, but beware of the birds. Neighbourhood poultry know when is the right time to pick them as well. Net fruiting bushes with bird and bat friendly netting available from good garden and produce centres.