Lack of Fruit on Mulberry Tree
(Essex Coast, UK)
My 20 plus year old Mulberry tree has stopped fruiting. For many years it was covered in delicious fruit but for the last 4 years it has produced very little.
In spring, the branches are laden with flowers which turn into green embryo fruits but very few of them survive to maturity. It is very healthy with large dark green leaves and puts on growth each year.
I thought the pigeons were eating the fruits when still green (as they do the cherries!) but I don't think that is the case. It is in full sun most of the day.
We also have a smaller, younger, tree a short distance away but that has never prospered.
We are in a very dry part of Essex but it used to be OK.
Any ideas would be gratefully received.
David, are you sure the birds aren't eating the green fruit? I ask this, because when we lived in Australia there was a bird there that took great delight in eating all the green fruit off my mulberry trees and we got absolutely no fruit at all from two huge trees one year. So that is definitely something to consider.
If you don't think it is the birds, the only other suggestion I can give you is to make sure that your tree is well nourished. Perhaps it has exhausted the ground of the nutrients it needs and this is why it hasn't been so productive over the last 4 years. It may also explain why the other tree, just a short space away, is also ailing.
Try giving your mulberry trees a good, general purpose fertilizer such as blood and bone in the late winter. Apply at a rate of 2 oz a square yard (70 g/square meter). Dig it lightly into the soil all around the tree. Remember that the extent of the roots will go to the edge of the tree's canopy, so place the fertilizer right to the end of the root line.
In the following spring you can apply a mulch of well-rotted manure around the tree, making sure that you do not place it too close to the trunk, as this can cause disease.
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