Mulberry - a tree that returns youth
Representatives of the mysterious mulberry family are found all over the globe. Ficus, rubber tree, cow tree, breadfruit and, finally, mulberry - they are all from this family. Huge evergreen and deciduous trees, creepers, perennial herbaceous forms inhabit large areas on the earth. In the southern regions and the middle zone of the Russian Federation and the CIS, mulberry or mulberry tree is widely spread, the fruits of which are used for food, and silkworm “worms” are fed with leaves, whose cocoons are used to obtain natural silk threads. In Central Asia, mulberries are called the king tree and the king berry for its medicinal properties. In the countries of Central Asia and China, mulberries are dried for the future and fed to old parents to extend their healthy life.
The content of nutrients in mulberry
Mulberry fruits in their composition give health to lovers of these delicious berries. They contain glucose and fructose, organic acids. They include vitamins C, E, K, PP, a complex of B vitamins and carotene. The "periodic table" is widely represented in berries. A number of macrocells (calcium, sodium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and others) and trace elements (zinc, selenium, copper, iron) are part of mulberry fruit. King berry is an excellent dietary product. The content in the fruits, the strongest natural antioxidants - carotene, vitamin C and E, selenium, relieve the aging body of many diseases, has a rejuvenating property.
The use of mulberry for medicinal purposes
Official medicine uses the fruits of mulberry in the treatment of anemia caused by gastritis (with high acidity). In folk medicine, fresh juice, decoctions, infusions are an indispensable tool in the treatment of tonsillitis, tonsillitis, stomatitis of the biliary tract, gastrointestinal tract, pneumonia and bronchitis with lingering cough and many other diseases. Mulberry bark in the form of a decoction is the strongest anthelmintic. Infusion of berries will help with coughing, and leaves - with hypertension.
Mulberry is a deciduous tree, reaching 10-35 m in height with a powerful branched root. Life expectancy ranges from 200-500 years. Forms a powerful spreading crown. Leaves are simple, serrated, long-leaved, with the next arrangement along all shoots. For 4-6 years of life, forms a crop of berries. The fruits are edible, represented by the fruitfulness of drupes hidden in the overgrown fleshy perianth. The length of the fruits is 2-5 cm, white, pink, dark purple flowers. The taste of berries is sweet and sour, sweet, sugary-sweet with a pleasant light aroma. On light soils forms additional subordinate roots that strengthen the soil.
Mulberry (Morus, here, mulberry) is allocated in a separate genus, which is represented by about 20 species, but in home breeding, 2 species are most often used: black mulberry and white mulberry.
Biological features of black mulberry
The main distribution area of black mulberry is considered Afghanistan, Iran, Transcaucasia. These tall (up to 15 m) trees with a spreading crown are distinguished by brown-brown skeletal branches. Perennial branches are short, numerous, forming a dense shoot of young shoots inside the crown.
Leaves 7-15 cm, broadly ovate with a deep heart-shaped cut at the base, dark green, leathery. To the touch, the leaves are roughly rough from above, the underside is soft-haired. Trees are single- and dioecious. Fruits of dark red or black-violet color, shiny, sweet-sour taste.
Biological features of white mulberry
China is considered the birthplace of white mulberry, although it grows in all Asian countries. White mulberry reaches a height of up to 20 m. The color of the bark of the stem, in contrast to black mulberry, is brown with a large number of cracks. Young branches are grayish-green, sometimes also brown. Crohn is quite thick from the abundance of young shoots. Leaves are soft, grassy. They differ in appearance from each other.
Leaves are simple or three to five lobed with serrated edges, long-leaved. Petioles are covered with gentle pubescence. In the spring and summer, the color of the leaves is dark green, and in the fall - straw yellow. Dioecious trees, dioecious. The berries are very large (up to 5.5 cm), white, red and black, sugary-sweet.
Varieties of white mulberry have fruits not only white, but also red and black. One of such Black Baroness varieties forms early (June-July) large yields of large sweet berries with a faint pleasant aroma. Withstands brief frosts to -30 ° C.
A magnificent variety of black mulberry for home breeding "Shelley No. 150" is an excellent decorative foliage culture. The variety is bred in the Poltava region and is distinguished by huge leaves, which together with the petiole can reach 0.5 m in size. Berries up to 5.5 cm with high palatability. An adult tree forms up to 100 kg of berries.
The berries of the White Tenderness and Luganochka varieties differ in unusual taste and color. White and creamy pink fruits up to 5.0-5.5 cm.
Choosing a place to land
Mulberry belongs to centenarians. Mulberry trees can reach a height of up to 30-40 m, but in the conditions of a limited summer or house plot it is more practical to form a culture, especially in the middle lane, in the form of a bush or a low (2-4 m) tree. Photophilous culture, not demanding on soil conditions.
A well-developed branching form of the root system fixes sandy soils, forming numerous additional subordinate roots. Mulberry, unlike many crops, can grow on saline soils without compromising on the quality of berries and leaves (white mulberry) used for feeding silkworm caterpillars. It does not tolerate waterlogging.
At home, monoecious trees are often grown so as not to occupy too much space, but if the area of the plot allows, then a complex of a dioecious plant is planted nearby - male and female. If the culture is formed in the form of a tree, then the plants are placed at a distance of 2.5-3.5 m from each other. Shrub forms are planted after 0.5-1.0 m. A landing pit is prepared in the fall. The depth and width of the pit in the fall of 50x50x50 cm, in the spring can be expanded and deepened under the root system of the seedling.
The best time for planting is spring, but in the southern regions seedlings are also planted in the fall. The dug up soil is mixed with humus or mature compost (0.5 buckets), nitrophosphate or potassium phosphate fertilizer is added (2 matchboxes per seedling). The roots of the seedling are carefully spread on a tubercle of soil at the bottom of the pit and covered with prepared soil. Be careful! Mulberry roots are brittle, do not damage when compacting the soil. A bucket of water is poured under the seedling and the soil is mulched (peat, straw, dry weeds, other materials).
Mulberry needs watering up to 4-5 years of age. Adult plants, having a deeply penetrating root system, provide themselves with water on their own and do not need special watering. During a period of prolonged drought, so that the fruits are not crushed, 1-2 waterings are carried out. Watering is carried out in the first half of summer and stopped in the second decade of July. It is necessary that the young tree has time to ripen before frost, otherwise freezing of young annual shoots is observed.
Feeding young plantings of mulberry begins with 3 years of age. Fertilizing young seedlings is carried out with organic and mineral fertilizers for irrigation, followed by mulching of the trunk circle or soil around the bush. The norms and types of fertilizers are the same as for other garden crops.
Crown shaping and trimming
For the formation of mulberries in the form of a tree, leave a stem of 0.5-1.0 m, cutting off all side shoots to this height. The crown is formed spherical, in the form of a bowl or broom, not more than 2-4 m in height. For beginners in gardening, it is better to invite a specialist to form a mulberry crown.
It is more expedient to carry out forming pruning in the spring before the buds open, but at a temperature not lower than -10 * С. To limit the growth in height, the central shoot every 2 years is shortened by 1 / 3-1 / 4 of the length. If the crown is shaped like a ball, then the lower side branches are left shorter (cut 1/3) than the middle ones (cut 1/4). And from the middle of the future ball up shorten in the reverse order. When forming a bush with a crown in the shape of a broom, do not emit a central shoot, but carry out pruning at the same height. The bush is usually formed from root shoots, leaving 3-4 of the strongest shoots.
Sanitary pruning (removal of old, diseased, dry, growing inside the crown) shoots and branches is carried out in the autumn after leaf fall 1 time in several years. If the young growth did not have time to ripen, it can be immediately trimmed or left for spring sanitary pruning.
To form a weeping form, cut branches on the lower and lateral buds (the branches will bend down). When creating this form, strong pruning will not damage the decorativeness of the tree, but the yield will be lower due to the thinness of the crown.
Anti-aging pruning on the mulberry is carried out when chopping berries and reducing yield. In this case, all branches are shortened to the same length (about 1/3), thin out the crown, cutting out the oldest (1-2 branches).
Mulberry propagates by seeds, vegetatively (root shoots and layering), green cuttings, grafting.
At home, it is most rational to propagate mulberry vegetatively, separating young shoots from the mother plant in spring. In the south, propagation by shoots can also be carried out in autumn. A long warm period allows the young seedling to take root well.
By grafting on one tree you can form a melange crop. Unusual will be a tree with white, red, black, pink berries.
Mulberry berries ripen gradually, so the collection is repeated many times. Harvest selectively manually or lay a film under the crown and shake off ripe berries. Harvest, depending on the variety, ripens from the third decade of May to the end of August.
The use of mulberry in design
On city streets, in parks and green landings of recreation corners, mulberry is often used in solitary and group plantings, in the form of hedges. In group plantings, they often use the pyramidal shape, and to decorate the paths and rest corners - weeping. The branches with large leaves and berries falling to the ground are unusually decorative. Trees retain their decorativeness in the winter, surprising with artistic curly trimming of old and young branches. For park workers, low trees with a spherical crown have recently been used.
Interesting about Mulberry
- The oldest mulberry grows in a monastery on the Brittany Peninsula. The crown of a 200-year-old tree has a habitus of more than 600 sq.m.
- In St. Petersburg, the first plantings of mulberry appeared at the beginning of the twentieth century. From the planting, 1 tree was preserved, whose age is more than 100 years.
- In the botanical garden of Kiev grow mulberry trees, which were planted by Peter the Great.
- Mulberry wood is used to make musical instruments.
- Every year, a silkworm festival is held in Cyprus. The unique caterpillar, blind and unable to fly, is highly respected and respected by the Cypriots for their ability to produce silk thread.
- The silkworm caterpillar in 1 month increases its mass by 10 thousand times, although it sheds 4 times during this period.
- To get 1 kg of raw silk, 5.5 thousand silkworms need to be fed about a ton of white mulberry leaves.
- For 3-4 days, the silkworm builds its cocoon from silk thread 600-900 m long. To create 1 m of natural silk, 2.8-3.3 thousand silkworm cocoons are required.
- The tests found that 16 layers of natural silk withstand a bullet from Magnum 357 with a lead core.