Saturday, January 12, 2013

Mulberry Tree Cuttings

I wrangled Farmer Thomas into helping me make some tree cuttings today.  Afterall, what are brother-in-laws for?

 Cuttings are branches of a plant, in this case a mulberry tree, that you use to propagate another plant from.  You can cut the branches with or without leaves.  We needed to prune our mulberries anyways and there's less work that needs to be done in the winter, so we decided to do winter pruned branches.

You don't need to use rooting hormone.  Mulberries have a great success rate without the hormone, but if you are a bit paranoid (especially when doing as many cuttings as we did), then feel free to use it.  

Poor Thomas had to pickaxe his way through the soil so we could plant.  Luckily it wasn't frozen.


Some of the visitors to our farm helped us cut the branches into two foot sections (see how many we did!).

We dipped the end of the branch in rooting hormone, making sure at least one node got covered.  A node is the little bump that the new branches come from.  When these are underground, they form roots instead of branches.  Make sure at least 2 or 3 nodes get buried underground.

We planted them in lowered beds to make it easier to get water to them (we're in the desert remember).  The sticks were planted about a foot apart diagonally in a 1 2 1 2 pattern like this  -=-=-=-=-=-  Hopefully they'll all grow and then we'll dig them out and transplant them in various spots around the property and we will soon have the shadiest farm in the desert!  Plus mulberry leaves are very nutritious for livestock as the trees collect minerals from the ground and deposit them in the leaves.  Just remember that when mulberry leaves die, they become poisonous  (Looks like I am wrong about this.  I've always been told they were poisonous, but please read this blog post about how wonderful th leaves are even when they are dry!). We've never had an animal-even the goats- try to eat dead leaves as the poison makes them bitter, but keep it in mind.  You can also get fruiting mulberries which are yummy, but can be messy.  We have fruiting mulberries planted over the poultry areas so the birds will eat them when they fall off the tree.  Have fun planting!