Morus rubra: Red Mulberry

Latin name: Morus rubra 
 Morus rubra: Red Mulberry
Common name: Red mulberry 
Flowers: Small greenish flowers on catkin-like spikes12
Fruit or cones: Red to purple 1” long fruits on female trees8
Height & Width: 40-70’ x 40-50’8
Type: Deciduous8
Wetland indicator category** or ***:  FAC17
Habit Upright-rounded10,12
Texture: Medium to coarse12
Growth rate: Medium18
Light: Full sun to part shade10,12
Moisture: Medium12
Soil*: Tolerates a variety of soil types10
Zones: 5 - 98
Origin: Midwestern to Southeastern United States, including South Carolina16

Features: Red mulberry is a medium-sized understory tree that provides sweet, edible fruits for human and animal consumption8,12. The inconspicuous flowers are a nectar source for butterflies, but the fruit is especially beneficial to songbirds8,12.

Siting: Morus rubra performs best in rich, moist soil with full sun to part shade conditions8,12. Female trees should be placed where fruit mess and stains will not be a nuisance12.

Care: Plant so root flare is visible at soil surface14. At planting, water the root ball daily with two gallons of water per inch of trunk diameter for two weeks, every other day for two months and then weekly until established. Modify water recommendations to reflect site drainage and rainfall. Apply 3” of mulch over the planted area. Do not allow mulch to touch the trunk14.

Pests: Bacterial blight on leaves, leaf spots, cankers, powdery mildew, mites and borers are possible pests, especially in southern states8,12.

Author: Allison Kelly