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May 19, 2018
I had a young tree transplanted in early March. It is a mulberry I think. I planted
it when it was just a bare root twig 3 or 4 years ago, complements of the Arbor Day
Foundation. Now it’s well over 15 feet tall. Question: The trunk and branches are
green but there are no leaves. Is there something I should do? Will it live without
It will not live without leaves to manufacture food. We did have some setbacks this
spring with late freezes and I am sure it has gone through a bit of shock of transplant.
By now, most plants have rebounded and started to put on new foliage, but if there
is still green wood, give it some more time to see if it leafs out. Water when dry,
but if you see nothing by June 1, I would cut it back and see if it possibly sprouts
back from the root system.
May 21, 2016
Please help us identify this tree (pics attached). Over the weekend, the Cedar Waxwing
birds were having a feast on the berries, which resembled a small raspberry or blackberry.
We searched through the latest edition of "Trees of Arkansas" and could not find a
The plant in question is a mulberry tree. The fruit when totally ripe is edible for
human consumption too, but you will have a hard time beating the birds to it. Once
birds start feasting, they often send some messy missiles on patio furniture and the
December 26, 2015
I have an old mulberry tree and the fruit for the past few years looks like popcorn.
I went to a local nursery and they told me to try lime, but it didn’t make a difference.
Do you have any suggestions to try for next year?
Without seeing the fruit I am going to say that lime was not effective because the
problem was not related to a nutritional or pH deficiency but rather a disease or
possibly insect. There are two potential causes—one is a disease and one is an insect.
There is a disease commonly called popcorn disease of mulberry. It is caused by the
fungus Ciboria carunculoides. Individual parts of the fruit called carpels are replaced by a fungal organism,
which enlarge and extend beyond healthy berries. The resulting fruits look a bit
like popped corn. Sanitation is your best method of control. Remove all the spent
fruit from the tree and under it and destroy it. It wouldn’t hurt to spray the tree
this winter with dormant oil. Then see what happens next year. While fungicides
are not normally recommended there has been some success with a preventative spray
of Bordeaux mix (a copper/lime fungicide) as the tree is leafing out. Another possibility
is damage from a stink bug. These insects have a piercing-sucking type of mouthpart.
In order to obtain the nutrients of the liquid part of the fruit, stink bugs use these
mouthparts in a straw-like fashion by piercing the fruit. The resulting damage can
cause individual parts of the berry to turn white and be damaged.
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