Every big Australian backyard should have a mulberry tree not only because they provide delicious berries but they also provide excellent shade. Their juicy crimson black, red or white fruit is rarely sold in mainstream supermarkets because it does not keep for long after being picked. Trees are fast growing and can grow up to 10m tall and 10m wide, depending on the variety, but the size can be controlled by regular pruning or growing trees as espaliers. Dwarf varieties are also available and can be kept to about 3m if pruned immediately after fruiting. Mulberry trees are a fast growing tree when young which makes them an ideal choice for a new garden.
If you have ever wondered how to grow mulberries in Perth then look no further. A relatively simple berry to grow there are a few tricks to successfully growing mulberries in Perth, Western Australia but get these right and you will be laughing.
Mulberry growing conditions:
Although trees prefer rich, well-drained soil, they cope well in our dry climate but do not like strong coastal winds. For a good thick crop of mulberries make sure they get plenty of water in the weeks leading into bud burst (when the plant first comes into leaf) and through summer to ensure full, juicy berries. While mulberries grow in part shade they do perform best when planted in full-sun locations. Plants sold in nurseries are usually self pollinating but seedling grown plants are usually male or female. Female plants will fruit, as long as there is another plant to pollinate it. Male plants do not produce fruit. Fruit will not ripen after it is picked so therefore should be picked fully ripe.
Trees grown for late spring and summer fruit are the black mulberry, the red American mulberry, and the white-fruited forms Shahtoot and Mulberry alba. The two most popular black-fruited varieties are English Black, which is the biggest tree ans suited to cold climates, and Hicks Fancy, which is a smaller tree that needs annual pruning because fruit is produced on new season’s growth. The Shahtoot mulberry grows from 5-7m tall and has deservedly become one of the most popular varieties. It has 5-10cm long fruit with clusters and comes with either red or white fruits which have a sweet apricot flavour. The weeping mulberry is grown as a feature tree and is a standard grafted at about 2m. The weeping branches have heart-shaped leaves and will cascade to the ground or can be cut higher so the trunk is visible. The small fruits are edible but a bit dry. They are well suited for muffins and cakes.
Storing mulberries at home:
Store mulberries in the fridge for up to two days. Place the mulberries on a flat surface or a plate lined with paper towel and cover with plastic wrap. Only wash them when you’re ready to eat as washing them before they go in the fridge will cause them to go mushy. You can also freeze mulberries which is a better option to make them last longer.
How to freeze mulberries:
Mulberries are only in season for a few weeks in late spring and early summer so freezing them is a great option to enjoy the for a longer amount of time during the year.
- Wash the mulberries – Before placing mulberries in the freezer, you need to wash the mulberries; This will remove bacteria that could be lurking on the berries, such as salmonella, E. coli. Wash the mulberries under cool water and let them drain for a few minutes in a colander.
- Single Layer Freeze – Freezing the mulberries in a single layer will ensure that the berries will remain separate once they are frozen. Spread the whole, washed mulberries on a piece of baking paper. Freeze the mulberries, uncovered, for 2-3 hours.
- Transfer mulberries to containers – Once the mulberries are frozen, you can transfer them to containers or freezer bags. Label and date the bags or containers. If you are wondering how long can you store mulberries in the freezer? You can store mulberries in the freezer for up to 6 months. They are still fine to eat after that, but their quality and flavour will not be as good.
If you have any tips on how to grow mulberries please feel free to share them in the comments section below.
Check out how to grow other berries in Perth: