UACES Facebook Mulberry


May 21, 2016

QuestionPlease 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 suitable match.

picture of mulberry tree


AnswerThe 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 like.


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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