Pakistan Mulberry Overview:
This is a delicious early ripening fruit which is similar in flavor to a raspberry but without the hard/crunchy seeds. It has been a fast growing trouble free tree for me.
- The Pakistan Mulberry is sweet with a mild raspberry-like flavor and subtle richer overtones. They are the sweetest when they are very dark and become “dull” (when they lose their glossy shine).
- It is not quite as tart as a raspberry and a bit less juicy. In fact, this fruit is rather dry compared to other fruits and has an almost vegetable quality. As a comparison, the Pakistan Mulberry is firmer and dryer than the Persian Mulberry, which makes it less messy/easier to handle. A major plus for this fruit is that there are no crunchy seeds to get stuck in your teeth like a raspberry.
- The berry can be eaten whole. However, there is a stringy central core to the fruit which is edible but does not add much value to the taste. Therefore, some people like to strip the berry clean of the central core by pulling the fruit through their teeth and discarding the core. Myself, I find this slows me down and I would rather just eat the whole thing.
- The fruit will first reveal itself with the opening of the leaf buds; the leaves and unripe fruit unravel together. The green fruit will turn red and then nearly black when fully ripe.
- As expected, the darker fruit is riper and has a better flavor. However, sometimes you may want to pick the fruit before it reaches its prime because of hungry birds or squirrels. If the fruit has some color on it when picked, it will ripen off the tree (in the safety of your kitchen). Regardless, the less ripe fruit with some green on it is not too bad either, just not as good.
- The fruit will generally fall into your hand with a tap or gentle tug when it’s ready. Don’t forget to look around the ground because some excellent fruit will fall off the tree when in its prime.
This is an early ripening mulberry. This year and last year, the tree started producing fruit in April and will likely continue into June.
- It is a very fast growing tree and needs to be diligently pruned to keep it manageable.
- It is semi-deciduous (at least in Southern California) which means it drops some- but not all of its leaves in the winter. So the few remaining leaves on the tree make it look a bit sad in the winter months. As a result, it is not a great looking specimen for the colder parts of the year. Therefore consider the backyard and not the front of the house. However, in the summer it is a beautiful healthy looking tree with abundant large heart shaped leaves.
- The tree has been reported to grow up to 70 feet, but typically tops out around 30 feet in height. Plant the tree a good distance from your house, sidewalk or driveway to avoid future hassle.
- The Pakistan Mulberry tree can handle all sorts of terrible soil, but the soil must be well draining.
- The initial hole I dug for my plant was about 3x the size of the pot it came in. I mixed about 1 /4 grow mulch with 3 /4 native soil. Since my soil is basically clay and DG, I tried to keep the final mix less dense by only lightly packing the soil around the root ball.
- Click here to see my 6/9/13 post on the best planting technique to avoid transplantation shock.
The tree is said to be mildly drought tolerant (once established) because they have a deep root system.
Full sun is best, but the Pakistan Mulberry is adaptable.
I have been going light on fertilization because the plant grows so fast and looks so green.
Southern California coastal zones seem to be ideal for the Pakistan Mulberry. This is a “low chill” variety fruit tree but can withstand temps down to 25 degrees F.
- The tree is currently (and has been) bug free without the use of insecticides.
- A major problem is fighting the birds and squirrels for the fruit. I use Holographic Bird Scare Tape that works rather well at keeping the birds away. If you are going to use glitter tape, it is best to only use it during the fruit season so that the birds don’t get use to it. A very similar product is Flash Tape but I haven’t tried that.
- Bird netting is another option but the tree grows so fast during the fruiting season that it may become a tangled mess that damages growing leaves.
- Another option is to pick the fruit just before they are fully red and let them ripen inside the house.
- Because ground Squirrels also love the fruit. I suggest that you go out of your way to pick the fallen fruit off the ground before the rodents figure it out. The less they know the better.
- UPDATE: A thoughtful reader just informed me of another significant threat to mulberry trees (see 5/14/13 comment below). Squirrels may also devour the leaves of a mulberry tree- stripping it of of all of its leaves. Yikes!
- The fruit tastes wonderful just off the tree it is hard to eat just a few.
- The Pakistan Mulberry is also used for just about anything you would use a raspberry for: muffins, cakes, pies, cobbler, tarts, jams, etc.
- Some people also simmer the fruit with red wine and spices to create a sauce for red meat or game birds.
- The original Pakistan Mulberry cuttings that were brought into the US were from Islamabad.
- The Pakistan Mulberry tree has been known to live for hundreds of years in Pakistan and Asia Minor.
- Silkworms only eat fresh mulberry leaves
- Pakistan Mulberry is also known as the Himalayan Mulberry and Shatoot.