Possible to determine if true Morus rubra vs M. alba hybrid?

kamereone(MA z5b/a)

Is there a way to determine if the red fruited mulberry I have is a true Morus rubra (and thus an endangered native species) or is a hybrid with the invasive Morus alba?

Thanks :)

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Atlamol

Go on line, Purdue University has a fact sheet that does a good job on the subject. The two species are actually quite different. Can you post some photos here?

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kamereone(MA z5b/a)

Neither of them has leafed out yet, so I'll get some better pictures when they do - will probably have to get a ladder to get a shot of the foliage, they're huuuuge trees. I haven't a clue how old they are, though I'm sure the little-old-ladies who grew up here will talk my ear off if asked - should be able to narrow down which pair was here first. ;)

Their proximity to the barn foundation (which is give or take 300yrs old) makes me think they weren't intentionally planted. I'll have to keep an eye out for other specimens... I don't recall seeing any others on the property (10 acres) and can't think of any others in town.

Long term bottom line question is, if these are true morus rubra, and thus endangered, what sort of limitations will that entail? I'm obviously not planning on clearcutting and building a Quick-E-Mart or anything, but it would be nice to prune some of the really scary limbs so I'm not constantly flinching every time he wind blows.

Plant Identification - I've inherited a 5b/6a jungle... · More Info


Plant Identification - I've inherited a 5b/6a jungle... · More Info
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wisconsitom(Zone 4/5)

A proper pruning in no way compromises the tree, so that's a red herring. I suspect you are unsure how to proceed to get this done; While not a guarantee of quality, an ISA-certified arborist is a great start, and this does not look like a big job-cleaning up this neglected....and worse still-poorly pruned tree. Mostly just a "crown cleaning", which is not a mysterious term to arborists.

As to your question, I'm no Morus expert-let alone enthusiast-but I do admire your attention to detail regarding the tree's ID.

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kamereone(MA z5b/a)

I've been playing the "what the heck is this and how do I get rid of it" game with a tree line that's crowding in on a 300-yr-old farmhouse after a brute force attempt was met with vicious regrowth a couple years ago. Learned quick that knowing exactly what I was dealing with - in this case, an army of invasives - was the only way to make any progress.

When I read that there was an endangered native Morus, an invasive, and that they could cross, a sort of Schrodinger's tree... Well now I'm curious!

My experience with tree pruning is nil, it sounded like you were saying mine appear to have been poorly pruned in the past? Any basic pointers of what to look for to determine "good work" vs "poor" ?

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kamereone(MA z5b/a)

And we've got leaves!

okay so they're a bit young still...


not the best photos, lowest leaves I could get to without falling out of the tree.


speaking of bad pruning... My minimal knowledge of the art remembers something about straight vertical sprouts are a no-no. Meet tree #2, definitely the uglier of the two:



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Atlamol

Very coarse teeth; M. rubra has very fine teeth. So I don't think it's M. rubra. Not 100 percent sure it's M. alba, though; there's a Morus nigra, black mulberry as well, that has coarsely-toothed pubescent leaves. During the silkworm craze era of the 1830s, several varieties and species of Morus were brought in to New England.

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kvetchlambkin (nyc 7b)

Hi kamereone, did you manage to further identify the two mulberry trees? I've been looking into mulberry trees lately and read a few papers about how endangered and rare they've become. Apparently it's also common for many researchers and experts to misidentify the hybrids. I was just wondering so I'd be able to get some visual experience identifying the details between the two.

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