Coppicing mulberries in containers

onafixedincome(z8-9 CA)February 18, 2013

I'm working on a practical research project, which involves planting about a hundred mulberry trees of various cultivars in containers and expecting them to stay there, survive, and produce mega foliage for fodder over the course of 10-15 years.

I need you guys' help! What size pot is going to work best (I need the smallest reasonable size--am thinking 18x18x24 inches deep) to support a 'tree' whose trunk will stand perhaps 18" tall...but which has pollarded/coppiced knobs in a candelabra style framework for maximum new branch production. What substrate and fertilizer regimen is most likely to give me what I need?

This type of production is done in-ground in many places for silkworm fodder, but my premise is that it can be done with excellent yield results in containers. I anticipate harvesting each tree's production half-at-a-time, with about 4-6 harvests per year, per tree. The idea is to have large, lush leaf production on vigorous new branches as often as possible.

I'm thinking that the 18" square, 24" deep pots, set in plastic trays to prevent ground access by enthusiastic roots, may work the best for what I have in mind...

Your input is MOST appreciated, and I'm looking forward to your suggestions.

Thank you!

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"premise is that it can be done with excellent [better] yield results in containers"

You should test your premise before committing to 100 tree containers.

I'd guess that trees would produce much more in the ground than a container. And trees in containers that "small" would need a lot of TLC with precise watering, precise fertilizing, precise mix, ...

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 2:27PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

..... and regular repotting (repotting is more involved than potting up, and includes root pruning). For producing biomass, bigger (containers) is better; and unless you have significant native soil issues, trees in the ground will perform much better with less effort on your part.

What you can or should use for a medium ultimately depends on several as yet undefined factors. Your fertilizer should probably be something close to a 3:1:2 ratio (different than NPK %s).


    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 6:15PM
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Interesting thread as i will try growing mulberry plant in container as well starting of with 1 or 2 this season.
I grow figs in containers so will try this as well.

Tapla where you been ? ; )

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 10:43AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Hi there! figs & mulberries are very closely related - both in the family Moraceae. You can treat the entire Morus genus like you do F carica.

I've been busy .... and we have a new puppy, which seems to take more time than I remember. ;-)


    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 12:13PM
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