Whether you’re tired of your existing berry garden or are experiencing an invasion of wild berry bushes, several cultural, physical, and chemical solutions are available to kill a wide variety of berry bushes.
Many homeowners opt to plant mulberry trees in their yards. It is because they proliferate in most soil types and produce sweet-tart fruit.
Having a mulberry tree on your property has its pros and cons.
A major pro is there is plenty of vitamin and antioxidant-rich berries to eat. A con is that they leave a juicy mess to clean up.
Even if you collect some of the delicious berries for eating or baking, there’s no way to get them all. Leaving berries to litter your property and stain cement surfaces.
The mulberry, a deciduous tree, gets categorized into four species. They can also hybridize. White mulberry (Morus alba), contorted mulberry (Morus australis “Unryu”), and black mulberry (Morus nigra) grow broadly. Red mulberry (Morus rubra) survives in a smaller range of zones.
Mulberries add beauty to a lawn with their abundant growth. They can also complicate lawn maintenance.
Mulberry trees grow large, usually ranging from 20 to 60 feet. Their roots expand horizontally to take up a great deal of space. It means they need to get far back from buildings, pavement, and other structures.
Mulberry roots are shallow too. Meaning these trees thrive best on a flat stretch of lawn rather than a slope.
Mulberry trees, which grow best in a sunny location, will add shade to your lawn. Unfortunately, this may suppress the growth of your grass. Meaning you’ll need to landscape beneath the tree with shade-tolerant species.
Mulberries attract birds. It may be a nuisance for those with white driveways and shiny cars. As fruit turns from green to white to red to black, so do bird droppings.
When mulberry fruit ripens to its reddish black color, it eventually drops. It leaves a smelly sticky mess that attracts various insects, mostly annoying houseflies.
Cleaning Up After Mulberry Trees
The berry-like fruits of fruiting mulberry species can become messy. If you wish to attract birds to your yard, but, the fruits will do that.
Fruitless varieties are available as well, such as the Morus alba varieties “Fan San,” “Fruitless,” and “Stribling.”
Mulberry leaves also require clean-up. Although the leaves of many varieties bring bright color to a yard in the fall. Also, the leaves will make a valuable contribution to a home compost bin. It will enrich your lawn and garden by adding nutrients back into the soil.
How Do You Deal With A Mulberry Tree?
Here are great pointers on how to get rid of Mulberry trees from your lawn:
- Lay large plastic tarps on the ground, around the base of the mulberry tree, once the berries are ripe. Place the tarps to extend away from the tree trunk. To cover the entire area beneath the tree and its branches.
- Allow the mulberries to fall naturally over the next few days.
- Remove ripe berries still on the tree by raking over the branches with a yard rake. Allow the mulberries to fall to the tarp.
- Wear latex gloves to prevent purple and pink stains on your fingers and hands. Collect the fallen berries in a bucket. Repeat steps 2 and 3 every few days for a week or two until the ripened mulberries get removed.
- Roll up the plastic tarps and discard them in the trash. Next, rake the grass with the yard rake to gather up mulberries from the ground.
- Scoop the raked mulberries into a shovel and throw them away in a trash bag. Remove as many mulberries from the ground as possible. It is to avoid stepping on them and spreading the stains elsewhere.
- Cut the stems of the plant down to the root ball. Then, with gloved hands, bundle the stems in a tarp. Do this without leaving behind any bits of the plant on the ground. A new bush can grow from a short stem cutting.
- Dig down and around the root ball of the bush. Digging up the root ball won’t eradicate the plant. Since blackberries can propagate via rhizomes, it will make tilling the soil easier.
- Till the soil to destroy any new blackberry growth. Till the soil once a week or whenever you see new plantlets.
- Cover the soil with heavy plastic and a 4 to 5-inch layer of mulch.
Plow or till the berry bush into the soil with a mechanical garden tiller. It is one of the best options for widespread wild berry bushes. It destroys the above-ground section of the plant while disrupting the underground roots. However, if the specific berry variety you’re battling spreads by seed, this method creates the perfect bed of bare soil for fallen seeds to sprout.
- Clip back tall stems at their bases and carefully dispose of the cuttings.
- Cut the plant down to the ground using a lawnmower.
- Repeat the process weekly. While mowing stimulates the growth of roots and the formation of suckers, the plant will eventually starve without leaves for photosynthesis.
Apply a topical herbicide such as glyphosate or triclopyr to the leaves and stems of the bush. It is essential to spray the bush at the time of year when it is moving sugars from its leaves into underground storage. Bushes consisting of only first-year canes should get sprayed in the late summer. In contrast, bushes with second-year canes should get treated in the fall.
Alternately, treat the soil around the bush with a herbicide such as tebuthiuron. Be aware that tebuthiuron is nonselective. It will kill grass, flowers, and other shrubs near the blackberry bush.
Retreat the blackberry bushes the following season if necessary.
- Do not spray herbicides on plants whose fruit might get eaten.
- Always follow application directions for any herbicide used.
- Keep children and pets away from the treated area until the product dries and does not apply on a windy day.
Organic Method To Kill Mulberry Trees
If you choose not to use a chemical treatment, no fear. To rid yourself of a mulberry tree problem, there are organic methods you can try. Homemade weed killers like white vinegar in a spray bottle can get used in place of herbicides. Or, you can treat the stump with rock salt.
The details are as follows:
If you’ve ever observed how quickly salt can make a wet, icy sidewalk dry, then you know salt’s power as a desiccant. When used as a tree killer, salt absorbs the moisture in the tree so it turns brown and eventually dies. Salt works well as a desiccant when it’s diluted in water. Means you could pour saltwater around the root zone. But this increases the soil salinity, making the area unsuitable for new plants. Instead, drill several holes in the top of a tree stump or at a downward angle in the sides of the trunk. Use a 1/2″ drill with an auxiliary handle and wood auger bit. Using a funnel, pour rock salt in to fill the holes. Cover the holes with sheet plastic or tape, and wait a few weeks for the tree to die. Repeat application as needed, keeping the holes packed full.
Household vinegar burns plant leaves and can also burn the living tissue inside a tree. White vinegar contains 5 percent acetic acid. Compared to 20 percent acetic acid from horticultural vinegar. The topical application of white vinegar to the leaves alone is not enough to completely kill a tree. Killing the leaves prevents the tree from photosynthesizing. It prevents transferring carbohydrates to the roots. It can slowly kill it. To speed up the process, you need a way to get the vinegar to the roots. Do this without drastically increasing the acidity in the soil for future plants. Drill holes in the trunk or top of the stump and fill them with vinegar. Check back frequently to add more as the tree drinks the vinegar. Large trees die within a month but will die even faster when you use vinegar along with the salt treatment.
A tree’s leaves soak up the sun, turning that energy into carbohydrates. It is to feed the tree in a process called photosynthesis. If sunlight cannot reach the tree, photosynthesis cannot occur. The tree fails to thrive — the same thing that would happen if you plant a tree that needs full sun in the shade. To block out sunlight and kill the tree, drape a tarp or thick drop cloth over it. You can tie the cloth around the trunk beneath the canopy, or cover the trunk as well and stake the cover to the ground. This option is not practical for very large trees, but can slowly kill small to medium-size trees.
Proper mulch application around trees can boost their growth. This is by retaining moisture, cooling roots, and providing organic matter to the soil. Mulch should get spread no more than about 3 inches thick. So oxygen can reach the roots, and with a few inches around the trunk free of mulch to prevent infestation and rot. In the same way that the right amount of mulch can be advantageous, too much mulch applied can slowly kill a tree. To use mulch as a tree killer, spread it in a layer about 8 to 10 inches thick, built up in a mound tight against the trunk. This invites insects and varmints. They feast on the tree trunk, encourage retention of too much moisture, and promote shallow roots. It makes the tree unstable. This completely non-toxic method can take several months or longer to kill a tree completely.
Ways of Preventing Mulberry Tree root problems
- Mulberry tree roots get attracted to leaks in plumbing lines and sprinkler systems. They also will move toward the wet areas around your foundation created by rain gutters and downspouts. Poor grading around your home will also cause water to sit. If you pay attention to these issues and remedy them, mulberry tree root growth will not get encouraged.
- Choosing a location away from sidewalks and driveways to plant a mulberry tree is the best preventative step. These trees get cultivated for their dense branches and leaf growth. They made ideal shade and windbreak trees. The density of the above-ground growth gets matched by root systems that can dominate the soil in the area of the tree.
- Some arborists say that there are no terrible trees, only poor locations. For example, bird and berry droppings from a mulberry tree dictate that it should have space further from the house, septic systems, and irrigation systems. Also, avoid planting them where you park your car as they create purple stains on vehicles.
The only other method to try for preventing mulberry fruit is to use a chemical application.
These chemicals can get applied by you or by a licensed tree company.
Chemically preventing Mulberry fruit can get made by sterilizing mulberry trees. It is with the use of such chemicals as Florel Fruit Eliminator. All conditions must be optimal. Including a lack of disease or insect infestation, enough irrigation, excellent drainage, and soil conditions.
An issue with any of these puts the tree under stress, causing its natural production of ethylene. Too much ethylene will damage the tree. It causes defoliation, stem damage, and leaf scorch. For this reason, professionals have a difficult time determining the best time for application.
A professional company may also use a deflowering hormonal solution. It gets applied as a basal or tree trunk panacea for mulberry fruit tree sterilization. Known as Snipper, this is an acid solution that is micro-injectable and again, has a window of optimum opportunity for use. All hormonal sprays should get applied during flowering before the fruit set. This timing is crucial and any derivation will result in wasted time and money.
Other chemicals may be useful for mulberry sterilization. Consult with an arborist or the like for professional grade information. Professional application is likely to be costly, so keep that in mind. If all else fails, consider the removal of the tree, although that costs a pretty penny too!) and replanting of a less disorderly specimen.