The PROBLEM with MULBERRIES
(Notice: Read with this in mind…although everything I will say is true, I have my tongue firmly planted in my cheek.)
Growing up I had the same good feelings about Mulberry that you had. After all, I had fun singing that song, too.
“Here we go ’round the Mulberry bush, the Mulberry bush, the Mulberry bush…so early in the morning.”
1) They are called “bushes” because they grow so fast, but they are trees.
2) Nobody gets up in that early morning to go ’round the Mulberry bush.
Other than the song, I had no familiarity with them as a child, so I experienced no “problems.”
However, as an adult I found a growing number of issues with Mulberry trees.
FIRST, I found I really did not like the berry that much. I found it to be a “watery” version of something much better. If I had no other fruit…for example, if the supply chain issues keep expanding so that problems were created for fruit growers, then it would become necessary to eat Mulberry. I do not claim to understand why we have such supply chain issues, but I have noticed the effect it has had on availability and prices of essential items (like TP or baby formula). So, although I am less than excited about Mulberry berries, I guess I would eat them if events forced the issue. “I would eat them in a house. I would eat them with a mouse…”
I have heard that one variety of Mulberry is responsible for the production of silk. Nevertheless, since I have always worked with my hands I am not overly fond of silk as a fabric. Rough hands and silk don’t get along. It used to be necessary for things like parachutes (strong and lightweight). But today there are so many stronger and less expensive fabrics.
SECOND, I found I did not like the pollen. Every spring its yellow-green pollen falls on EVERYTHING, and even ends up in the house for up to 6 weeks. If you are an allergy sufferer, like my wife who gets shots to reduce the severity of tree pollen, you recognize spring more as a lost season rather than an exciting time. As much as I enjoy watery eyes and sneezing, they can be disturbing when trying to carry on normal conversations. Who doesn’t love pollen dust all over their kitchen counters? Who doesn’t enjoy yellow-green dust all over patio furniture and puddles of yellow-green scum everywhere just after a light rain?
THIRD, I found I did not like bird behaviors when there was a producing Mulberry nearby. At our last house a nice neighbor had a maturing tree at the edge of her garden. The birds LOVED those things. And the expected happened. For months nothing outside was safe from purple droppings. NOTHING. Every year someone on the street had to return to their house to wash up and change clothes. During that time we could not sit on the deck without a canopy and a damp cleaning cloth. You cannot imagine how “special” you feel the moment something like that is splashed all over you.
By the way, birds are not the only enjoyers of this purple berry. In one area of a nearby city residents were shocked to find perhaps scores of rats descending upon their properties to participate in this annual delight.
FOURTH, as a direct result of the third point, seedlings began growing everywhere. Mulberry seedlings are decidedly and totally unlike Maple seedlings. They don’t give up! A maple seedling will be killed off by merely mowing the area. Not Mulberry! Nope! You have to dig up the entire root system for each seedling or it will re-grow. God help you if that location is exactly at a fence-line or in a yard-waste pile.
FIFTH, the plant grows incredibly fast. Pray one does not grow over your sewer line or right next to your foundation. They seek water sources with their long root systems and often damage foundations. They overwhelm desired tree-lines, sometimes growing up hidden inside the branches until they are too large to kill by digging up the roots, which now you could not do without killing your desired trees at the same time.
FINALLY, the immature fruit is actually toxic. It can temporarily change your personality (not in a good way) or make you feel very ill. Children (the ones singing that wonderful song) should be warned about this.
In conclusion, the only reason I can imagine for getting up early in the morning, in regard to Mulberry bushes, is to attempt to destroy as many of these horrible trees as humanly possible. Then one can relax with a sigh of satisfaction and enjoy the remainder of the day. If you truly enjoy the berries, it is best to befriend a DISTANT neighbor who ruefully owns one.
Don’t hate me for being honest about this tree. It clearly has a value…as long as it is not anywhere close enough for the pollen to reach my property or for a bird to fly over. If you are thinking of planting one…please consider the neighbors. How well do they respond to relentless irritations? Think of the poor young children who will have to sit inside on beautiful sunny spring days watching through locked-shut windows as pollen fills the air.
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