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Established mulberry – needing to espalier – doable? and how?

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    **I just realised I’ve posted this in the wrong section. Sorry… :blush: if someone wouldn’t mind moving it for me please to the right one?**

    We have an established mulberry that fruits twice a year. I prune it every year… except last year I was unwell and didn’t and that didn’t go down well with the neighbour… :pinch:

    I was thinking that I should try and turn it’s ‘negative’ (it grows like it’s on steriods) into a positive. Currently it’s upward growth is what presents a problem and it really just goes nuts after every single prune. So I thought maybe I could selectively prune it then train it to a ‘rustic’ espalier (rough). There’s more than enough fence to the left and right, I thought it would get better sun and even more fruit (though it already produced heaps for it’s size anyway).

    It’s currently in got the fence behind it and the edge of the canopy of a large ‘peppermint’ tree in front of it (the peppermint needs a prune but it’s not something I can do so it has to wait). So it’s going up out of neccessity for sun – I thought if I could get it to go left and right instead of up, that would keep the tree, the neighbour (and me) happy.

    I’ve Googled different techniques and pruning advice but none that really specifically deal with espaliering an established tree.

    So I wondered what you all thought… will it work?

    If it doesn’t, apart from prune prune prune, the only other option is to take it out which I really don’t want to do.

    Cheers for reading.


    Mulberry trees are very hardy so I don’t think it would matter which way you trained it. Having said that, I would be easier to train the new growth. When we espaliered our plums we used a couple of star posts and an old piece of trellis in between.


    I reckon if you gave it a really fierce ‘haircut’ and then a good feed of fertaliser in Spring you should have success.


    Espallier is not usually attempted with mature trees, that is why you would have struggled finding anything useful on the Internet. That is not to say that you won’t be able to do it well.

    I say give it a go, you may lose a season’s fruit if you do it wrong. Mulberry trees can be coppiced. Worst case scenario you hack the poor thing down with a chainsaw, the stump sends up shoots, and you espalier from there.

    Good luck with it!


    Mulberry is a very forgiving tree its a good one to practice an unconventional late espalier transition on.

    Ive done a fair bit of espalier but only on young trees but go for it.I would .


    Just wanted to share how it’s going. I think we’re getting there 🙂 Which is good because while I prefer trees to be ‘as is’, the choice was try and make the espalier work, or it would have to come out (or be hard pruned every year to keep it tiny) due to neighbour issues.

    anyway, this is where it’s at right now 🙂 Very happy. Thanks for all the suggestions and thoughts on how/why/if!

    eta didn’t have any luck with the photo coming up. off to problem solve then try again 🙂

    Attached files


    looks great KristyMumTo4

    dont stress over the photos, its a forum issue


    What a great job you’ve done! I love mulberries for their resilience, they love a hard pruning and bear so much better for it. May you have a summer full of delicious fruit!


    Looking good!

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