I recently visited ECHO and saw this mulberry hedge:
Mulberry trees aren’t just great sources for delicious berries – they’re also good for feeding animals. Some varieties even make leaves that are a good cooked green for the table – but you’d have to ask my friend Josh Jamison at H.E.A.R.T. about that. He’s growing a wide variety and testing them for flavor.
Pruning mulberry trees can be done repeatedly. People freak out when they hear the maximum height some species can attain, then say “I’ll never plant that tree in my yard!”
Quit living in fear. You are the gardener. You control the height of your trees!
I recently posted a video showing some heavily pruned mulberry trees and how they’ve grown sideways, making them quite pickable:
You can also bend the branches down like I did with some of my peach and mulberry trees up in North Florida:
Of all the trees you can grow, mulberries are one of the easiest, most productive and most versatile.
Imagine planting a hedge of them tightly together like in the top image, then cutting as needed. This mulberry hedge could provide you with:
- A fence
- Limbs for biochar
- Leaves to eat
- Berries to eat
- Biomass for the compost pile
- Fuel for a rocket stove
- Fodder for goats
- Wind protection
- Endless cuttings
…and I’m sure there are many more uses I haven’t thought about yet.
You can make tight hedges like these with other trees and shrubs as well. Good candidates include osage orange, moringa trees, cassias (great for planting in lines between row crops – compost and nitrogen-fixation!), cassava… heck, you could do this with a big mix of species and just see what happens.
Trees that start from cuttings, like willows, have even been used to make highly ornamental fences.
Nature is resilient. Test her and see.