Can you prune back a large mulberry tree?
Murk leaves a comment on my post about pruning mulberry trees to keep them small:
We have two Mulberry trees they are really big, the trunks about 12″ to 15″ round the roots are coming out of the ground. The back yard is small 65′ by 30″for two Mulberry trees. We do not know what to do with them. We are worried about our house because the ground is raised where the roots are and the roots are good size. The roots are growing towards the house. We need to know what to do with them. Do you?
If the trees are simply too big and you face a choice between removing them and pruning them, just prune them.
I recommend coppicing them during dormancy – like right now, at the end of winter! – and letting them regrow from there.
Coppicing dormant trees is much safer than pruning them when they are actively growing. Just cut them down and let shoots grow back, and then keep that regrowth under control so the trees don’t become gigantic again.
Seriously: just chainsaw the trees right down to around ground level. Right now.
When the tree wakes up it will put up lots of new shoots. You can select a few of them to keep growing and remove the rest, or just let them all grow into a big fluffy mulberry bush.
As for the roots, they’ll stop being a problem. Extra roots die off when the top of a tree is removed, as they are no longer needed for supporting a large canopy.
If you’re going to take the trees out and lose their production anyhow – but you still like mulberry – flip a coin and cut them down to the ground instead and let them regrow. If they die, they die. If they don’t, you’ll still have fruit without a gigantic tree.
Also, I would totally have a guy with a sawmill turn the cut trunks into lumber. Mulberry wood can be beautiful.
Just my two cents.