Victor sent pictures of his mulberry tree, post pruning:
In my previous post, it looked like this:
I told him he could hack the living daylights out of it, but in his words:
“Like Moses tapping the stone, however, I hedged about cutting down to 4 feet and it’s more in the range of 5. Reverse of a rule in illustration- it’s always easier to add something to an image than edit it out- I feel like I’m in a position to cut some more if you think I haven’t gone far enough.”
He’s right – if you cut too far, you can’t add back. However, I had to learn that with mulberries (and peaches, incidentally), what seems like severe pruning rarely is. Most of the time, I wish I’d cut farther. By mid-summer I’m always saying “wait! Slow down, tree!”
Look at this peach for example. That sort of low, spreading form happens when you prune the young tree to around ONE FOOT from the ground. That’s severe! But it makes for a very manageable tree.
Victor’s mulberry will grow back and jump for the sky. And there’s always next year to prune more. I would probably take off a lot more of the small branches if it were me, but I didn’t start off pruning that way. I learned how much trees could take over time and had to be encouraged by people like Paul Miller of Rainbow Star Farm in Gainesville to see just how much potential a tree can have when tightly controlled. It feels like you’re going to kill it but you probably won’t.