Mulberry Farming – Introduction
The mulberry is an important crop among ilk farmers. It is best known as the plant where the silkworm feeds on. the silkworm solely feeds on the leaves of this particular plant. Apart from that, the fruits are edible too. The fruits can be eaten raw or they can also be eaten as a part of many dishes.
The mulberry fruits come in different varieties. There are a lot of varieties for each of the colours f mulberry fruits. The fruits grow in clusters. They have many nutritional benefits. They are added to many dishes and also eaten as a part of regular diet. The fruits and the leaves of mulberry are also used to prepare health supplements. Of all the colours of mulberry fruits, the strongest flavour is of the red and the black coloured mulberry fruit. There are also hybrid species of mulberry plants. The black coloured mulberry was even used in folk medicine for the treatment of ringworm. The cultivation of mulberry can provide multiple benefits. It is mainly cultivated for silk farming. Along with providing food for the silkworms, the leaves and fruits can be harvested for many other benefits. For harvesting good quality leaves and fruits, nutrition must be provided properly.
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Scientific Name of Mulberry: Morus nigra
Top Countries Producing Mulberries
The major mulberry plant producing places are those which produce silk. In India, the main producers of mulberry fruits are Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand. Apart from that, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are also good producers of mulberry plants.
Name Of Mulberry In Other Languages
|Language||Ways to say mulberry|
|Korean||짙은 적자색(jit-eun jeogjasaeg)|
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Different Varieties Of Mulberries For Cultivation
The red mulberry is pleasant and has a tart flavour to it. Though it can survive in drier soil conditions, it performs best in the soil which is moist and organically rich. The ideal ph for growing the red mulberries is about 8.5. The red mulberry plants are very easy to cultivate. They can survive waterlogging and drought conditions too. It requires plenty of sunshine. The plant can grow up to 70 feet in length. It can also be grown at places which are higher than 3500 feet. Some of the varieties of red mulberry are Travis, Illinois everbearing, wild-type, Stubbs, Johnson etc.
This kind of mulberry fruit grows long and can even grow up to four inches in length. Among various other species, this mulberry variety is the most disease resistant one. Frost and extreme heat or cold conditions are not good for the cultivation of this variety of mulberry. The fruits have a firm texture. The Himalayan mulberry can be of many colors like white, red or black. The plant can grow up to 60-100 feet in height. This variety of mulberry can be grown in many types of soils. The variety can tolerate high humidity and heat conditions. The fruits are also stainless than other variety of mulberries. The flavor of the mulberry fruit can be like that of raspberries.
The white mulberry is different than the other coloured mulberry fruit types. Its flavour is also different than the other ones. Though the taste of the fruit is usually sweet, it can vary for the other varieties. The white mulberry trees will give the best yield if provided full sunshine. The ph of the soil should not be more than 7.5. The plants can grow up to 70 feet tall. The white mulberry trees are also long living. They can live up to 250 years. It can be grown up to elevations up to 10,000 feet. The most popular varieties of white mulberries include Riviera, downing, Middleton, weeping, sweet lavender, Northrop etc. The best thing about cultivating white mulberries is that it needs less care and management. It can even grow in poor soils. Most of the varieties have a mild flavour.
The black mulberry is another such common cultivar. The black mulberry plants can tolerate alkaline soils more than the other types of mulberry varieties. For a very good yield, the white mulberry plants need full sunshine. The plant can grow up to 45 feet. It can be grown in places which are up to 6500 feet above the sea level. The plants prefer a Mediterranean type climate to produce a good yield. It cannot tolerate too much heat or cold conditions. It must be protected from frost conditions. The plants are also long living and they can survive up to 500 years. The varieties under the black mulberry include keester, AGM, noir of Spain, black beauty etc. The plants grow very slow. The fruits are considered very flavourful among the other types of mulberries. It needs plenty of sunshine to produce a good yield.
Cultivation Of Mulberry
The mulberry plants are easy to grow. A little care and management can give a very good yield. The quality of the fruits also matter. If the plants are being cultivated for silkworms, the plants must grow well. To feed well, the plants must have a good growth. Proper nutrition must be provided to the plants. Proper irrigation and crop management are very important for a good yield.
Land Preparation For Mulberry Farming
The land must be prepared properly for the cultivation of mulberry. The land must be ploughed properly. The proper ploughing must be done to make the soil smooth and fine. The ploughing must be followed by harrowing and tillering. Proper quantities of farmyard manure must be put in the field. Drainage channels must be made in the field. It will be used to drain out the excess water.
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Soil Conditions For Mulberry Farming
The soil conditions for the cultivation of mulberry are different for different varieties. Some varieties prefer alkaline soils, some prefer acidic soils. But extreme conditions must be avoided. The ideal ph for cultivation is 6.2-6.8. In case of extreme ph, liming can be done to correct the soil ph. Loamy to clayey soils are best for growing the mulberry plants. The soil must be rich in organic matter. It should have a good water holding capacity. The soil must be deep and must have a good water holding capacity. Water logged conditions must be avoided as it hampers the growth of the mulberry plants.
Climatic Conditions For Mulberry Farming
The mulberry best thrives in tropical and subtropical climates. The ideal temperature for the cultivation of mulberry is 24-28 degree Celsius. The annual rainfall required for the cultivation is 600-2500mm. The atmospheric humidity must be 65-80 percent. It is the ideal condition for growing mulberry. The average altitude for the cultivation of mulberry varies for different varieties. The amount of sunshine required is also important for the growth of the plants. On an average, 9-13 hours of sunlight is needed for growing mulberry plants.
Propagation Methods For Mulberry Farming
The propagation methods for mulberry cultivation are usually by cuttings or by saplings. For cuttings, branches must be used which are about 6-9 months old. The diameter of the branches must be 15mm. The branches also must have 3-4 healthy buds. The cuttings can then be raised in the nursery or planted directly in the field.
Planting Method For Mulberry Farming
For planting, the pits must be prepared beforehand in the main field. They must be filled with topsoil mixed with farmyard manure. Before filling the pits, they must be exposed to enough sunlight. The saplings or cuttings must be planted in the pits in the main field. After planting, a light irrigation must be given. The soil around the plants must be pressed firmly after planting. The same process must be followed for the sapling plants as well. In case of saplings, the saplings must be 5-6 months old. After they have established a proper root system, they must be planted in the main field.
Season Of Planting And Spacing For Mulberry Farming
The best time for planting in case of mulberry is right after the monsoon. The average spacing required for mulberry cultivation is 90*90cm.
Irrigation Methods for Mulberry Farming
Usually, irrigation is provided at an interval of 8-14 days. If the rainfall is regular, there is no need for regular watering of the plants. In case of waterlogging, the extra water must be drained out of the field. In summer months when the weather is too hot, proper watering is needed. For saving water, drip irrigation or sprinkler irrigation must be used. The first irrigation must be provided at the time of planting.
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Fertilizer And Manure Application For Mulberry Farming
The well-decomposed farmyard manure must be put in the land at the time of land preparation. After that, the macronutrients must be put in the soil based on the soil requirements. The proper quantities of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus must be given to the plants. A soil test must be done. Based on the soil test, nutrition must be given. Too much fertilizer must not be put in the soil else it will become barren and rough.
Intercultural Operations For Mulberry Farming
The intercultural operations in the mulberry crop include removal of weeds, training, and pruning. The weeds must be removed properly from the mulberry crop. Chemical pesticides can be used for destroying the weeds. Manual methods can also be used for removal of weeds. A combination of all the methods also can be used. The weeds must be removed from the land as soon as possible. The pruning must be done at times. Pruning should be done so that there is the good growth of the mulberry plants.
Disease And Pest Management Of Mulberry Farming
Following are the most common diseases and pests and their control measures for mulberry cultivation
- Root rot- Raksha application
- Leaf blight- Mancozeb application
- Mealy bug- biological control
- Ladybirds- biological control
- Leaf roller- nuvan spray
- Leaf rust- choro tholonil application
- Root-knot- bionematicide application
- Powdery mildew- carbendazim application
Yield Of Mulberry
The yield of mulberry fruits and leaves is different for different variety. The yield can be increased by proper crop management.
The mulberry leaves and fruits are harvested manually. The fruits can be harvested when they are ripe. The leaves can be collected in the same way. Only ripe and damage free fruits must be collected.
Post-Harvest Management And Marketing Of Mulberry
After harvest, the fruits must be cleaned and sorted out. After sorting, the fruits must be graded based on their quality. The market for mulberry fruits and leaves is huge. The silk industry is already a booming industry all over the world. The mulberry leaves are the sole food for the silkworms. Therefore, the products must be sold directly in the market.
Benefits Of Mulberry
- The mulberry fruits contain dietary fiber. The fiber is very good for digestion and keeps the stomach clear.
- There are many compounds in the mulberry fruits. Those compounds are good for reducing the blood pressure and keeping the heart healthy.
- Mulberry has many antioxidants. It helps to improve the vision and also prevents certain diseases of the eyes.
- Mulberry fruits contain many minerals. Including mulberries in the diet is good for the bones and keeps the bones healthy and strong.
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Mulberry Farming- Conclusion
Mulberry is a crop which has high economic value and importance. The cultivation of mulberry can give good profits. For that, the cultivation must be done properly and the proper techniques must be followed. The demand is more for the good quality of the fruits and leaves. The fruits have many health benefits. Due to its benefits, the fruits have also a very good demand.