Mullberry trees in California?

Marc10edora

Avid Member
I've been looking around for mullberry trees around my neighborhodd so I can feed my silkworms. But it is really hard to find any. I really think they don't allow mullberry trees to be planted anymore because of the strict agriculture rules here. But I do remember a bunch of them on my elementary school playground years ago. I when they stopped growing them here. Does anyone know? I want to be able to stop buying silk worm chow.
 

Tygerr

Avid Member
My advice is to stick to the Mulberry chow.
I'd love to be able to use chow instead of real leaves, but there's no one distributing the chow where I live, and the costs of importing it would make it really expensive to keep silkworms.

There are many problems encountered when using real leaves.
If you are planning to grow mulberry trees:
1. You should know that they are a very invasive plant, that grows rapidly, and grows into a very large tree that sends out an extensive root system. It drinks up a lot of water, so other plants/grasses are robbed of water, and even some light (due to the large size of the mulberry). This means the positioning of the mulberry tree must be well planned within the garden.

2. Silkworms eat a LOT of leaves. A small tree will not sustain a batch of silkworms for very long. I don't have exact quantities, but about 100 medium to large worms will easily go through between 2-4 shopping bags of leaves in a week. That would strip a small tree bare in no time. So unless you have grown quite a large mulberry tree, forget about it.

If you are planning to collect leaves in the neighbourhood (this is what I have to do):
1. Silkworms eat a LOT of leaves. You will be collecting lots and lots of leaves.
Neighbours don't always appreciate you pruning their trees; passers-by look at you strangely when you jump out of your car and start ripping off leaves from trees on the side of the road; and children report you to the authorities when you whip out your shears and start trimming trees in the park...

2. Fresh leaves don't last very long. I keep mine in the fridge, but after maximum 5 days, they go black an soggy (like old lettuce). If you don't put them in the fridge, they will be dry and stale within about 2-3 days.
When they get soggy, they grow mould quite easily, which is the main reason that freezing hasn't worked well for me. After thawing (even in the microwave), they don't last long before getting mouldy. So to keep a steady supply of fresh leaves, you will be collecting lots and lots of leaves.

Even though they have banned people from planting mulberry trees here too, there is still an abundance of the trees in Johannesburg because it is such an invasive species under the right conditions. The trees spread from garden to garden, and to vacant lots quite easily (it is not surprising to find many smaller trees in close proximity to an older, larger tree).
But despite having so many trees available to me, I still think that mulberry chow would be worth having because of all the time and effort I would save if I didn't have to collect leaves.
 
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Dave Weldon

Avid Member
I've been looking around for mullberry trees around my neighborhodd so I can feed my silkworms. But it is really hard to find any. I really think they don't allow mullberry trees to be planted anymore because of the strict agriculture rules here. But I do remember a bunch of them on my elementary school playground years ago. I when they stopped growing them here. Does anyone know? I want to be able to stop buying silk worm chow.
Howdy,

I'd bet that they aren't banned in CA since I saw them for sale in a local nursery.

I too, looked through miles of streets around where I live and finally spotted a few Mulberry trees here and there. I got permission to "harvest" from them. I found that it is hardly noticeable when I randomly remove individual leaves from the really big trees, week after week. I would usually take about 75-100 leaves at a time every week or so until the season is over. There are certain bacteria that are associated with the raw leaves and if you ever get contaminated leaves (hasn't happened to me yet?) , you'll wipe-out all of your silkies. I soak (1 hr to 1 day) and rinse the leaves to remove most of the junk that ends-up on them. I refrig them and have found that they will last over a week or two after soaking. I still buy chow for the off-season feeding.
 

FaunaBgirl

New Member
A friend of mine has a tree. He brought me a few baby leaves. Size of a half dollar. I put one in and later went to see if they were chomping on it. It was GONE!. Like I'd never put it in there. So I put another in. Same thing. Then another and this time I went only 1/2 hour later. GONE! They eat it like ice cream! lol
The unfortunate part is... that I don't seem to have as many silk worms now. I think they are dying off. :{
I did wash them... but not soak. Good lesson. I'll stick to the chow.
 

Aminah Undone

New Member
Marc ..there are some trees around the mall in Pleasanton. At least, there used to be. I prefer the chow, though. You just have to be a little creative in the way you present it to the Silkworms, to get them to eat all of it.

EDIT: Just noticed this is a "historical" thread. Oops! :eek:
 
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