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Mulberry Advice

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AshCoteCro starts with ...
Seeking advice on our community garden mulberry trees. We have three planted in a line and they currently have a bamboo frame work around the outside. We have attached a thick wire below and have been trying to espalier the branches to come over the top, around the structure and tuck them in below (see attached 1st and 2nd images). This hasn't worked as light hasn't been penetrating in and you can't access the berries from underneath. We're looking for a new way to keep them well kept, and easy to access fruit and maintain. Any suggestions? I have an idea (3rd image) of creating two archways, so that you can get underneath and access the fruit? Good/bad? We are complete novices so anything is helpful :) Thanks!
Pictures - Click to enlarge

Picture: 1

Picture: 2

Picture: 3
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AshCoteCro
DARRA 4076 QLD Australia
3rd January 2021 11:58am
#UserID: 25339
Posts: 2
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Amberjack says...
Am headed down this road myself, but my main reason is that I needed to protect my plants from all the thieving birds in my area [North Burnett, Qld]. I decided to build a bird proof tunnel house, and espalier 4 dwarf mulberries in two rows 2.6m apart, on lengthwise wires. It would appear to me that your structure is too small for what you are attempting, especially if you are not using dwarf variants. My tunnel house will be 8m long and almost 4m high at the centre of the arch. The wires will be at 90, 150 and 210cm from the ground, and it is then planned to arch the branches over to a centre wire at 300cm, forming an arbor. The young trees have many branches, so I will select about 4 off each to train onto the wires using baling twine. Mulberries mostly fruit off new growth, so pruning is important, and it will help you keep control of the plants. I cut my existing mulberry tree back quite severely every autumn, which produces a good crop in late spring, and if pruned again after this, I can get a second crop in February. There is quite a bit of info on this on the internet.
Will post some photos of the works in progress.
Even allowing for the fact that I can use timber off my property for the posts, this exercise will still cost around $700. However, if birds are not a problem for you, a similar sized
structure would be quite cheap.
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Amberjack
COLOSSEUM,4677,QLD
14th January 2021 6:05am
#UserID: 25469
Posts: 3
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Amberjack says...
Mulberry arbor in progress. This would be about the stage that the structure could be left at if birds are not going to be a problem. The space between the trees can be kept kept clear for access to the top of the arbour for pruning and picking. The 4 trees should provide a large crop when fully grown, which I need as I wish to make wine with a mix of these and my muscadine grapes. These will also need a bird proof tunnel house as this year the attackers have been very varied and in large numbers.
Normally we only get a few fig birds, but whether it is because we are basically still in drought, and the food supply is limited, we have also had koels, white eared honeyeaters, banana birds, rainbow lorikeets, and even butcher birds and a magpie sampling the grapes. Night time brings bats, fruit sucking moths and a possum.
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Picture: 1

Picture: 2
 
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Amberjack
COLOSSEUM,4677,QLD
16th February 2021 5:31am
#UserID: 25469
Posts: 3
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Amberjack says...
Correct second picture now attached.
Probably the most cost effective way to build this type of structure if access to raw timber is not available would be to use recycled building materials and/or treated pine. Wire is just plain old multi strand, galvanised clothes line wire.
Pictures - Click to enlarge

Picture: 1
  
About the Author
Amberjack
COLOSSEUM,4677,QLD
16th February 2021 6:04am
#UserID: 25469
Posts: 3
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AshCoteCro says...
Amber this looks awesome! Thanks so much for sending through the images and sharing your idea. It's great to see ingenuity in the community and taking pride in growing your own food. I will definitely be sharing it with our community group, and maybe convince them to add some grapes for our own vino recipe :)
About the Author
AshCoteCro
DARRA 4076 QLD Australia
16th February 2021 7:51pm
#UserID: 25339
Posts: 2
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