Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

Thursday - June 27, 2013

From: Dallas, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives
Title: Is a mulberry tree undesirable?
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

I have a hard time keeping plants alive, so I was happy when a random plant just started growing and thriving about 5 years ago in my yard. My mom (a frequent volunteer at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center) identified it as a Mulberry tree and suggested I get rid of it. Likewise, I had a landscape architect prepare a planting plan for the yard and he, too suggested I get rid of it. However, it seems to thrive so well and it is providing nice shade. Do I really need to get rid of it? what potential problems could this tree cause. I have seen no fruit so far.

ANSWER:

 

Well, it all depends.  I suspect that it is a Paper mulberry.  This non-native plant sometimes becomes very invasive, edging out native plants in its vicinity.  Seeds from your tree could be carried by birds into natural areas nearby.  Check out the texture of the leaves.  If they are sandpapery on top and downy underneath, it is the unwelcome Paper mulberry.  Best to eliminate it now.

On the other hand, it could m the much less common Morus microphylla (Littleleaf mulberry) or the Morus rubra (Red mulberry).  These natives are less invasive and provice food for wildlife.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas mulberry
Morus microphylla

Red mulberry
Morus rubra

More Non-Natives Questions

Legal to kill non-native invasive fig ivy in Carmichael CA
September 05, 2010 - Is it legal to spray round-up on invasive fig ivy from my neighbor's yard? Will we be responsible for killing his plant? He refuses to install a barrier between us or discuss a remedy.
view the full question and answer

Forget-me-nots choking a spring in Bethlehem PA
June 20, 2013 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I am restoring a native plant area along a spring that feeds directly into our local creek. Right now the spring is becoming choked with forget-me-nots, that I am trying ...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native Eugenia in Scottsdale AZ
June 02, 2012 - I have 5 eugenia topiaries in my courtyard in pots..I notice as the days here in Phoenix get hotter and dry (as usual) they are starting to look bad, even though they are under a shelter out of the di...
view the full question and answer

Flying insects eating leaves of non-native Brugmansia in Aline CA
October 17, 2013 - I have an Angel Trumpet tree. We live in Aline, California 30 miles east of San Diego. Little yellow and black flying bugs eat the leaves. Do you have a remedy for this problem.
view the full question and answer

Obtaining bark of Larix laricina from Hyderabad India
January 26, 2012 - I am in need of Larix laricina (Bark) for my research work. Please let me know how to procure it.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.