En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
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


Littleleaf mulberry
Morus microphylla

Red mulberry
Morus rubra

More Invasive Plants Questions

Top soil dressing for bermudagrass
February 25, 2009 - Need to apply top soil dressing to bermudagrass. Can you suggest any type? This area is heavy clay soil and need to even out the lawn as well as feed the grass.
view the full question and answer

Eradicating sumac in Burnet, TX
February 05, 2009 - I have several varieties of sumac on my property. I need to know how to get rid of it. When I cut it down it seems to come back in force.
view the full question and answer

Landscaping a new yard in El Paso, TX
July 01, 2010 - I am starting my back yard, we want to plant some sod grass and shade trees. We were doing some research and came across the Paulownia and the Royal Empress tree. I like them since they grow very fast...
view the full question and answer

Information about invasive Paulownia tree
September 22, 2008 - What genus and species and family is this Royal Paulownia tree I hear about? Is it Elm? Linden? Dogwood? Is it a weed? thank you
view the full question and answer

How to get rid of nut grass from San Antonio
March 22, 2011 - We just had a house built on a lot that was mostly rock. The small back yard has a berm on which they brought in soil then mulched it. Now we are getting all sorts of weeds through the mulch, what my...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center