Wallabies eating Mulberry Leaves. Brian Lowry from Crystal Waters reports: I had always accepted the generalization that the large macropods are grazers rather than browsers, the big marsupial browsers being not-so-long gone in the extinct megafauna of Australia. Observations on our lot make it make it not so simple. Among the abundant wildlife are large numbers of pretty-face wallabies and grey kangaroos that, as might be expected, have an impact on any small plant that one is nurturing. Not in this category are a number of mulberry trees with such vigorous growth that the outer limbs are weighed down almost to the ground by thick foliage. It is notable that the prettyface wallabies actively browse mulberry leaves. They seek out cut limbs on the ground to defoliate, even consuming dry leaves and browse accessible foliage on the tree leaving a distinct “browse line” of bare stems on the lower part. The height of this – about 1.8mtr was a puzzle because it seemed well out of reach of the wallabies. It seemed plausible for the much larger grey kangaroos to be responsible but they properly stuck to their reputation as grazers and showed no interest in the tree leaves. The answer came one day when I had a perfect profile view of a wallaby sitting upright under the tree and saw it take a small vertical leap, clasp the leafy branch with its forepaws, drag it down and hold it while it ate the leaf. If only I had it on video! It seems an obvious feeding strategy but do we know of macropods performing purely vertical leaps?
Propagation We break dormancy prior to ‘cutting’ by stripping [by hand] the branch to be cut of all its leaves, some people use urea. We spray it with a Miracle Gro or its equivalent. Then when new buds begin to appear we make the cutting, spray with fungicide and insecticide and if you can get it bactericide and virucide, dip in rooting compound, shake off the excess rooting compound, put in moist coarse river sand and enclosed in an air tight bag where there is no direct sunlight or wind. Oscar is correct – different mulberries require different preparations. Please try just a handful as an experiment. Ref: Bob Bishop
Shahtoot Mulberry As Oscar said, we also find most mulberries very easy to propagate as cuttings but we’ve found Pakistani Mulberry (the Shahtoot) only worked for us when we did Patch Budding (using a much larger piece than used when doing citrus propagation by Budding). Approach grafting also worked 50% of the time, but Patch Budding has given over 90% takes. In our climate nothing ever goes into dormancy, so our results might not match up with a temperate climate. Our Pakistani Mulberry never goes dormant but produces profusely and has the best tasting mulberry I’ve ever eaten. Super sweet and long like a rats tail. In Urdu/Hindi “Shah Tut” is the name used for all Mulberries. Written as one word, Shahtoot. Ref: Samar Gupta. Mumbai.