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Mystery plant

PintoBean

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This baby mystery "tree" has been growing like crazy! We've been painstakingly tying it upright as it has been growing and popping in leaves after each rainstorm. Before we invest more time on what could potentially be an overgrown weed, I was hoping someone could help us identify what exactly this is! Right now it's 6 feet and skinny! Here is a picture of the leaves. I tried using a plant identifier site by leaf and kept getting oaks but the leaf does not look like any of the oak results! Help! (Sorry it's loading sidewise!)

_3910.jpeg
 

Queenie60

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Looks like it could be grape leaf ivy? Take a small branch of it to your local nursery. They can tell you what it is. It's pretty!
 

momhappy

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It's not poison oak.
It does have similar characteristics of an oak, but I'm not convinced that's what it is. Maybe a fig?
 

VRBeauty

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The serrated leaf edges make me think it's not an oak.

Mulberry maybe?

mulbry_lf2_lg.jpg
 

momhappy

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That looks about right. Does it have various leaf shapes like the image below (of a white mulberry)

mulberryleaves.jpg
 

PintoBean

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Queenie60 said:
Looks like it could be grape leaf ivy? Take a small branch of it to your local nursery. They can tell you what it is. It's pretty!
It IS pretty, Queenie60! I was able to rule out grape leaf ivy because my next door neighbor has one that's creeping over my fence and tends to wrap itself around my internet and phone cables and TUG! Luckily, they told me they want the landscapers to pull them out this week! DH has strict instructions to make sure that the vines haven't wrapped around our cables again because the landscapers will go in and just start pulling fast. :errrr:
Cluless said:
Hi pinto, found this site http://www.wikihow.com/Identify-Oak-Leaves

Hope it helps. It does look like oak to me but i'm no expert hopefully it's not poison oak.
Thank you Cluless! I kept thinking the leaves looked "close" to an oak, but not quite.
momhappy said:
It's not poison oak.
It does have similar characteristics of an oak, but I'm not convinced that's what it is. Maybe a fig?
Momhappy - I got excited for a second when you said "fig" :lickout:
:appl: :appl: :appl: Ding ding ding! VRBeauty and momhappy!!! :appl: :appl: :appl: my dad had guessed earlier, "the tree that silkworms feed off of", which google told me was a mulberry. However, the pics I saw were mature trees with leaves with NO lobes.

When I wiki'd "white mulberry", wiki clarified this: "On young, vigorous shoots, the leaves may be up to 30 cm long, and deeply and intricately lobed, with the lobes rounded. On older trees, the leaves are generally 5–15 cm long, unlobed, cordate at the base and rounded to acuminate at the tip, and serrated on the margins." Momhappy's pic looks like it depicts the variety of leaf shapes you'll see depending on the age of the white mulberry! :appl:

Thank you, PS! Who knows, maybe if this tree grows magnificently, I'll have to start up a Pinto Bean silk business! :lol: :lol: :lol:
 

monarch64

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It does look like a mulberry. Whatever it is, it's too close to whatever structure is behind it (fence?). If you really want to keep it, I suggest digging it up now and moving it to a location where it won't interfere with fencing or other structures or pavement. :wavey:
 

PintoBean

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Good looking out, Monny! :wavey: We put the fence in last year, and decided not to share a common side with the neighbors next door, so we had the fence company place those panels as close to the neighbor's as possible. Other than that, we paid no attention to the yard last year, and between my neglect and the community turning on the sprinklers late - mid June, it was pretty sad and barren in my backyard last year. EVEN IF we didn't put the new fence in, some of the existing plants (from previous homeowners) are still too close to the fence, so in the fall, we'll need to make some decisions re: transplanting...

As for the mulberry tree, besides transplanting it away from the fence, I may also keep pruning it back to make it more of a bush than a tree. One site mentioned that mulberry trees have "shallow roots" :errrr: I've only been in this house a year, so yeah, Mr. Mulberry is going to stay a shorty. God forbid Mr. Mulberry grows into a big tree - we want to prevent "timmmmbbbbbeeerrrrr!" (crash tree on fence... or even better tree on HOUSE!) :wall:
 

House Cat

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Mulberries have nightmarish root systems. My last house had two in the front yard and on a 1/3 acre lot, I was finding 4 inch diameter roots in the farthest reaches of my backyard.

You can google and read all about them.


It might be better to just dig up the little guy and say goodbye and buy and more suitable tree for your yard. I know! Ruthless!!! But sometimes gardening has to be!!
 

PintoBean

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House Cat said:
Mulberries have nightmarish root systems. My last house had two in the front yard and on a 1/3 acre lot, I was finding 4 inch diameter roots in the farthest reaches of my backyard.

You can google and read all about them.

It might be better to just dig up the little guy and say goodbye and buy and more suitable tree for your yard. I know! Ruthless!!! But sometimes gardening has to be!!
I did read that the roots spread :errrr: ! Thank you for chiming in. I am starting to think that this may be Mr. Mulberry's last summer in my backyard. Instead of outright killing it, I am going to talk to the Grounds and Greens committee and ask them if they have a spot for Mr. Mulberry, and we'll transplant him!

A plus side of the root system is that 20+ years ago, some developer cut down all the trees behind my community and caused a mudslide of epic proportions. It looks like trees have grown in, but I think the Grounds and Greens have thrown baby trees up there whenever they've come upon some, so, this tree could probably suck up lots of water and be useful in preventing future mudslides!
 

House Cat

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PintoBean|1464705751|4038462 said:
House Cat said:
Mulberries have nightmarish root systems. My last house had two in the front yard and on a 1/3 acre lot, I was finding 4 inch diameter roots in the farthest reaches of my backyard.

You can google and read all about them.

It might be better to just dig up the little guy and say goodbye and buy and more suitable tree for your yard. I know! Ruthless!!! But sometimes gardening has to be!!
I did read that the roots spread :errrr: ! Thank you for chiming in. I am starting to think that this may be Mr. Mulberry's last summer in my backyard. Instead of outright killing it, I am going to talk to the Grounds and Greens committee and ask them if they have a spot for Mr. Mulberry, and we'll transplant him!

A plus side of the root system is that 20+ years ago, some developer cut down all the trees behind my community and caused a mudslide of epic proportions. It looks like trees have grown in, but I think the Grounds and Greens have thrown baby trees up there whenever they've come upon some, so, this tree could probably suck up lots of water and be useful in preventing future mudslides!
They can be good trees for shade if they are allowed to grow properly. These are the trees that people had the idea to prune back heavily each year. This creates weak little branches that come out of these awful knobs at the end of each branch. UGH! Luckily, my trees weren't like that, but man oh man, they had branches and roots to heaven and hell, respectively. When we got the house ready to sell, the branches were hanging over the roof and the estimate to prune was $1,000.

Our realtor told us the common term for the trees was "disappearing mulberries" because everyone was having them removed due to the trouble they caused and the cost involved in keeping them...damaged sewer lines, damaged foundations, roof damage, pruning costs, etc..

It sure is a beautiful little tree when young! Too bad you can't keep it that way. It is already too big to bonsai. But maybe you can do a larger bonsai... I don't know. I am not educated on bonsai at all. The only thing I know is to restrict the root growth and the top growth... Might be worth looking into if you really want to save him for yourself.
 

momhappy

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I'm glad you solved the mystery. I wouldn't be so quick to dig it up and say goodbye.... I grew up with a mulberry tree in our back yard and have such fond memories of it. If planted in the appropriate area, I don't see any reason why you can't let it live.
 

PintoBean

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I'm going to buy pruning shears as soon as I finish my coffee! I like the baby mulberry so far. It looks like it's 6 feet right now, and I'd prefer it to stay no taller than it is. It's almost as tall as the fence. Wish me luck!
 

PintoBean

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So glad we ran to the hardware store and bought a two-fer pair of shears - long handle and hand held mini. They feel like "buttah" slicing through the plants!

DH just pruned some of the grape ivy that was creeping over and wrapping it's red tentacles around my cables end of last week! Thank god the mulberry got me in a pruning mood because I made it a point to check on the cables and since the rain over the weekend, the vines popped and wrapped themselves around the cables worse than last week! :shock: I grabbed my bistro chair to stand on and went to town cutting all the grape vines that were over my property. I also snipped about 6 inches off the mulberry and noticed that someone had cut some of the vertical woody shoots to the ground in the past! I guess the previous owners were trying to keep it in check as well! I ran into someone from grounds and greens and she is open to the idea of moving the mulberry to a certain spot in the common area that is quite open and grassy. I'm so happy we have options for Mr. mulberry. See - there I go naming things and getting attached! I've attached a picture of the mulberry post pruning. It's taken from the second floor, inside, so it will look slightly garbled (through window pane and screen).

_3917.jpeg
 

PintoBean

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I'm ashamed. It's been raining again and the mulberry had another growth spurt again. I don't know, maybe it's hormones, maybe it's yoyo weather, but I got the urge to kill it! :errrr: :shock: I took a shovel and dug a little in the rain. I made a tiny dirt pile. I had a white t shirt on but this was not sexy. I went back inside to dry off and proceeded to google how to kill a mulberry. People are talking about cutting them down to stumps and them popping back! I also get the feeling that it may have been a weed that got out of control... The last homeowner had renters for a good number of years. Usually a bird needs to poop out the mulberry seed to make a baby mulberry tree, and guess what's in the back yard looming over everything? A big old Linden tree!

A neighbor of mine usually has two guys from a local nursery come help on the weekend so I called and asked if I could borrow the guys for an hour if they have down time to try to get this mulberry out and as much root as possible. I really don't want this mulberry getting out of control and destroying my cement patio and going under the fence even more and destroying the neighbor's brick patio! And damnit I want a lace cap hydrangea there!
 

arkieb1

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Did someone you know identify it as a mulberry tree? We have a mulberry bush down the back of our place and there are also mulberry trees that are a slightly different variety of mulberry, and unless they are different in the US which could be the case yours doesn't look like either variety I have seen. Perhaps they have different leaves in the US to here....

mulberry_tree_oct_2014.jpg
 

PintoBean

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arkieb1 said:
Did someone you know identify it as a mulberry tree? We have a mulberry bush down the back of our place and there are also mulberry trees that are a slightly different variety of mulberry, and unless they are different in the US which could be the case yours doesn't look like either variety I have seen. Perhaps they have different leaves in the US to here....
The leaves look just like the picture momhappy posted of a white mulberry.
 

arkieb1

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I've owned white mulberries as well and the leaves didn't look like that, I think the difference is your white mulberry is a pest variety probably not found here;

http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/indiana/journeywithnature/white-mulberry.xml

Quote from the link;

These best way to tell the difference between the species is to look at the foliage. The leaves of the red mulberry are dark green with finely serrated margins. The underside of the leaf is also rough and hairy. White mulberry leaves are a brighter green, and compared to the red species, have more prominent veins underneath. Bark is also a big tell; the red mulberry's bark is grayish with scaly, but flattened, ridges. The white mulbeey is a more tannish brown with thick, braiding ridges. If compared side by side, the red specie is taller than the white and has a more dense branching.
 

PintoBean

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Pest is right! :lol:
 

arkieb1

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Reading about how feral that variety of mulberry is, I'd be tempted to rip it out and plant a nice Mulberry tree or something else there.....
 

PintoBean

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arkieb1|1465439769|4042012 said:
Reading about how feral that variety of mulberry is, I'd be tempted to rip it out and plant a nice Mulberry tree or something else there.....
I totally agree! I am thinking of a reblooming lace cap hydrangea. I currently have a variety of ball type hydrangeas planted - tiny 1-2 quart sized ones in the backyard. I am hoping to get a trip in to a larger local nursery to look around for ideas. :appl:
 

House Cat

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PB,

I didn't have the heart to tell you, but that little mulberry wasn't going to fare well anyway. I don't know if you did the pruning or someone else did this, but someone cut off the main growing trunk of the little tree called the leader. This form of pruning is called "topping off." It is deadly to trees because it then sends all of the growing energy to the lateral (side) branches. This causes laterals become too heavy and break off eventually, allowing for disease, pests, and other problems.

The growth spurt in the tree was probably a result of the pruning. We rose people always say that if you want to see a growth spurt in your roses, give them a hard pruning during the growth season. This rule applies for most any bush or tree and some perennials.


There is actually a science to pruning trees and bushes. The rules are very easily found on google. :))

A lacecap hydrangea will be beautiful in that spot (maybe about 12 inches over to avoid roots) as long as there is enough shade. That is another plant that has pruning rules. It is all about timing. If you prune at the wrong time, you will never have flowers. If you have more sun than you should for that variety of hydrangea, look up Limelight Hydrangea. They like more sun. :))
 

PintoBean

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House Cat|1465481733|4042168 said:
PB,

I didn't have the heart to tell you, but that little mulberry wasn't going to fare well anyway. I don't know if you did the pruning or someone else did this, but someone cut off the main growing trunk of the little tree called the leader. This form of pruning is called "topping off." It is deadly to trees because it then sends all of the growing energy to the lateral (side) branches. This causes laterals become too heavy and break off eventually, allowing for disease, pests, and other problems.

The growth spurt in the tree was probably a result of the pruning. We rose people always say that if you want to see a growth spurt in your roses, give them a hard pruning during the growth season. This rule applies for most any bush or tree and some perennials.


There is actually a science to pruning trees and bushes. The rules are very easily found on google. :))

A lacecap hydrangea will be beautiful in that spot (maybe about 12 inches over to avoid roots) as long as there is enough shade. That is another plant that has pruning rules. It is all about timing. If you prune at the wrong time, you will never have flowers. If you have more sun than you should for that variety of hydrangea, look up Limelight Hydrangea. They like more sun. :))
House Cat - you always phrase things so nicely in your replies to me that you can always break any bad news to me. :wavey: I am impressed that you could tell that from the pics I posted. The spindly green off shoots were probably the dead giveaway, right? No, I didn't prune this. :( We moved in May 2015 and I just didn't tend to the back yard since I was wrapped up in March with renovations and May with unpacking. When I looked closer after this thread was started, I could see a bunch of woody shoots from the base that were cut down. Maybe this was the former tenants and home owner's attempt at killing the mulberry or keeping it in check?

As for the hydrangea, my grounds and greens committee taught me to look for the buds and only trim the parts with no buds, and to feel too - if it's hollow and squishy. The one mature hydrangea in my backyard is flush and green now, so I was able to trim a couple more old stems last week that were confirmed now to be "dead".

When I have been planting the new plants, I read the tag to see how wide they grow, and plant them at half width from the fence. On average, about 2 feet from an obstruction.
 

PintoBean

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This is what I'm talking about wrt other people having previously hacked up the mulberry, and the hole I started digging and the mound I made. I don't normally dig holes, so I'm quite proud of this one! :naughty:

_4061.jpeg

_4062.jpeg

_4063.jpeg

_4064.jpeg
 

PintoBean

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Two of my little hydrangeas are giving me babies!!! (Flowers)

_4065.jpeg

_4066.jpeg
 

PintoBean

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Shamelessly showing the growth in my front yard. We had a surprise Japanese painted fern pop up against the house that we moved a foot away... It's huge now! The ajuga is creeping, the bluebird lace cap is popping flowers, we got new railroad ties, and my little blue-ish Stoney looking roses - well one is about to pop yellow flowers!

_4067.jpeg

_4068.jpeg

_4069.jpeg
 

House Cat

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PintoBean|1465494320|4042272 said:
This is what I'm talking about wrt other people having previously hacked up the mulberry, and the hole I started digging and the mound I made. I don't normally dig holes, so I'm quite proud of this one! :naughty:
I used to love digging holes until I saw how quickly my husband could dig a hole. What took me an hour takes him three minutes. I haven't dug a large hole since!

Now that I see the whole tree, it wasn't topped off, but it still wasn't going to ever be a healthy tree. It's funny, people think they can cut a vigorous bush or tree to the ground (over and over again) and it will one day die. There is an entire root system full of energy, determined to keep that plant alive. Plant life is probably the most tenacious life on this planet.


I love your shade garden! My zone is too hot and dry for painted ferns, although I tried to have them a few times anyway! I love all of the purples and blues you have going on there!!
 

PintoBean

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Thank you House Cat!!

I ran to the local nursery this evening and picked up two lace cap hydrangeas bc I couldn't decide which one to go with! The variegated one can get as big as 6'x6' while the tuff stuff (a rebloomer) is up to 3'

_4094.jpeg

_4095.jpeg
 

lambskin

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arkieb1|1465433999|4041939 said:
Did someone you know identify it as a mulberry tree? We have a mulberry bush down the back of our place and there are also mulberry trees that are a slightly different variety of mulberry, and unless they are different in the US which could be the case yours doesn't look like either variety I have seen. Perhaps they have different leaves in the US to here....

mulberry_tree_oct_2014.jpg
Are these fruits edible? Jams?
 
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