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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Wood Properties of the Fruitless Mulberry Tree

Mulberry trees are native to both North America and Asia. In North America, the fruitless tree is found mainly in the eastern half of the United States and Canada. In Asia, the mulberry tree is the only food of the silkworm. A favored shade tree, growing from 20 to 60 feet tall at maturity, the fruitless mulberry is used extensively in both urban and country landscapes. Drought and heat tolerant, the mulberry tree tolerates a wide range of soil conditions and is resistant to many common tree diseases.

Mulberry wood
The mulberry tree (Morus alba) is a deciduous species with bright green, lobed leaves of various sizes and shapes, all on the same tree. The tree produces heavy, gnarled surface roots that are harvested and used for lamp bases, picture frames or other artistic home decor items. The roots are scraped or peeled to expose the fine wood grain and color of the wood--a brilliant yellow sapwood with a pale tan heart. Mulberry wood will darken when exposed to sunlight.

Mulberry wood is frequently used for sports equipment.Mulberry wood, also called murrey, is prized for its use in crafting fine furniture. Fruitless mulberry wood is tight-grained, attractive and easy to work with. Mulberry wood bends and forms easily with heat or steam. Similar to ash, mulberry has a "springy" quality that makes the wood a favorite for manufacturing sports equipment such as baseball bats and bows. The wood can be readily turned on a lathe without splitting.

Other Uses

Mulberry wood barrels
Mulberry wood is also used extensively in the manufacture of agricultural implements and barrels. Because mulberry wood is easily bent and formed, it lends itself to rounded configuration of barrels, buckets and yokes. The pliable, easily bent twigs of the mulberry tree are often used to make beautiful baskets. The twigs have a deep reddish-gold coloration and twisted character prized by wood artisans.

Mature mulberry tree
Mulberry trees produce a thick milky sap when cut. The sap makes the tree somewhat difficult to cut and will damage saw blades. The sap is difficult to remove from hands and clothing.

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