Backyard Tree Identification: Mulberry Trees

Earlier this month, I posted about I was taking down a few Buckthorn trees on our property as part of early Fall/late Summer yard maintenance.  After peeping at the leaves on those Buckthorns and following the recommendation of our landscaper who marked them as such, I was pretty confident in removing them, despite their somewhat mature size.  The benefits of removing them far outweigh their continued survival.  There were, however, a bunch of other trees on the property that I couldn't at first identify and wasn't sure if I should keep or remove.

So, after some initial searching on the internet, I thought what I had were Mulberry trees.    You'll notice in the photo above something unique:  The leaves on one branch had very different leaves.  On.the.same.branch!  The leaves at the top of the photo have a few lobes on them, while the leaves near the tip - at the bottom of the photo are more egg-shaped.  Strange, right?  All signs pointed to Hackberries, but these were not fruiting, so I couldn't be sure.

I captured a few more photos - that you can see below - and sent them along to the Master Gardener at the University of Illinois Dupage Extension Office.

And sure enough:  they were quick to help me ID them.  These trees were, indeed, Mulberry Trees.  From the Master Gardener:
What you have are mulberry trees which have been planted by birds or other animals. Most people consider these weed trees as they are messy and the fruit stains when dropped from the tree. The fruit is edible, although not particularly tasteful. These trees can have different shaped leaves on the same branch, as is shown in your photos. One caution should you decide to leave the trees, as birds and other animals eat the berries, you may soon find mulberry trees growing all around your yard.
Thanks, Master Gardener!  They were planted by birds most likely.  And most folks think of them as weed trees.

That made the decision easier:  I'm going to removed these before they spread any more.   Think there's five or six of medium size that I'll chop down and likely burn.


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