Wild Weeds – Weed of the Month
This category 2 invasive species is a tree that is used extensively in the ornamental industry. Native to Japan and Taiwan, paper mulberry was introduced as a fast growing shade tree. This plant is found across the US east coast and as far west as Texas. Often you will find paper mulberry reaching out of forest or field edges and along the roadside. Native vegetation is out-competed by paper mulberry as the growth is simply to vigorous and other plants are shaded out.
Paper Mulberry can reach heights upwards of 30 feet and have highly variable leaves. Some leaves can be as small as 3 inches while others reaching lengths of 10+ inches. The underside of leaves found on the plant are covered in soft, pubescent hairs. Paper Mulberry can be spread with seeds (especially with the help of wildlife consuming fruit) or vegetatively by the roots, this allows it to form dense thickets.
Chemicals should be applied prior to seed set. Application of the herbicide triclopyr ester (15%-30%) to the bark has been successful. Larger trees may require multiple treatments. A cut stem treatment with 50% triclopyr amine is another chemical option. Foliar applications of glyphosate (1-3%) or triclopyr (2-4%) will be effective on smaller trees where thorough coverage can be obtained. Be sure to use a surfactant (0.25%) with triclopyr.
Wild Weeds is a monthly spotlight written by Alicia Halbritter, Baker County Agriculture & Natural Resources Agent. Wild Weeds highlights plants you may find in Florida on the roadside, while hiking, in the forest, or possibly even in your yard. Searching for more information on a particular plant? Email Alicia at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information/questions.