Beginners Guide to Mulberry Farming/Moriculture

Mulberry Farm | ReshaMandi

Mulberry Cultivation

Mulberry (Morun sp), is the most prominent and nutritious food for silkworms that sheds their leaves once a year and they tend to live a long life as a bush, middle bush, and tree depending on the climatic condition for the production of quality leaves that helps in silk rearing.

Ecological requirements Requirements
Where?Up to 800m above sea level
TemperatureApprox 24° to 28° 
Humidity65% to 80%
Sunshine duration5 hours to 12 hours per day
Rainfall range (for rain based cultivation)600mm to 2500mm
Ideal Water requirement50mm once every 10 days
Soil acidity6.2pH to 6.8pH
Saline and alkaline soils are not preferred

Mulberry varieties and system of plantation

South Indian popular varieties are Kanva-2, MR-2, S36, V1, S13, and S34. Kanva-2 and MR-2 are traditional varieties cultivated both under irrigated and rainfed conditions.

Image Source: CSB, India

V1 and S36 varieties are cultivated exclusively under irrigated conditions. S13 and S34 varieties are preferred under rainfed conditions due to their better capacity to grow under limited water.


Planting of mulberry is ideally taken up during the rainy season (July-September) for better establishment of the mulberry garden. 

Before the onset of the monsoon, land has to be plowed to a depth of 30 to 35 cm using a tractor taking advantage of pre-monsoon rains during April-May. 

Under irrigated conditions, mulberry is planted either in a “pit” system of plantation with a wider plant spacing of 90 x 90cm or in a “row” system of dense plantation following row to row spacing of 60 cm and plant to plant spacing of 20 cm.

Soil fertility, organic manure and fertilizers

Organic Manure

Under irrigated conditions, farmyard manure is applied at the rate of 20 tonnes per hectare per year in 2-3 split doses. Under rainfed conditions, 10 tonnes of farmyard manure per hectare per year is applied during the onset of monsoon after annual bottom pruning.

Chemical Fertilizers


  • Apply Azospirillum @ 20 kg/ha in five split doses. Apply phosphobacterium @ 10 kg/h in two equal splits.
  • Mix the bio-fertilizers with 50 kg of FYM for uniform distribution
  • Ensure irrigation after application
  • Do not mix bio-fertilizers with inorganic fertilizers

Micro nutrients

  • Apply recommended major/secondary nutrients based on the deficiency symptoms. 
  • For micro nutrients according to the deficiency symptom expressed, apply micronutrients as foliar spray @ Zinc sulphate 5 g, Ferrous sulphate 10 g, Borax 2.5 g, Copper sulphate 2.5 g, Manganese 2.5 g or Sodium molybdate 100 mg/lit of water using high volume sprayer (spray fluid 500 lit/ha). 

Green Manuring

Green manuring is an age-old practice of growing leguminous plants and incorporating the same into the soil to improve soil fertility. 

Green manuring plants can fix atmospheric nitrogen in the soil by the action of root nodule bacteria (Rhizobium). 
In the mulberry garden, green manuring is done by growing short-duration green manuring crops like Sun Hemp, Dhaincha, Cowpea and incorporating the green biomass along with the roots in the soil by plowing.

Methods of Irrigation

Furrow Method

In this method, the mulberry garden is laid out into a series of ridges and furrows (channels), and the water is provided all along the furrows.

Drip Irrigation

In drip irrigation, the required quantity of water is released near the root zone through microtubes. Through drip irrigation, it is possible to save about 40% of irrigation water with minimum labor as compared to the furrow method of irrigation.

  • It also helps in avoiding soil erosion and weed growth as water is given at the required location. 
  • It can be gainfully utilized in a paired row system of the plantation.

Integrated Weed Management

Cultural method

  • Remove the stubbles and roots of weeds while preparing the land
  • Use well decomposed manure to avoid dissemination of weeds
  • Clean the implements before use

Mechanical method

  • Operate country plough after pruning in the interspace
  • Remove the weeds by hand hoe

Chemical method

  • As a post-emergence application, use Paraquat (Grammoxone) @ 2-3 lit/ha.
  • Spray Glycel 7.5 ml with 10 grams of ammonium sulphate per litre of water as post-emergence application.  A total of 600 litres of spray fluid is required/ha.
  • Use flooding / deflector / fan type nozzle for spraying weedicide.  Apply the weedicide immediately after pruning or within 2-3 days after pruning.

Pruning methods

Pruning is the process of removing part of the branches from a tree. The aim is to remove unwanted branches, improve the tree’s structure, and direct new, healthy growth.


The method of leaf harvest depends on the type of rearing practiced. It is preferable to harvest the leaves during morning hours. There are three methods of harvesting mulberry leaves.

Foliar diseases and control measures

Leaf Spot

Occurrence: It is more prevalent during the rainy season followed by winter. The disease starts progressing 35-40 days after pruning /leaf harvesting and becomes severe on the 70th day after pruning.

Crop loss: 10-12%


  • Brownish necrotic, irregular spots appear on the leaf surface. 
  • Spots enlarge, extend and join together leaving a characteristic ‘shot hole’. 
  • Leaves become yellow and wither off as disease becomes severe.


Factors responsible for the spreading of the disease:

  • The disease is air borne spreading by conidia primarily through rain droplets.
  • Temperature of 24-26 ºC and 70-80 % relative humidity are most congenial for the disease development.

Control measures:

  • Spraying 0.2 %, Carbendazim 50% WP solution on the leaves. Safe Period: 5 days.

Powdery Mildew

Occurrence: Disease is prevalent during winter and rainy seasons and progresses to the 40th DAP/leaf harvest becoming severe on the 70th Day after pruning.

Crop loss: 5-10%

Symptoms : 

  • White powdery patches appear on the lower surface of the leaves. 
  • When severe, the white powdery patches turn to brownish-black; 
  • The leaves become yellow, coarse and loose their nutritive value.
Mulberry leaf with Powdery Mildew disease

Factors responsible for the spreading of the disease:

  • The disease is air borne spreading by conidia primarily through wind current.
  • Temperature of 24 – 28º C and high relative humidity (75-80 %) are responsible for infection and disease development. 

Control measures to be adopted:  

  • Follow wider spacing of plantation (90 cm x 90 cm) or paired row planting system  [(90 +150) × 60 cm] 
  • Spraying of fungicide on the lower surface of the leaves. Safe period 5 days.
  • Or spray sulphur fungicide 0.2%. Safe period: 15 days.

Leaf Rust

Occurrence: The disease is more prevalent during the winter and rainy seasons. It starts progressing 45-50 Days after pruning becoming severe on the 70th Day After Pruning. The mature leaves are more prone to the disease

Crop loss:  10-15%

Symptoms: Initially, circular pinhead-sized brown eruptive lesions appear on the leaves, and later leaves become yellow and wither off.

Mulberry leaf with leaf rust disease

Factors responsible for the spreading of the disease:

  • The disease is airborne dispersing by uredospores through water droplets and wind current.
  • Temperature of 22-26°C and high relative humidity above 70 % are favourable for the disease development.

Control measures to be adopted: 

  • Follow wider spacing of plantation (90 cm x 90 cm) or paired row planting system  [(90+150) × 60 cm] 
  • Avoid delayed leaf harvest
  • Spraying  Chlorothalonil based fungicide 75 % WP on the leaves. Safe period: 5 days

Sooty mould

Occurrence: The disease is more prevalent during the winter (August-December) season.

Crop loss:  10-15%

Symptoms: Thick black coating develops on the upper surface of the leaves.

Factors responsible for the spreading of the disease:

  • The disease occurs due to the presence of white flies in the mulberry field.
  • The fungi develop on the honey-like substance produced by the whiteflies.
  • Temperature of 20-24° C and high relative humidity above 70 % are favourable for the disease development.

Control measures to be adopted: 

  • Spray fungicide to check growth of saprophytic fungi
  • Foliar spray of 0.02% insecticide on 15th and 30th day after pruning to control white fly infestation. Safe period: 15 days.

Root Diseases and controlling measures

Root knot


Factors for spreading the disease:

  • Disease spreads primarily through contaminated soil, farm implements and run-off irrigation.
  • Planting of infected saplings along with other susceptible crops increases the disease intensity, some susceptible weeds in and around the mulberry gardens act as the secondary sources of infection
  • Temperature between 27-30 ºC, soil moisture of less than 40 % and pH of 5 to 7 are favorable for the development of the root knot disease.

Control measure:

Apply neem oil cake @ 800 kg/acre/yr in 4 split doses during intercultural operation or after pruning the plant or after leaf harvest by making the trenches of 10 –15 cm deep near the root zone of the plant and cover with soil and irrigate.

Root rot

Occurrence: Throughout the year in all types of soils especially when the soil moisture and organic matter in soil are low.

Crop loss: 15 % and above depending on the soil health and climate.


  • Sudden withering of plants.
  • leaves fall off from the bottom of the branches and progress upwards.
Rotten roots of mulberry plants.
  • The severely affected plants lose the hold in the soil and can be easily uprooted.
  • On severity, the entire root system gets decayed and plants die.
  • Affected plants after pruning, either fail to sprout or plant sprouted bears small and pale yellow leaves with rough surface.

Factors for spreading the disease:

  • The disease occurs in soils of high temperature (28 – 34ºC), low moisture (below 40 %) and low organic matter.
  • The disease spreads primarily through contaminated soil, farm implements and irrigation. The secondary source of infestation is through diseased saplings, irrigation and cultivation practices.

Control measure: A target specific areas with herbal 80% & chemicals 20% insecticide.

Precautions to be taken:

  • Do not irrigate the treated mulberry plants during the first 4-5 days.
  • Remove the dead mulberry plants and burn and expose the soil to sunlight.
  • Plant the new saplings after dipping their roots in 0.2 % infecticide/root rot disease solutions for 30 minutes before planting.
  • Maintain optimum organic content >0.5% in soils by applying compost/ manure.
  • During summer months irrigate the garden to keep the soil moisture around 50-60% to prevent the disease.


Pink Mealy Bug

Occurrence: It occurs throughout the year, but is severe during the summer months.

Symptoms : 

  • Causes Tukra(deformity). 
  • Leaves become dark green, wrinkled & thickened with shortened inter nodal distance resulting in bunchy top appearance/resetting of leaves. 
  • Mulberry leaf yield is reduced by 4,500 kg/ha/yr due to this pest.

Control measures

Mechanical control:

Controlling measures for Pink Mealy Bug

Clip off the infested portion by secateur, collect in a polythene bag, and destroy by burning. This will help in reducing the chances of recurrence of pests. This practice may be followed when the silkworms attain 4th age.

Chemical control: Spray Pesticide(@ 2.63 ml/lit water) 15–20 days after pruning. Safety period: 15 days.

Biological control:

Release predatory ladybird beetles Cryptolaemus Montrouzieri @ 250 adult beetles or Scymnus coccivora @ 500 adult beetles in two equal splits at an interval of 6 months.

Image Source: CSB, India

Availability of predatory ladybird beetles: Pest Management Lab., CSR&TI, Mysore (ph. No.0821-2903285) cost: Rs 120* per unit.

Mulberry Leaf Roller

Mulberry leaf roller insect.

Occurrence: Starts in June to February and peaks in September-October

Symptom :

  • The larva binds mulberry leaf blades by silken thread, staying inside & feeding. 
  • Its fecal matter can be seen below the infested portion.

Control measures

Mechanical control: Remove the infested portion (along with the larva) by secateur, collect in a polythene bag and destroy by burning.

Chemical control

  • Spray Pesticide 12 to 15 days after pruning. Safety period: 7 days.
  • Second spray of 0.5% neem pesticide (0.03% Azadirachtin) @5ml/Lit water,10 days after first spray. Safety period: 10 days.

Bihar Hairy Caterpillar

Occurrence: During Monsoon 

Symptom : 

  • Young larvae are gregariously found feeding on the underside of leaf giving an appearance of mesh and one can make out from distance. 
  • Grown up ones are solitary, very active, spread throughout the field and feed voraciously on the foliage.

Control measures

Mechanical control: Collect the egg masses or gregarious young caterpillars and destroy by dipping them in 0.5% soap solution or by burning them.

Chemical control:

  • Spray Infecticide(@ 1 ml/lit water) 12 to 15 days after pruning. Safety period: 7 days.
  • Second spray of 0.5% neem pesticide (0.03% Azadirachtin) @5ml/Lit water,10 days after first spray. Safety period: 10 days.

Biological control: Release egg parasitoids Trichogramma chilonis@1Tricho card/week for 4 weeks. Do not spray any insecticide after the release of trichogramma parasitoids.


Thrips & its effects on mulberry leaves

Occurrence & Symptom: Thrips, Pseudodendrothrips Mori, is a major pest in Tamil Nadu and a minor pest in Karnataka & Andhra Pradesh. It occurs throughout the year and is severe during summer (February – April). 


  • Both adults and nymphs lacerate the leaf tissues and suck the oozing sap. 
  • Affected leaves show streaks in early stages and yellowish/brown blotches in the advanced stage of attack.

Control measures

Mechanical control: Use sprinkler irrigation to disturb the thrips population & eggs on the underside of mulberry leaves.

Biological control: Release predatory ladybird beetles (Scymnus coccivora @ 500/acre).


Whitefly and its effect on a mulberry leaf.

Occurrence: March-June; October-December. 


  • The spiraling of waxy material is the typical symptom of white fly attack. 
  • Prolonged dry spell followed by the hot humid weather favours the white fly flare up. 
  • Both nymphs and adults pierce and suck the sap from foliage and the damaged leaf become unfit for silkworm rearing.

Control measures

Mechanical control:

  • Use sprinkler irrigation to disturb white fly population.
  • Fix yellow sticky traps @ 75-80 traps/acre to trap the adults.

Chemical control: 

Spray Pesticide (@ 1 ml/lit water) 12 days after pruning 

safety period: 10 days 

Second spray with 0.05% Rogor 30% EC @ 1.5 ml/lit. Safety period: 20 days

Biological control: Release predatory ladybird beetles Cryptolaemus montrouzieri @ 250 adult beetles or Scymnus coccivora @ 500 adult beetles/acre.

Keep checking the blog for more diseases and controlling measures.

Indemnification: All the contents of this book are collected with the intention of helping farmers. The source is the Central Silk Board and ReshaMandi is not responsible for any results or consequences.

This blog by ReshaMandi is written to help the farmers holistically, this blog not only provides information about the ways in which Mulberry leaves can be produced and about the diseases and pests that are common in Mulberry farms but it is also an attempt to provide the solutions to eradicate them.

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