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Sericulture Research & Development Council

Mulberry Plantation

Mulberry foliage is the only food for the silkworms (Bombyx mori) and is grown under varied climatic conditions ranging from temperate to tropical. Mulberry leaf is a major economic component in sericulture since the quality and quantity of leaf produced per unit area have a direct bearing on cocoon harvest. In India, most states have taken up sericulture as an important agro-industry with excellent results. The total area of mulberry in the country is around 282 244 ha.

Climatic requirements

Mulberry thrives under various climatic conditions ranging from temperate to tropical located north of the equator between 28° N and 55°N latitude. The ideal range of temperature is from 24 to 28°C. Mulberry grows well in places with an annual rainfall ranging from 600 to 2 500 mm. In areas with low rainfall, growth is limited through moisture stress, resulting in low yields. On average, mulberry requires 340m3/ha of water every ten days in case of loamy soils and 15 days in clayey soils. Atmospheric humidity in the range of 65-80 percent is ideal for mulberry growth. Sunshine is one of the important factors controlling growth and leaf quality. In the tropics, mulberry grows with a sunshine range of nine to 13 hours a day. Mulberry can be cultivated from sea level up to an elevation of 1 000 m.

Soil condition

Mulberry flourishes well in soils that are flat, deep, fertile, well drained, loamy to clayey, and porous with good moisture holding capacity. The ideal range of soil pH is 6.2 to 6.8, the optimum being 6.5 to 6.8. Soil amendments may be used to correct the soil to obtain the required pH.