Question: My fruitless mulberry tree has a dead limb (red dot). I’d like to prune it out, but I see dark discoloration where the dead branch has been growing together with a living branch. How should I prune it, and should I wait until winter? T.N., Marfa.

Answer: There is active decay where moisture has been seeping in. That causes the discoloration, and it looks like the decay may have moved into the living branch at its base as well. Further, the branch in the back that appears to be coming off at an odd angle seems like another problem. I would suggest using a small hand pruning saw to remove the dead branch carefully. Once you have it out of the way, you’ll be able to determine the health of the remaining larger branch. You can do this type of pruning now if you wish. I just hope the decay hasn’t moved into the healthy branch. The troubles probably began where the two branches pinched together and trapped moisture and debris. The same thing happens to Bradford pears. Good luck with it!

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