The mulberry has been dropping leaves, some have yellowed and the ends of twigs have withered, while the fruit is much smaller than that on other trees in the neighbourhood, so I’ve been in contact with the estimable Stephen Read of specialist fruit growers, Reads Nursery in Norfolk. It seems the tree is stressed – our dry sandy soil is not to its liking and I have compounded the problem by planting it on the edge of the terraced lawn. Stephen’s advice was to immediately go outside and ‘turn the hose on and forget it for a few hours’ as initial first aid treatment. We are on a water meter so I couldn’t quite bring myself to give it more than an hour’s soaking, but it has now had a good drink. He also recommend spraying it with liquid seaweed which I will do tomorrow and then give it a really deep mulch of well-rotted manure over the winter. Poor tree, no wonder it has struggled – it transpires that my neighbour’s mulberry is planted close to a spring so it has all the water it needs – hence the monster fruit.