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applestar
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Share your Fig Tree -- Growing in the Ground

I wrote something a while back in another thread that would make perfect intro to this thread so I'm copying it here:
Subject: Fig Tree Not Growing Well
applestar wrote:Brown Turkey used to be the only variety available/offered by most mail order companies And garden centers back in 80's and 90's when I started collecting catalogs, and I suspect them to be the ones that are all over Zone 6 areas of north and central New Jersey neighborhoods and Pennsylvania up to NY. They are kept going from year to year through heroic efforts by their dedicated owner/gardeners, half root pruned to push it over, and are wrapped like a mummy and buried in coffin-like wooden-sided boxes in leaves and straw to protect from freezing in the winter.

I suspect that in some Italian and other south European ethnic neighborhoods, other varieties may have found their way by way of cuttings that were "carefully" brought over.

I've always wanted to grow figs but couldn't see myself doing all this, and set my sights on the Chicago Hardy once that became available and had been scanning and following winter survival reports and anecdotal recommendations ever since.
So, I did buy a Chicago Hardy fig and planted it in the ground on the SW side of the house.... I'm going to pull previous references to this little tree and then post the latest photo. I realize mine is pretty tiny since it was planted last year, and in this area, the upper branches can be expected to mostly die to the ground during the winter.

9/14/14
Subject: Container Fig Tree Care? -- Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter
applestar wrote:-- My new Chicago Hardy fig has been growing well and, since it's supposed to be hardy in the ground, hopefully it will crop more heavily than the container fig.
Image
I'm planning to train it in espalier style against this wall. 8)
5/13/15
Subject: Container Fig Tree Care? -- Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter
applestar wrote:Well, I had been concerned that the outside Chcago Hardy didn't make it. The upper portion of the longest branch felt dead, but not the ENTIRE branch, so I have been waiting with my fingers crossed.

I watered heavily last week thinking we haven't been getting enough rain...aaaand....

Tah-DAH !!!
Image :-()

-- you can see the new growth from the base, and there are several green buds developing up both branches. So you were correct that the upper portion did die, @rairdog. I think I will also take cuttings from the tips to try to root this year.
7/4/15
Subject: Container Fig Tree Care? -- Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter
applestar wrote:Chicago Hardy doesn't really belong in this thread since its planted in the ground outside, but since I mentioned it a couple of times here... :>

...it's starting to form flower buds (baby figs) :D
Image
...and one more update...
image.jpg
I would love to see some photos of other members' figs -- how they grow in cold zones like here, or big spreading trees growing in mild winter areas. I'd love to see different cultivars, too. :()
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ElizabethB
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Re: Share your Fig Tree -- Growing in the Ground

Applestar - good luck with your figs.

I do not have a fig tree because I never had room for one with the live oak. Now that the oak is gone I will plant a fig. I really like the Brown turkey. I think they are the best caning fig. Obviously not suitable for your region. I have eaten LSU Purple and LSU Gold figs both raw and canned - they do not have the sugar content of the plain old Brown Turkey.

In the late 1920's my grandfather planted a gold fig tree. It is unique. After many discussions with our County Agent we assume that it is a rare variety that survived the floods of 1927. Our CA took many cuttings and brought them to LSU for research and propagation.

The fruit is pale gold. It matures earlier than the Brown turkey. The figs are larger than the Brown Turkey. It is not as sweet and has a higher water content than the BT. It is not the best for canning. More sugar is needed and it has to cook down more. It IS wonderful eaten fresh or frozen.

Dad took cuttings from the original tree and Mom still has 2 trees in her yard. They are getting old. I probably need to take a cutting just to keep this family treasure growing.

I have tried - as in taste test - several varieties. The Brown Turkey is by far the best for canning.

I hope you are able to nurse your fig to maturity. I am curious.

Good luck
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

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applestar
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Re: Share your Fig Tree -- Growing in the Ground

Thanks for that story, @ElizabethB -- I hope you can keep the Golden Fig going. :D

I let all five shoots grow. Do you think that might have been too many? Would that delay the development of the fruits?

I'm going to top that tallest leader shoot as soon as I can prepare to try to root it. It's been very hectic so far trying to keep up with the rest of the garden that have been growing in leaps and bounds....
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ElizabethB
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Re: Share your Fig Tree -- Growing in the Ground

IDK - In south Louisiana if you plant a 3 to 5 year old fig tree (3 to 5 gallon container) they need winter protection for the first 3 years.

Since you lost most of your fig I would just let it grow. The more foliage growth the better it will survive winter.

At this point you need to worry about the survival of the tree. Don't expect fruit for a couple of years. If your tree starts to produce fruit pinch them off. Let your root system develop and get a healthy tree.

Good luck
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

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applestar
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Re: Share your Fig Tree -- Growing in the Ground

It's September -- when are these going to ripen?!
image.jpg
I let five stems grow and staked them into fan shape. I think four of them are all loaded with fruits like this.

I topped the longest two leaders a while back and am rooting the cutting (one died -- I think the cut tip wasn't mature enough). There are side shoots starting to grow from the pruned stems. Do you think it would be worth it to top all of the stems again? Would that turn the tree's attention to ripening the fruits?
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sueannefl
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Re: Share your Fig Tree -- Growing in the Ground

I have two celeste fig trees that have served me well for twenty five years in Florida producing fruit twice a year. Have another brown mission that is ten years old. The fruit is as large as plums while the other ones are smaller but sweeter. Do freeze the surplus for smoothies and spreads.
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Figs 8=11=15 in container.jpg
Figs 7x3.jpg

sueannefl
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Re: Share your Fig Tree -- Growing in the Ground

My celeste fig tree was very hardy this year even though we had a cold spell in Feb. It is coming back with more figs this month which I will freeze again what we don't use. Don't know how many more years it will last, will have to start making new plants with some cuttings.
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Fig tree ready to fruit 22x.jpg

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applestar
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Re: Share your Fig Tree -- Growing in the Ground

Nice! Your post had me looking up Celeste fig ...and others... Trying very hard to resist the urge to buy another variety.... :>

I'm practicing propagating my two varieties from cuttings. Once I get the process perfected, maybe I'll look for ways to obtain cuttings of other varieties.

...looks like I didn't post an update photo of the Chicago Hardy harvest. I'll round up some pictures. :wink:
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gumbo2176
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Re: Share your Fig Tree -- Growing in the Ground

I'm not sure of the age of my fig tree, but I do know it was a well established tree when I bought this house in 1992 and one of the things the previous owner, an elderly lady, said she was going to miss most.

I though I lost it when Hurricane Katrina dumped over 4 ft. of floodwaters in August of 05 in my neighborhood and stayed there for about 3 weeks before finally draining away totally. How many chemicals and other pollutants were in that water is unknown to me, but I'm sure it was a lot. I lost my Sweet Olive in my front yard-----loved that tree and the aroma of the sweet flowers they made a couple times a year along with the welcomed afternoon shade so we could enjoy sitting out there in the evenings. I also lost a Loquat (Japanese Plum) and a Satsuma tree in my back yard.

Why the fig survived is beyond me. I do remember trimming it heavily in the late fall of 06 and was pleasantly surprised how much the tree came back in the spring and into the summer. I had a great crop of figs that summer and even better the next year. It has been a steady producer for me and I'd estimate I pick at least 1000 figs a season from it. There are days I pick in excess of 100+ figs and many days average 60-70 a picking.

I love to make fig preserves, I'll dry some, eat many of them plain or used in cooking, or simply give some away to those who love them as much as the wife and I.

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Re: Share your Fig Tree -- Growing in the Ground

There are mainly three kinds of figs grown here Black Mission, Brown Turkey , and White Figs. The white figs are ok if you preserve the otherwise even the birds won't touch them. Black Mission and Brown Turkey have both been very good and sweet. It still depends on the tree. The Brown Turkey I have in the herb garden is very sweet and actually never really stops producing year round. In the cooler months it won't get to a very dark color. I have to get to them before the bulbuls do. There are other figs in the orchard but people have said the one in the herb garden gives more fruit and tastes better than the other one.
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applestar
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Re: Share your Fig Tree -- Growing in the Ground

Well, I over-neglected my potted figs and they lost what fruits they had developed this spring. It's just as welł since they needed to be pruned back severely and I have trouble doing that when they are loaded with fruits. :P

The in-ground Chicago Hardy has taken off and is ful-filling its purpose to shade this SW wall during the summer :()

Image

I keep looking at the CH now loaded with fruits -- I'm not sure if the remaining local critters and birds will go after them. I harvested first ripe fruit from it ... yesterday or the day before. I used to count the number of fruits to keep track, but there are too many to bother now.
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gumbo2176
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Re: Share your Fig Tree -- Growing in the Ground

I just read my post above from 2015 and I'm envious of how much my fig tree was producing back then. It is now 2017 and by my best calculation, my tree is probably about 30 years old and showing its age. I had the worst production I've ever had this past summer, but found out it was a problem area wide, but my tree has been diseased for a few years now and is slowly dying back branch by branch. It is now about half the size it was 2 years ago.

I have cut it back several times to try to stem the spread, but it's not working and from what I've read, it is irreversible, especially for a tree that is probably near the end of its life cycle. I'll not plant another tree since much of my back yard is now devoted to my vegetable garden and at one time I did have 2 fig trees and removed the other one due to it being diseased also. It was in that spot I decided to make my 48 sq. ft. raised bed for root crops.

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