Growing Figs Successfully
Planting: Dig hole at least one foot greater in diameter than the total spread of roots the depth of the longest root. Fill in lower 2 inches of hole with mixture of 50% native soil and a 50% mix of Soil Booster and 1-2 cups of Earthworm Castings . Press this mixture down firmly. Create a mound in the center of the hole with the soil mixture. Set tree upright in hole with stem in center. Spread out roots as evenly as possible over the mound of soil and back fill mixture around all roots. Fill in hole completely. Add 1 cup of fertilizer at this time - we recommend E.B. Stone All Purpose Plant Food or E.B. Stone Citrus and Fruit Tree Food. Make a basin for holding water by building a circular ridge around the diameter of the hole and fill slowly with water. The water will settle the soil around the roots. The graft should be positioned about 2 inches above ground level, facing north.
Watering: Water when the soil 6 inches below the surface is just barely moist. Apply enough water to wet the soil 3 to 4 feet deep. Mature trees will require less watering, but should still get regular water during summer.
Feeding: Fertilize three to four times during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer (16-16-16) such as E.B. Stone All Purpose Plant Food or E.B. Stone Citrus and Fruit Tree Food . Avoid fertilizers too high in nitrogen as they will stimulate leafy growth at the expense of fruit production. It is not necessary to fertilize during the dormant season.
When to expect fruit: New whips are about 2 years old, so small crops should begin this year or next.
Pruning: The success of any deciduous fruit tree depends a great deal upon the initial training which it receives the first three years.
White and Brown Figs require heavier annual pruning than black figs: With a new tree, it is advisable to start out with a low crotch (20-24” above ground) or just a single whip. During the first season, select evenly spaced branches around the main trunk and do not allow more than 3 new branches to grow. These figs bear fruit on current season's growth. Each branch can be pruned heavily to two bud spurs, waiting until danger of frost has passed.
Black figs: Cut back new tree to 2 feet from the ground. Leave up to three branches. Thin out diseased, dead or disoriented branches and maintain an evenly spaced form. Fruit is produced on wood that is at least one year old.
Pests and Diseases: Birds Cover with bird netting and harvest regularly. Rust Fungal rust colored raised spots appear on the undersides of the leaves. Spray with Serenade or Liquicop at detection. Repeat every 3-4 weeks throughout growing season. Be sure to clean up fall debris. Fig Mosaic Virus Leaves are mottled yellow and have translucent areas. Often fruit is spotted yellow. Fruit and foliage may drop prematurely. Apply horticultural oil spray in the winter. Gophers A gopher favorite, protect during planting with a gopher basket.
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