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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