I was given a small Texas everbearing fig today with some instruction about
growing which included that it will freeze down in the winter, (zone 6b)
bears on new wood, needs heavy mulching, should be planted on the south side
of the house, and needs no spraying. Further research indicated it's critter
candy (use netting) is a nematode favorite, and needs no fertilizing beyond
Can anyone, who has raised this fig, give me any additional tips?
I have a fig tree that Mary Emma gave me 9 years ago from a branch that
rooted under the mulch she and Roger put over and around it in the fall. The
first two years I mulched it and cut it back like she did. The third year I
was distracted and it did fine. You're in zone 7, right? Or 6b? (they don't
acknowledge the a's and b's in the zonal maps now, just microclimates....).
If you vaguely remember mine when you and your bride came thru........my fig
I think might be a Chicago fig. But fig never the less. Could be a Turkish
variety. Last year it never got pruned and it set fruit earlier than I'd
ever seen it set. Last fall I like a fool pruned the branches back on it
and now regret it.
Yes, it does set fruit on new growth. Mine lives in a two foot deep raised
bed on the southwestern portion of my side yard. We had a real winter this
year, and once the leaves popped out on the remaining branches I'd left, I
pruned back some of the dead growth which was minimal despite the cold
temperatures this last year.
I no longer mulch my fig. As for critters eating it........not sure about
that. You have deer problems though, don't you.? Well just make a netting
fence around it. Nematodes? I never have a problem. I never spray it, I
top dress mine, and there's flowers around the skirts of mine. Now I wish
I'd never hard pruned it one year because it will grow a branch down low on
the trunk that I have to remove or the tree will take over the bed......
If you think you're going to have a very cold winter, dump a couple of bags
of leaves on it once it drops all the leaves, and it'll be fine. Come next
spring watch where the leaves come out on the branches and just prune the
dead off. It will take your figs all spring and summer to get to ripen
point, but you'll adore and relish them. Watch for wasps when they ripen
up. They stick their heads into the fig after they munch a hole and get so
happy they wiggle their butts while they eat. But as loaded as mine was last
year, I never had a wasp problem.
If mine grows into a low tree, that will be fine, too. I'm not cutting
branches again. I think that as solid as the roots are now, it would take a
sub-zero winter holding temperatures that cold for over a week to kill the
fig now. How large is it? If it's 2 or 3 gallon, it might take it a year to
establish, but mine set fruit the next year after Mary Emma gave me the
cutting. And I've shared cuttings twice now in the last 9 years! Connie
says her mama loves her fig tree I gave her two cuttings of, that it's huge
now, and she lives in Oak Ridge.
If you have a deer problem seriously, I'd consider watching to see if they
approach it before worrying about netting the tree. And the fruit is
awesome, so I suspect they would eat the fruit once it started to ripen
which would be around August or September. Once the days shorten, you might
not get many ripe figs before the frosts come, but that's why I think my
figs set fruit earlier last year because I didn't cut it back. I fear this
year I am back to square one with my own tree :( Now that Mary Emma's is so
huge, her's is loaded with fruit. Cutting back did affect the ripening of
hers too as Roger cut it completely back and she didn't have much to eat
last year when the branches grew from the trunk. It will be up to you, and
seeing how your winter affects the tree. Give it room to be happy. I'd put
it in a raised bed. Might be why mine is so happy where it is, and Mary
Emma's lives next to her concrete driveway..........
Once you taste a ripe fig, you'll never eat a Fig Newton again! <g> hope
this helped a little bit. Good luck!