[NAFEX] figs Protection

Donna &/or Kieran holycow at cookeville.com
Wed Mar 14 22:28:34 EDT 2007

I am certainly appreciating everyone's comments on figs.  I have tried for years, taking care only to get cuttings or rooted plants from trees that have actually cropped in my area, and they still won't crop for me.  They die to the ground despite my covering them with leaves and even fencing full of leaves... and they never set any fruit on new wood for me.  Then this past summer the secretary started coming in every day with a handful of figs to give away.  
    So here are some bits and peices I have learned about figs:
    The secretary has her fig (LSU Purple) surrounded with 2 ft of chicken wire and piles all her autumn leaves onto it, continuing to add more as the winter goes on.  She says the tree was 5 yrs old before it started cropping.  I have never been that patient.  
    The source of one of my fig trees is down in the Central Basin next to a river, I think they have some temp moderation.  
    In Florida when I talked with someone about figs, they said figs require vast amounts of water.  We don't have that, so I think our figs are a bit slower to come back.  
    This past summer we picked figs off a local tree( a "lemon fig" aka Marseilles), and the owner said that like blueberries (which they grow commercially) figs have a fibrous root system that is unable to compete with other plants.  He said figs really need to be mulched, but that they do very well on little root space in pots.  They have very different soil from us, very porous rather than tight clay.  
    I notice that people in towns, and people who talk about planting next to a wall tend to have more success.  We are on the top of a hill and the wind blows everything when the fronts come in.  I think that this alone weighs against our ever being successful with overwintering figs outside at our place.  So last fall we dug up our fig, put it in a huge pot full of old sawdust, and took it to a friend's basement.  I got another fig down in Florida and plan to pot it in her yard as well.  The friend loves figs, and is old enough that holding a garden hose for them is about her speed for gardening anymore.  Hopefully for the first time in my life I will be able to observe figs actually going through a full production cycle.  It was nice to go eat figs at a friend's place in Atlanta, but I'm irritated enough that I want to finally succeed with figs.     Donna 
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