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  • Recommendations for fig trees in the front of the house

    I have 5 in-ground fig trees growing in the front of my house (RdB, IC, Duck UNK, VdB). They are still mostly small (< 2 ft tall).
    Obviously, I think fig trees are the best curb-appeal plant ever.... but not all may agree. I am looking for recommendations as to how I can grow these to make them look appealing to others.

    Bush vs tree?
    Other planting around them?
    If you have them in front of your house, can you please post pictures?
    Zone 6a/b - west of Boston
    Waiting for climate change to bump me to Zone 8

  • #2
    Great question. I'm interested in hearing and seeing how others have used fig trees in their landscaping.
    South Jersey, zone 7a- 20 mins from Philly, 30 mins from AC

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    • #3
      In my opinion, training them as trees and keeping them from getting too big would be the first steps in maximizing curb appeal. Maybe two layers of scaffolding before getting to the fruiting spurs.
      Eric - Seattle / Sunset Zone 5 - W/L: Granato - Now offering fig-pops, my rooting mix, and gritty potting mix! https://www.figbid.com/Listing/Brows...er=pacnorwreck

      Comment


      • #4
        invision a triple canopy tropical forest with a rapidly disapering house,front of house faces south,so tallest trees agaist house tapering toward street .All that missing is piped in jungle sounds ! Neibores seem ok with it .
        Zone 10a So. Calif. W.L. Super tasty new finds !

        Comment


        • FigTreeJunkie
          FigTreeJunkie commented
          Editing a comment
          Sounds incredible.... triggers the fig envy common in all of us living in northern climates!

        • JCT
          JCT commented
          Editing a comment
          That would be perfect. In the summer, shade during the hottest part of the day. In the winter, the leaves are gone and the sun can warm the house.

      • #5
        yeah, in no time neighbors will see figs falling from sky
        Zone 5/6. WL: Black Ischia UCD, Exquisito, Vern's Brown Turkey, Florea, Iranian Candy, Smith, LSU Hollier&Champagne, Cyperus Honey, Lebnese Baskinta Purple, Col de Dema Blanc, Longue D'aoute

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        • #6
          The form of the trees follow the form of the house.

          If you get a ranch, train trees to spreading bush or weeping form. Never a central leader tall "tree".

          If the trees are spaced apart, then they are considered "specimen" trees. But 5 specimen trees are a little too many. So you'll have to arrange them in various pattern or different shapes.

          Some grow a row of trees as a boundary with neighbor(s). They can be trained as a hedge.

          Some have a long driveway. So a row of fig trees follows the flow.

          Here is a single tree as a "specimen" in a garden setting.

          Then two long rows (staggered) of 18 each along a long driveway.

          Attached Files
          Princeton, New Jersey, 6B
          flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/red-sun/albums
          http://growingfruit.org/ for all fruits

          Comment


          • FigTreeJunkie
            FigTreeJunkie commented
            Editing a comment
            What is weeping form? Pull the branches down?

          • Realtorbyday
            Realtorbyday commented
            Editing a comment
            your figs look awesome! they're happy.

        • #7
          In my opinion, regardless of what height or width you’re looking at, one thing that makes them look more attractive is having a couple feet of bare trunk at the bottom, rather than having leaves obscuring everything all the way to the ground.

          Fig tree bark is pretty white after it’s old enough, making a striking contrast to the dark foliage, and I think it looks really nice.
          Baltimore, MD (7a?) - Restarting my collection as of February 2022 - Wish me Luck!

          Comment


          • #8
            Here are my three favorite things I have seen for fig tree growth patterns in people's yards....

            1) Vertical tree: Single trunk that splits into two a few feet up and so-on until there was a large/wide canopy just high enough off of the ground to walk under easily... providing see-through vision to the wonderful flower garden that was behind it... and a shade garden w/it's focal points (ferns, benches, and such) beyond that.

            2) Espalier: This one was my favorite so far. A family had a row of Espalier fig trees growing up their driveway up to the curb... with a flower bed in the underside the whole way. The tree branches were fully supporting themselves with two very large branches that hovered off of the ground for about 2ft off of the ground for about 10ft on each side of the tree. The branches were very thick/established. Then there were a large series of small branches growing vertically off of that... which almost looked like bonsai in nature.

            3) Large Bush: I saw one yard that grew their trees in bush form. Usually this does not look so good. However, this one was well kept. Clean of the 5 billion trunks down to a select 3 to 5 that started from a main trunk a foot or two off of the ground. Branches were well thinned... and a mower could still keep under the bush. What brought them together is that each fig bush was the main "Focal plant" in a cluster/island of plants out in the yard. With walking pathway/focal points that bring them together.

            I love focal points like pathways, bright flowers, statues, benches, or outdoor rooms. They make you want to start taking a walk through the garden to see what is down the path.

            Comment


            • #9
              @FigTreeJunkie

              Here is the weeping form of an old tree. Not fig tree in particular. They can just cut off current fruiting branches and re-grow new fruiting brunches next year. This is how grape growers train their grapevines. Then plant size won't grow larger.

              When I visited Greece two years ago, I saw quite some really old fig trees at town center and back yard. They are all in this kind of low spreading form. Some are multi trunked. But still look like a fan shaped. They do not train any fig trees that grow to 30' tall. They can't harvest those.
              Attached Files
              Princeton, New Jersey, 6B
              flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/red-sun/albums
              http://growingfruit.org/ for all fruits

              Comment


              • #10
                The other thing I'd like to add is that, fig has very large leaf, almost the same color. The foliage can be very dense. When mature, fig tree can be very overwhelming in any landscape. So take that into consideration. For most landscape, one or two fig trees in the front yard would be enough. Fig really belongs to side yard or backyard. IMO, it should be used as specimen only in front yard. 5 fig trees in front yard can block the house and make house smaller.
                Princeton, New Jersey, 6B
                flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/red-sun/albums
                http://growingfruit.org/ for all fruits

                Comment


                • great08
                  great08 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  That is one thing I am excited about at the new place I just moved into...

                  My front yard is about 4 acres. I have MANY potential places to plant figs now and not look too over crowded.

                  Still, I plan to keep them back near the house for the most part. If they are making figs daily for months... that would be a lot of walking daily to pick figs!

                  I will probably use most of the front yard for pecans, apples, peaches, pears, etc. Anything that only makes fruit for a short time. I just have to keep them within reach of a water hose for watering.

              • #11
                I walk by this front garden often but noticed someone had given the tree a hard pruning and rather cleverly manage to espalier the free at the same time but not against a wall but by flattening the branches against each other.
                The other pic is obviously a traditional espalier against a wall, from national heritage site nearby.
                Attached Files
                RHS rating H3 (USDA zone 9)

                Comment


                • Joshawa
                  Joshawa commented
                  Editing a comment
                  the fig wall is a masterpiece!

              • #12
                For a large front yard, it is better to plant fig trees at the side. The fig tree, along with foundation shrubs extend your "house" further to both sides. Then your house looks larger. This is how we add the curb appeal.

                Fig tree looks "exotic". So do not over-use it. At backyard, fig trees can add dense green and provide a lot privacy.
                Princeton, New Jersey, 6B
                flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/red-sun/albums
                http://growingfruit.org/ for all fruits

                Comment


                • #13
                  I was told by a fellow that had 100 % of his front yard planted in tomatos ,pepers rubarb ,beans ,carrots beats ,radish etc . that it was tacky to grow CORN in front yard !!!! Ever since i got that lecture i felt like front yards where fair game for any plant ,not going to be a plant hypocrite like he was .NOW old broken down cars and trucks are another matter .IF you do not have fig trees every where ,your giving up a lot WONDERFULL FIGS !!! for what ?? lawn ? plants you cant eat ?? UNLESS your planning to sell your house who carres how big it looks ?? Just the opinion of a fig junkie .
                  Zone 10a So. Calif. W.L. Super tasty new finds !

                  Comment


                  • Badgerferrit
                    Badgerferrit commented
                    Editing a comment
                    My front yard is the only thing not planted out (just a few citrus) but I have been spreading 1/4” of compost 3 times a year just so it’s ready to grow food the second I needed it. The entire rest of my property already is. Lol

                • #14
                  Clearly OP is looking for curb "appeal". So I do not think many people like front yard to be a plant jungle or maze. To most of the people, front yard is the face of the house and the family. There are a lot of ornamentals attached to it. It is not for "practical" purposes.

                  The same thing we keep recycle bins in the back or side. Backyard is the private and practical space that really belong to the family. There is even the new concept of "she shed" for lady's space.

                  The same thing we probably never want to build a family swimming poor in the front yard, unless it is a very formal pool with fountain.

                  For any house with like $500,000 or more value, all the planting should be designed to add value, not decrease the value. Folks just need to be creative.
                  Princeton, New Jersey, 6B
                  flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/red-sun/albums
                  http://growingfruit.org/ for all fruits

                  Comment


                  • Fig Gazer
                    Fig Gazer commented
                    Editing a comment
                    YOU CAN NOT BY A EMPTY LOT AROUND HERE FOR $ 500,000 . FROM THE COMPLIMENTS I GET ,I THINK MOST PEOPLE WOULD RATHER LOOK AT A GROVE OF TREES RATHER THAN ANOTHER HOUSE . Probably can find a million + houses to look at for every fig grove . My aires can deside to remove or thin these trees after they plant me ,

                • #15
                  Fig Gazer I'm with you. My take is: If it's not producing food, it's not worth having.
                  Part of the motivation for this thread is how to add fig trees to an edible landscape.... or at least an increasingly-edible landscape.

                  Red_Sun Thanks for the input. I am 100% practical, but looking to do so in a way to keep it looking ornamental for my better-half!
                  Zone 6a/b - west of Boston
                  Waiting for climate change to bump me to Zone 8

                  Comment


                  • #16
                    There was another discussion at a different site. OP has a family with very young kid(s). He decided to remove lawn and kids playground for fruit trees. He also removed a row of screen hedge trees since they block his sunlight. That removed the privacy between his house and neighbors' houses.

                    Certainly it is his own yard and his own wife and kid(s). But personally I won't do that. For that much work, he should just sell the current house and buy another house with a larger yard that can better suit the needs.
                    Princeton, New Jersey, 6B
                    flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/red-sun/albums
                    http://growingfruit.org/ for all fruits

                    Comment


                    • FigTreeJunkie
                      FigTreeJunkie commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Definitely depends on the person, but fruit tree orchard sounds like an even better playground for kids and parents!

                    • great08
                      great08 commented
                      Editing a comment
                      As far as kids go... I have noticed something amazing with them...

                      Just like with wildlife/nature... they are attracted to what is called "The Edge Effect".

                      Almost all life congregates on the edge of where two environments meet. This can come in many forms. Where the bottom of a rock touches soil, the forest turns into a field, a stream running through a field, a pile of rocks warmed by the sun, etc, etc.

                      Start stacking those environments/textures and life will become attracted and drawn into it. Your land will be able to hold more life and will attract it.

                      A local park that I used to take my kids to had a massive field on one side, a stream with lots of stones running along the edge, and a cleared forest along the other end that had a playground.

                      Never once did my kids go out into the empty field. They were always in the same places all of the wildlife was. Near the edges.

                  • #17
                    Bottom line -- grow them however you wish from May to November. If you want a good shot at fruit you'll need to protect them from December through April, so decide what form will be easier (and more visually pleasing to your SO) to wrap/protect.
                    “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
                    – Source Unknown
                    MA 5b/6a

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                    • #18
                      For your front yard I think the single trunk tree would look the best

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                      • #19
                        Sure you can do whatever you want. Just not sure if you enjoy this sight at your front yard.

                        https://www.bbg.org/gardening/articl...for_the_winter
                        Attached Files
                        Princeton, New Jersey, 6B
                        flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/red-sun/albums
                        http://growingfruit.org/ for all fruits

                        Comment


                        • Realtorbyday
                          Realtorbyday commented
                          Editing a comment
                          There's a farm up the road from me who wraps their trees exactly like the ones in the link every year. It looks bad but it works.

                      • #20
                        They look like mummies 🧐,
                        Mario
                        Texas 9A

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                        • #21
                          Here we go again🤦🏻‍♂️

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                          • #22
                            If I were putting them out front, I'd choose dwarf or semi-dwarf varieties that will stay small and bush-like. Pick the ones that will reliably produce year after year in your zone with minmal protection to eliminate the ugly front yard mummy issue- although that could work for Halloween hahaha. Pick ones that won't die back so you don't end up with a big hole in your landscape after a harsh winter. Olympian is one variety that comes to mind. Not fancy but would work for this kind of application.
                            South Jersey, zone 7a- 20 mins from Philly, 30 mins from AC

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                            • #23
                              How about this: A wrap that has fake pine needles on the exterior. That way it looks like a pine tree all winter.

                              <mic drop>
                              Zone 6a/b - west of Boston
                              Waiting for climate change to bump me to Zone 8

                              Comment


                              • Realtorbyday
                                Realtorbyday commented
                                Editing a comment
                                I like it. You could decorate it for each hoilday.

                            • #24
                              FigTreeJunkie I've been thinking about your question... about the how part. It's a challenge. Couldn't you use fig trees a lot like you would use forsythias or rhodos? The only thing would be that you can't use them to hide things because they lose their leaves. How did you do it for the ones you have already? You should post pics so we can see. Are you in a development? The RdB, IC and VdB are usually naturally sort of shrub-like. Are you keeping yours as shrubs? You could make a whole row of VdB fig shrubs! There'd be cute little fig fruit everywhere. Alternatively, if you keep a few of them in the front yard in tree form, nobody will think it looks odd in the winter when your trees are naked. They'll just look like regular trees if you don't cut them back until late, late winter.
                              South Jersey, zone 7a- 20 mins from Philly, 30 mins from AC

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                              • ginamcd
                                ginamcd commented
                                Editing a comment
                                Up here if they are not sufficiently protected through the winter, there will likely be nothing but dead wood left to chop back to the ground by late winter.

                            • #25
                              Realtorbyday 4 of the 5 in the front are 12" or less. One is 4 ft and being grown as a bush with a single leader (basically can go either way right now).

                              I was looking into landscaping, and a lot of methods seem to use layering such that there are colors during the spring/ summer but then evergreens are included to maintain a screen during the winter.

                              Zone 6a/b - west of Boston
                              Waiting for climate change to bump me to Zone 8

                              Comment


                              • Realtorbyday
                                Realtorbyday commented
                                Editing a comment
                                There are some really nice azaleas varieties now that could work as your greenery plus give you flowers to go along with your figs.
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