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  • Fig orchard or Fig Heaven

    This year I decided to reduce some of my potted and perhaps unproductive two year old fig trees by planting them at a remote location that I have.
    I consider this to be a test run. I was encouraged after planting a fig tree last summer and left it unattended most summer.
    The original tree totally died but a new sucker came out this spring, it looked healthy enough to encourage me to undertake this experiment.
    These trees will not be irrigated regularly. If time allows it perhaps once a week as I intend to be hauling some water during the summer from a nearby well and see if these trees will adjust to the climate.
    The trees in my backyard get drip irrigation so it is easy to see if they need more or less, but these trees will be on their own.

    I kept my harder to get varieties for a second run at a future date. After doing this and rooting some new varieties this past winter, by my last count I still had about 100 potted varieties in my backyard. I'm puzzled as to how I ended up having more fig trees after removing these ones from my collection. I guess less means more!

    This non irrigated row contains the following varieties in the following order:
    Tashkent
    Celeste
    Lemon Fig
    Col de Dame Blanc
    Magnolia
    Black Mission
    Africana
    Improved Celeste
    Italian Lost tag///??
    Black Mission
    Beer's Black
    Italian Lost Tag///
    Goklop
    Italian Lost Tag///??
    White Brogiotto
    San Vincenzo
    Melanzana
    Italian Lost Tag///
    Black Brogiotto??



    You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 2 photos.
    Sas North Austin, TX Zone 8B

  • #2
    Nice looking job Sas.
    Nothing in the world takes the place of growing citrus till figs come along. Ray City, Ga. Zone 8 b.

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    • #3
      Where are you located Sas?

      I'm liking your row of trees, I hope they do well for you.
      Scott - Colorado Springs, CO - Zone 4/5 (Depending on the year) - Elevation 6266ft

      “Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.” – Bill Mollison

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      • #4
        Thanks Hershell & Scott I'm in North Austin TX Zone 8A
        Last edited by Sas; 05-09-2015, 08:45 AM.
        Sas North Austin, TX Zone 8B

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        • #5
          Have you thought of severe pruning at all? It will reduce the amount of water they need to get established.
          .

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          • #6
            @ Brent, I never thought about it this way. I am more concerned about the deer doing the pruning for me.
            I put a bag of mulch for each tree last week and hope that it will help the roots get established faster.
            Sas North Austin, TX Zone 8B

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            • #7
              This is how the area looked like before Mowing the grass and mulching. The trees were planted in late winter when dormant.
              You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 1 photos.
              Sas North Austin, TX Zone 8B

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              • #8
                Sas,
                Thanks for sharing your photos and info.
                Looking forward to your updates. I'm curious to see which cultivars excel under those conditions.
                Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

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                • #9
                  This is what I may end up doing with extras and less desirable plants. I have considered planting in areas like parks and empty lots.

                  Mike in Hanover, VA. Zone 7

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                  • #10
                    Sas, Looks like you are on the low side of the faultline which means deeper and better soil than what is on the high side (hillcountry). Your trees should do fine. I would keep them mulched and watered enough to keep them alive for two years. They should be on their own by then.

                    Great job!
                    Jerry, Canyon Lake TX 8b

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                    • #11
                      Hi Sas,

                      I have some advice based on my experiences planting in a similar manner near Granger.
                      • You will need a lot more mulch. Try to find a tree trimming service to bring you a truck load or two of wood chips. I would recommend a minimum 5' ring by at least 4 inches (more if you can pull it off) this is about 6.5 cubic feet per tree. I was on a geology tour of Iceland last summer and our guide mentioned 8" of volcanic ash would choke off the existing plants in the landscape. Even with a super thick layer of mulch, the grass and weeds will find their way through. I do not like using landscape fabric because the roots from the tree will grow above it into the mulch. I would use large pieces of cardboard (call appliance shops for refrigerator boxes or auto body shops for the replacement hood packaging) to lay down the around the trees. The cardboard will allow moisture to get through and break apart in a few years and the mulch will become part of the soil. You will want to add to the mulch and extend the ring every year. Also, do not put the mulch against the tree.
                      • Plan out next years area this year. I'm not sure how much better your soil is than mine. From an A&M report, not much of Texas really has good soil. In Granger, the soil is not very good at all and there is a thick layer of hardpan starting at about 14". So far, I've found only a few weeds will penetrate the hardpan. I went through the field with a 2' cultivator, I do not think it really helped much. By the looks of the swath you cut, I'm thinking you might have access to a tractor with a 3pt /PTO. If so, get an augur and drill 4' deep holes this year. Drill the hold for the tree, then drill as many holes as you have time to around the initial hole. You will want to do the drilling this year, so the mound you create will have some time to settle without taking your tree down with it.
                      • Plant early and bare root the trees. I have found the best time to start planting is in February (or October if you have adequate winter protection) and be done by mid March. This allows time for the trees to establish their roots before the onset of summer heat. I think this becomes more important if you are minimally irrigating. I have found the trees to grow more slowly into native soil if they are still in the container rootball. Also, the rootball dries out quicker when buried in native soil.
                      • Remove the grass from the row your trees are planted.
                      Last edited by Bijan; 05-09-2015, 03:32 PM.
                      Littleton, CO (zone 5b) - In Containers
                      N.E. of Austin, TX (zone 8b)- In Ground.

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                      • #12
                        Very nice! Funny how some of your 'unproductive' or extras are at the top of others' lists. I guess when you have over 100 that happens!
                        Phil
                        Zone 7A - Newark, DE; Zone 8A - Wilmington, NC;

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                        • Bijan
                          Bijan commented
                          Editing a comment
                          I think geography should be a major consideration when we make recommendations on varieties to grow and techniques to use.

                        • drphil69
                          drphil69 commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Agreed. And where I live... is very close to Kelby, so any recommendation from him I take seriously!

                      • #13
                        Thank You guys. Bijan I really appreciate the detailed report.

                        When you have too many trees some will get neglected.These trees were not all necessarily unproductive. Let's take the Col de Dame Blanc as an example. I originally received three cuttings two years ago.One was struggling and was discarded, I put one in the ground and left one in a pot. The one in the ground produced about 30 most delicious figs last summer, while the one left in pot produced about half a dozen and stopped growing vertically. When I tried to root prune some of those trees I noticed that they were root bound and decided to move a few to in ground as I did not wish to get larger pots.
                        The first tree in the picture is a Texas Lemon fig that I purchased at a local nursery . It is very productive tree, tasty and super fast grower.
                        My goal is to eventually have most of if not all my trees in the ground, but under such conditions I have to do it slowly. I already lost a few fruit trees over there. This place is about an hour drive from my house so I could not be there all the time.
                        I have Mainly Black Soil and it's right on the San Gabriel River. Despite the banks being high, certain areas of this property might flood during the rainy season. It will become very muddy after heavy rains to the point that my vehicle could get stuck in certain spots.
                        It is mostly used for hay, so I intend to plant along the edges of this property without disturbing the hay operation for now.
                        I have an old well and was supposed to fix the pump today but due to perhaps the muddy conditions after the heavy rains yesterday the plumber postponed.
                        Sas North Austin, TX Zone 8B

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                        • #14
                          The only other thing is to bury the plants as deeply as you can. The more underground nodes there are the better it will survive cold, deought and rodents.
                          Bob C. KC, MO Zone 6a. Wanted: Martineca Rimada, Galicia Negra, Fioroni Ruvo, De La Reina - Pons, Tauro, BFF, Sefrawi, Sbayi, Mavra Sika , Fillaciano Bianco, Corynth, Souadi, Acciano Purple, LSU Tiger, LSU Red, Cajun Gold, BB-10 any great tasting fig

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                          • #15
                            Yesterday my neighbor bailed the hay, so I had a chance to check on my trees and expose them as the brush had them totally covered. I had to really look hard to find them.
                            I also managed to kill a couple of them by accident using my brush mower.
                            I have'nt been on the property since June and did not do any work in this area since last year. So after two summers of no human interference and no irrigation, Here's the current condition of my trees.
                            I'm not going to count the tiny trees that never had a chance. I'm referring to two year old trees that were planted during the spring of the previous year, and spent two summers in that filed.
                            Those trees were originally about five foot long on average.

                            First of all most of them totally dried up when it came to the original trunk and the ones that are still alive are suckering around the base of the original tree.
                            From a total of 19 trees, 11 are still alive. Alive at this point means that I saw a few green leaves on the suckers.

                            The ones that made it so far are Tashkent, Lemon Fig, Magnolia, Africana(Scicily), Improved Celeste, Unknown, Black Mission, Beers Black, San Vincenzo (Scicily) and another two Sicilian trees. 7 trees out of 11 do not need caprification for sure while the other 4 are questionable at this time.

                            The best looking tree was the Tashkent. Against all odd it is the tallest today. The most aggressive is the Scicilian Africana with multiple suckers. My next move is to to do some more cleaning and add mulch this week. I will probably replace the dead ones soon and add some fertilizer next spring. There was no sign of fruit on any of them.

                            I intend to build some cages too as the deer managed to rub few of them trees too.

                            In another remote area of this hay patch I had planted two fig trees, a BT and a Kadota. After three summers one of them (not sure which one at this time) is still hanging on also without any interference, but it is only three foot long.

                            Hopefully I loaded these pictures correctly in order as I had them written down.






                            You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 13 photos.
                            Last edited by Sas; 10-09-2016, 09:37 PM.
                            Sas North Austin, TX Zone 8B

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                            • #16
                              Very impressive property, I bet it keeps you busy,.

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                              • #17
                                It's about 18 acres and mostly used for hay right now.
                                Sas North Austin, TX Zone 8B

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                                • #18
                                  Can I pay you to bring that soil to my place?
                                  Cutting sales have ended for the season. Plant sales will start March 1 at 8 eastern time. If it is still too cold in your area I can hold your plants till a date of your choosing.

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                                  • #19
                                    Why you gotta lose all the Italians?😑
                                    You gonna have to rename them W.O.P.'s now ahahahaha !
                                    Zone 5 Chicago IL Wish list:
                                    1) Rest peacfully Amico Bello Buddy 👼🏼.
                                    2) This weeks ebay auctions.

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                                    • Sas
                                      Sas commented
                                      Editing a comment
                                      This is my fig training camp, my figs have to survive the summer with no water and no food. If one of them makes it, then mission accomplished

                                    • Taverna78
                                      Taverna78 commented
                                      Editing a comment
                                      Well I think you did well ! I have one tree at my brother vacation home in Michigan and like you the only time it gets watered is when it rains. No sure if it matters but he's on a beach of Lake Michigan and the soil is literally 50/50 soil and sand. I just seen it tis last weekend and is looking great !

                                      You did great job!

                                  • #20
                                    Did a little bit of brush cutting yesterday and today. Added some mulch. It was 80 degrees this afternoon.
                                    You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 3 photos.
                                    Sas North Austin, TX Zone 8B

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