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  • When planting in ground figs

    This spring I will be planting these figs in ground. They will be pruned and wrapped every winter.

    Please advise me. Would it be beneficial to plant them 2 - 3 inches higher than the existing soil level? and then contour soil accordingly.
    Would this aid winter drainage and help increase summer heat?

    I will be planting

    Atreano
    VdB
    RdB
    LDA
    Nero 600m
    Olympia
    Macool
    Kathleen Black

    Ian

    Zone 6b Mystic CT. Plants will have south west exposure






    Last edited by The Figster; 01-18-2016, 11:23 AM.
    Ian

    Really happy with what I have.

  • #2
    Perhaps a location would help. With no idea what the weather, seasons and zone are at your location it is hard to help with ideal practices.
    Last edited by COGardener; 01-18-2016, 11:59 AM.
    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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    • The Figster
      The Figster commented
      Editing a comment
      I added it

    • COGardener
      COGardener commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you

  • #3
    I'd plant deeper, the idea is more trunk underground will promote better recovery in the event of severe dieback. I believe M. Pons even does it for stronger plants.
    https://www.figbid.com/Listing/Browse?Seller=Kelby
    SE PA
    Zone 6

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    • #4
      If you have really good drainage,I would plant the fig tree deeper.
      New Bern NC Zone 8a ,Wish list : Col de Dame Rimada ,Galica Negra

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      • #5
        I'm in 7A, and I make amended beds digging down and building up as well. We've got alot of clay so I lay out bags of topsoil where I want the beds to kill the grass, then I go back and dig down about a foot. The very top layer with the grass roots goes into the wheelbarrow, the lower part gets mixed with top soil, compost, etc. I'll be planting my fig bed on the southwest exterior wall of our house, about 5' x 15' or so.
        Zone 7a in Virginia

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        • #6
          Agree to kelby
          Zone 5 Chicago IL Wish list:
          1) Rest peacfully Amico Bello Buddy 👼🏼.
          2) This weeks ebay auctions.

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          • #7
            I'll throw in another voice. I'm planting 4 trees in ground this spring. I'm in thick, heavy red clay, and 3 of the 4 plants are going at the lowest point on my property (still drains okay...amazingly).

            My plan...
            1) dig out a 4-5 foot circle and 12-18" deep
            2) fill with 6-8" with compost, wood chips, and maybe even a bottom layer of gravel to help with draining
            3) put in plant at that level (6-8"), fill rest of hole with the clay I removed mixed with healthy amounts of compost to loosen it up
            4) take remaining dirt/clay/compost and build a healthy mound at least 6" around the base of the tree
            5) add 4-6" of mulch.

            Mounding helps keep the tree deep (especially after mulching), but also keeps it off the waterline. Since most fig trees don't like wet feet, or have splitting problems with too much water, this helps keep them out of the muck, so to speak. Of course, I don't have as much of a dieback problem here, so getting it as deep as possible is not my priority. Its been down to 20 so far this year, and virtually none of my figs have lost any top-growth yet (can tell by shriveled bark on newest growth). If your soil drains really well, it might be worth planting it extra deep, and mounding up to make it even deeper.
            Brett in Athens, GA zone 7b/8a

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            • #8
              I would plant deeper if your soil drains well, but still mound up a little after.
              Hi my name is Art. I buy fig cuttings-so I can grow more figs-so I can sell more figs-so I can buy more fig cuttings-so I can grow more figs....

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              • #9
                Originally posted by brettjm View Post
                I'll throw in another voice. I'm planting 4 trees in ground this spring. I'm in thick, heavy red clay, and 3 of the 4 plants are going at the lowest point on my property (still drains okay...amazingly).

                My plan...
                1) dig out a 4-5 foot circle and 12-18" deep
                2) fill with 6-8" with compost, wood chips, and maybe even a bottom layer of gravel to help with draining
                3) put in plant at that level (6-8"), fill rest of hole with the clay I removed mixed with healthy amounts of compost to loosen it up
                4) take remaining dirt/clay/compost and build a healthy mound at least 6" around the base of the tree
                5) add 4-6" of mulch.

                Mounding helps keep the tree deep (especially after mulching), but also keeps it off the waterline. Since most fig trees don't like wet feet, or have splitting problems with too much water, this helps keep them out of the muck, so to speak. Of course, I don't have as much of a dieback problem here, so getting it as deep as possible is not my priority. Its been down to 20 so far this year, and virtually none of my figs have lost any top-growth yet (can tell by shriveled bark on newest growth). If your soil drains really well, it might be worth planting it extra deep, and mounding up to make it even deeper.
                This is a bad idea. A 6" layer of compost and/or wood chips in the bottom of the hole will decompose into practically nothing and the soil level will fall.
                Mixing anything into the soil when you're planting is a bad idea. It tends to lead to roots sticking to the amended soil and not spreading out.
                Fig & Blackberry Farmer in Sunol, CA.

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                • brettjm
                  brettjm commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I see your point, but after some reading, it seems like it is a really common way to deal with super thick clay. You're actually spot on that the roots tend to stick to the amended soil....but that's kind of the intent. You're almost creating a raised bed for your tree doing this, because the clay is so hard to penetrate. The roots aren't going to want to pierce that clay very easily. I buried some pots this past summer, dug them up in fall, and some of them had roots that had come out the bottom of the pot and just circled the clay 2-3x without embedding in it. If I dig a hole and plant, I expect the same to happen with that hole. Might as well make it a big, nutrient rich hole that doesn't act like a bathtub when it rains!

                  I do see the concern about the soil settling though as the wood/compost compresses. I'll probably mix some of the clay back into it to keep it from compressing too much, but still keep it loose enough for the roots to penetrate.

                • smatthew
                  smatthew commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Have you ever had a soil test done? I used to think clay soil was the devil, based upon my parent's house. Then I had the soil tested and found out it was heavily sodic. Liberal applications of Gypsum have taken pottery-clay type soil and turned it into a loam you could sink your arm in.

                  2 years ago, I planted eggplant and they grew 6" the whole season. That winter, I worked in Gypsum. Something like 80lb over 10 square feet. This fall, I had 4' tall eggplants, and when I pulled them out, their roots were all over the place!

                • brettjm
                  brettjm commented
                  Editing a comment
                  It might be worth looking into. Dunno where I can get cheap gypsum, but if it works it works. The clay here is the thick red variety. Its supposed to be very nutrient dense, and supposedly retains nutrients well, but MAN is hard to work with. At my old place, we borrowed an industrial sized tiller (self driven, 6 feet wide), and it was like churning cinder blocks mixed with super glue. I even soaked it with sprinklers at night for 2 days beforehand to try to make it more pliable, but it took hours and hours to get a 40'x20' area even remotely workable. This new place isn't as bad....the folks who lived here years ago had a garden, and they spent years loosening the soil. Not where my plants are going though...

              • #10
                Plant on angle also so is easier to bend over when you cover for winter. Much easy rather to wrap vertically
                Zone 5 Chicago IL Wish list:
                1) Rest peacfully Amico Bello Buddy 👼🏼.
                2) This weeks ebay auctions.

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                • #11
                  So..... This is very interesting. It never occurred to me to plant deeper!

                  Ian
                  Ian

                  Really happy with what I have.

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                  • #12
                    The more wood underground the more wood you have to produce shoots after winter dieback, as Kelby said.

                    I would still dig out as big a hole as you can and amend the soil with organic matter. The way to prevent roots from remaining only in the amended zone is to crack the walls of the 'bath tub'. You dig out the hole as planned but have more organic matter than planned. Every foot or so you drive the shovel or digging fork in, open a wide crack and stuff as much organic material in as possible. You do this all along the sides and bottom. The roots will follow these cracks and continue to spread in that direction as long as the soil stays moist. Plus earthworms have multiple points of attack and will help create channels even further out.

                    I would not add gravel unless you had a screen over it AND it led along a path to lower elevation. Otherwise all the space there will fill in, eliminating any drainage improvement. Worse, you'll have roots traveling through tight spots between the rocks that will limit their ultimate ability to nourish the plant.

                    I'd also mix in some PRO-MIX HP BIOFUNGICIDE MYCORRHIZAE or similar product to get the benefit of the micro organisms.
                    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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                    • brettjm
                      brettjm commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I really like the "crack the bathtub" idea. It should help with draining as well, I would think. Water can get through compost easier than clay, I would think, so more surface area of clay via the "cracks" should help with draining. And I don't HATE the clay...it is supposed to be rich in nutrients, but the roots have to make their way in there first...I like this plan.

                  • #13
                    This has already been said, but I'm going to say it again but a wee bit differently. Plant them deep, use Bob's advice for sidewall treatment, and then make a 6-10" raised bed on top with a good deal of organic matter. No matter what, you trees will find a happy place for their roots.
                    Calvin, Wish list is to finish working on the new house, someday.
                    Bored? Grab a rake, paint roller, or a cordless drill and come over!

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                    • #14
                      Nice selection by the way.
                      Calvin, Wish list is to finish working on the new house, someday.
                      Bored? Grab a rake, paint roller, or a cordless drill and come over!

                      Comment


                      • The Figster
                        The Figster commented
                        Editing a comment
                        It will be fun to watch them grow this summer and see how they establish.

                    • #15
                      I've been planting fig tree root balls (1 gallon pots) 2 feet deep in zone 7 and 3 feet deep in zone 6 with good results after 2 seasons (ala Monserrat Pons). Well drained sandy loam in zone 6 (Catskills), slow draining clay in zone 7 (Bronx, NYC). Small diameter planting holes, dug soil ammended with Garden-tone fertilizer, topsoil (top 6 -12 inches) ammended with 50/50 potting mix and soil.

                      Very deep mulch in winter (1 to 2 feet), mulch is mostly removed in spring to expose soil to sun and warmer temperatures. Pruned and trained as single stem main trunks with low scaffold branching in an "open vase" shape. Main trunk and low scaffold branch joints are covered by mulch in winter, often referred to as Bush Form pruning...

                      Good Luck.



                      Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

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                      • #16
                        Pete

                        Does planting that deep reduce availability of oxygen to the existing roots ?
                        Ian

                        Really happy with what I have.

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                        • AscPete
                          AscPete commented
                          Editing a comment
                          What Bob C. said...

                          It helps to establish deep roots for better winterization, into warmer soil zone. Air exchange will take place in the topsoil where the new feeder roots will develop.

                      • #17
                        I'm not Pete but unless you're under the local water table it won't matter.
                        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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