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  • Pots or In-ground

    is there any benefit to pots over in ground inside a hoop house or haygrove type multibay tunnel? any articles that might help me make up my mind? im searching the archives, but not finding what im looking for........ maybe im not using the right terminology?
    thanks in advance

  • #2
    im in zone 8a on the coastal plain of sc if any of that matters

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    • #3
      Ground Always better Amico.... Is just more work to protect in winter but growth rate much better than pot always....
      I in very dramatic zone... My trees in ground will
      Out grown the potted trees even
      If In ground trees die back to soil level.
      I.e. Sabitsá

      sit as baby in 5 gallon bucket and then grown to 4 year old... Now get out of bucket right away and try to walk or grown... No ganna go far BUT grown as "regular" child with no bucket you ganna run at 2 year old...

      Let the baby stretch is legs.....

      Capise?
      Zone 5 Chicago IL Wish list:
      1) Rest peacfully Amico Bello Buddy 👼🏼.
      2) This weeks ebay auctions.

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      • #4
        Here's an article about a farm in RI that grows figs in a greenhouse. Hope this helps.

        http://www.newenglandvfc.org/2013_co...own%20Figs.pdf

        Is the hoop house/tunnel going to be primarily for figs? If so then I would go in-ground.

        In the summers you may need to remove the sides/ends to provide adequate ventilation.
        Kevin (Eastern MA - Zone 5b/6a)

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        • #5
          thanks for the responses. i would rather plant in ground..... it saves me a lot of hassle and $$. in my climate, the figs just lose their leaves and go dormant..... they never get burnt back to the ground. ive had about 50 planted in ground on the north side of my house for a couple years. i did this to keep them small while i prepared the new farm site for their arrival. well, now im digging them up to pot up and move, but the hoop houses arent built yet. ill keep everything in pots this year until i get the houses built later this year. the houses the figs will be in will be fig only, but i havent decided if im going to build separate houses or a multibay style setup just yet. i still have to map out the financials and logistics of both setups. the main reason i asked is because i got the advice that fig trees produce more figs when they are root constrained a bit. some peeps in this neck of the woods put rubble in the planting hole to facilitate this. is this completely bunk or what?

          *edit.... for me the hoop house is for season extension and protection of the fruit more so that keeping the plants from dying to the ground

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          • #6
            im leaning this way.... https://youtu.be/P95rrL5Oabs

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            • #7
              I think I like them to grow in pots, but that's just me because I have limited space, and I want to grow different varieties. From what I heard and see, fig trees can get wide and huge quickly, and their root system is also invasive.

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              • #8
                If you want to constrain the roots you could also plant them in pots and then put the pots in the ground.

                Then you could test out how large you want the pot to be.

                Also, every X years you could pop it out of the pot, root prune it and put it back in the pot.

                As I like to do with most things, you could try a few different ways (in-ground, in pot in ground, in ground surronded by stone) and see which one works best for you.

                Good Luck!

                Share some pictures when you have them.
                Kevin (Eastern MA - Zone 5b/6a)

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                • #9
                  Maybe I could constrain them with that stuff you use to keep bamboo from spreading? Like a huge bottomless pot

                  http://www.deeproot.com/products/geo...Fc5ZhgodSpUG_g

                  I'll definitely post up pics as I go..... I love showing off my hard work!

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                  • fitzski
                    fitzski commented
                    Editing a comment
                    sounds like another way to do it.

                    What's the soil like in your area of SC?

                  • FarmerD
                    FarmerD commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I have a nice black sandy clay loam down about a foot transitioning to sandy clay for about 2 feet then hard clay. I also have high water table..... Especially in winter. I plan to grow in a raised bed. Maybe 4-8 inches high. I will also be working with Kinsey/Albrecht soil models to work toward optimum soil chemistry/conditioning. Currently I'm a bit acid, probably not enough calcium yet, also needs P additions. We grow wild high bush blueberries and blackberry out the wazoo. In fact my major blackberry nectar flow for our bees is about to hit as we speak
                    Last edited by FarmerD; 02-26-2016, 12:37 PM.

                  • fitzski
                    fitzski commented
                    Editing a comment
                    looking forward to seeing/hearing what you eventually end up doing.

                • #10
                  A few advantages of pot growing. I have, btw, 400+ trees in pots.
                  In spring they get a jump on growth - usually about 2 weeks early.
                  I'm in zone 7A and can grow varieties that otherwise would suffer damage from weather.
                  Can grow more varieties in the space available.
                  I can control water intake. Helps for those figs that tend to split.
                  Takes far less time to move trees to garage then it would to protect them.
                  No root rot nematodes.
                  I can control soil conditions completely.
                  Figs do very well in pots. They are productive and I'm not convinced that given the same amount of space that in ground trees are any more productive.
                  Within a given space I can have more varieties then if in ground. Yes I get less figs per tree but I get more choices.
                  I can easily add and subtract trees that do not perform.
                  I sell ripe figs and I can easily change the numbers in my orchard.

                  I'm not sure how much this helps as I'm not currently growing in a high tunnel (did grow one year in a 76 foot hoop house) but I thought I'd volunteer a few reasons why I like growing in pots.

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                  • FarmerD
                    FarmerD commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Hmmmm.... Some experiments may be in order.

                  • FarmerD
                    FarmerD commented
                    Editing a comment
                    How big of a pot do you settle on for a mature fig, and roughly what size harvest do you get out of that pot size?

                • #11
                  I'll add this too if it has any bearing... I have Celeste, bt, kadota going to fall back on as root stock for less vigorous varieties. I'm comfortable grafting..... I always could use more practice, but I definitely have a good handle on the core concepts and some previous experience

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                  • #12
                    Another one more thing, once I have a handle on my market and what does the best here, I'll settle on just a few distinct varieties...... But I'll have many many individuals of those varieties

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                    • #13
                      In your circumstances I can't see any benefit to growing in pots. You can prune any fig tree to any size you want. You'll always get more fruit and better branch growth with an in ground tree. The reason I grow in pots is because I have to move the trees to a protected location every winter. There is no truth to the idea that constraining the roots produces more fruit.

                      Now with black clay I'd want to get as much organic matter into the ground as deeply as possible as soon as possible. Buy lots of earthworms if you don't have any. Add dolomitic limestone to the area around your figs.
                      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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                      • FarmerD
                        FarmerD commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I think you're right. I think in ground is right for me

                    • #14
                      I stop at 15 gallon pots. My interest is selling figs not trees and certainly not cuttings. I got 10 pounds of figs from my Lemon variety last year. This variety is crazy productive with very large figs. I did not keep track of the production of the others but Sal's Corleone and Texas Blue Giant were about the same. I'd say the others were maybe half that - maybe more.
                      Eventually I'll move and put stuff in ground but until then I like growing in pots.

                      I agree with Bob in that if I didn't have to and if the fig trees did not need to be wrapped I'd plant them in ground.

                      Bob,
                      Have you ever tried a product called "clay cracker"? It's not expensive at all at Home Depot.


                      I can think of one reason to have stuff in pots - if you rent - OR if your electricity goes out you may have to move trees out of high tunnel. I lost figs when 50 of my trees were in a 76 foot hoop house and the temp shot up to 140. Just a couple hours of this and all the trees dropped everything and did not recover that year.

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                      • FarmerD
                        FarmerD commented
                        Editing a comment
                        All my electricity is 100% solar with battery backup. I'm not concerned about losing power. Moving several hundred 10gal or bigger pots would be too hard...

                    • #15
                      To maximize productivity I'd grow them as step over espaliers in ground. In your climate you might not even need a hoop house, just prune back at the end of the season and cover the scaffold branches with hay or low tunnels... Grafting the top of one scaffold branch to the trunk of the next branch can turn the whole orchard into one huge tree with multiple root nodes, minimizing root nematode risk.

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                      • FarmerD
                        FarmerD commented
                        Editing a comment
                        This is quite interesting concept! I'm going to explore this much further. I guess the only concern I have is that as hoop volume goes down, I lose more control of the temp. The reduced infrastructure cost of smaller hoops is attractive

                      • mgginva
                        mgginva commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I have been researching this method and I will eventually use a system like it or somewhat close.
                        I see using copper pipes as frames that I can easily run hot water through and use to water when needed. With lower end drains it wouldn't have freezing issues. I am torn between step over and having short trunks with a system looking much like grapes. There is substantial initial cost and if I use added heat can I start production earlier. Are figs triggered out of dormancy by the weather or photoperiodism is something I need to understand.

                    • #16
                      Heat not light triggers waking from dormancy. Light affects growth rate. Many figgers report their trees wake-up early due to unseasonably hot weather. Here mine never go dormant.

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                      • #17
                        Also at the end of the season with step over you get a ton of cuttings which you can sell give away trade or use as firewood. Figs never need to grow so high you need a cherry picker to harvest them.

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                        • mgginva
                          mgginva commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Thanks for the info.
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