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  • What is your progression?

    So, as some of you have noticed from the map I posted on the property layout thread, I have a bit of room for a sizable orchard..eventually. Right now my largest tree is a 4' UNK Bryant Dark and the next ones are only just established from last season (12"-16" in height)...plus about 30 cuttings going (so far...fingers crossed). Needless to say, since this farm is where I plan to spend the rest of my (hopefully long) life, I'm a long-term planner.

    That being said, what is your normal progression in both time and size for trees to go from cuttings to permanently established in ground? I plan to only put cultivars that are suitable for this zone (7a) in ground and will always have the pots and (eventually) greenhouse for the other varieties that need more attention.

    Is it an age of the tree? The size (caliper)? Educate me, please.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by DBJohnson; 03-01-2016, 09:22 PM.
    Bryant...Franklin County, VA...Zone 7a. Wish List: a 32 hour day....more sleep

  • #2
    1st year cuttings (1 gallon well rooted plants) can be planted in ground in zones 6 and warmer, they then only need good winter protection and deep mulch winter cover until the roots are established.

    The recommendations on the fig forums has been to use well rooted 5 gallon plants, but the "5 gallon plant" root development can be accomplished with good culture (irrigation and fertilization) in ground in the 1st season. Good luck.
    Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b


    • #3
      Thanks, Pete! I guess it's not a bad thing that I'm in the process of building 5 gallon SIPS for my more advanced plants.
      Bryant...Franklin County, VA...Zone 7a. Wish List: a 32 hour day....more sleep


      • #4
        You're welcome.

        My usual progression has been 1 gallon pots to 5 gallon buckets or Easy SIPs (1 bucket colander SIPs). The fig trees can be trialed in the 5 gallon buckets for a couple of years then air layered to produce 1 gallon pots for in ground planting in milder zones, or the 5 gallons can be planted in ground. I've trialed the 1 gallons in ground successfully in both zone 7, NYC and Zone 6, Catskills.
        Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b


        • Jamie0507
          Jamie0507 commented
          Editing a comment
          Woot woot! This is great to know Pete! Thanks for sharing.. Love the warm & fuzzy feeling I get knowing its been done! Lol

        • AscPete
          AscPete commented
          Editing a comment
          You're welcome...
          Well rooted 1st leaf and 2nd leaf one gallons can survive in ground in our colder zones with application of very thick mulch cover to insulate the roots, the limbs can also be protected with mulch or insulating covers during winter. The best cultural practices (fertilization, irrigation, etc) for in ground planting should also be practiced.

      • #5
        This is a great post Bryant.. I am really tinkering with the idea of planting a few in ground myself.. Lets just say I've got a few extra laying around lol, but I still wouldn't like to send them to a premature death.. Ya know what I mean? What varieties are you thinking of putting in ground first? I'm considering Malta Black, Sal's (Gene), Black Bethlehem, Lynhurst White, Chicago Hardy, or an English Brown Turkey type (If they root lol).. Maybe even Bari since it was found growing unprotected in Willow Grove, PA which is not terribly far from me. Thoughts on those varieties going in? Any other suggestions?
        My Plant Inventory: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...HZcBjcsxMwQ7iY

        Cuttings Available 2022:


        • SarinaP
          SarinaP commented
          Editing a comment
          The Monticello Marseilles can go in the ground--mine has frozen back every year before I found the forum and it comes back just fine. This is my first year covering it so we'll see how it goes! I'm planning on setting out my Marseilles, Brown Turkey, Hardy Chicago, Desert King, and Ronde de Bordeaux. They'll go along the southwest wall of our house, trained into espalier fan forms if I am successful!

      • #6
        Some people root cutting directly in the ground. I've planted old young potted trees. 1-20 gal pots on ground and even rooted cuttings right out the smag moss box into ground. It's good for me with newly rooted cuttings because is hard to over water in ground and less times I can "play with it" just pun in ground. Give it a drink and that's all
        Zone 5 Chicago IL Wish list:
        1) Rest peacfully Amico Bello Buddy 👼🏼.
        2) This weeks ebay auctions.


        • #7
          OT - I see truffle space. Are you planning on trying to grow the perigord truffle on filberts? Hazelnut or oak? If so I probably have info you might be interested in. I planted 1100 Hazelnut trees inoculated with the perigord truffle fungus back in the 90's.

          About figs; to me I think the varieties planted will make all the difference. ex. The 400 tree commercial grove ½ an hour from me in Chantilly is made up of 3 varieties - Mission, Champagne and some other floppy honey fig - if I remember correctly (not always the case). Anyway - because of the 2 brutal winters preceding this one they have not produced figs in years (2 summers at least so far.) That's heart-breaking but a very strong statement about the need to do one's homework. How are you deciding on what to plant?

          Also the juglone produced by that Black Walnut is going to be an issue to any plant susceptible within 30 feet or so (depending on sensitivity and size of BW.)

          Where is my guesthouse?


          • DBJohnson
            DBJohnson commented
            Editing a comment
            Actually we're considering putting a guesthouse with a big farm kitchen where the shed/apple tree/fire pit are currently.

        • #8
          Re: figs for in-ground orchards. I intend to only put trees in-ground that have a reputation for being able to handle weather for zones 6b/7a since I'm not far from the border between the two (the 12 miles from the Blue Ridge). Of the trees I have now, that's UNK Bryant Dark, Natalina, Ronde de Bordeaux, Bari, Carini. The maybes currently include several Unknowns (Italian Yellows, Somerset, etc), Fico Bianco, Alma, Green Ischia, Kathleen Black. Will definitely be adding Florea and Marseilles.

          Re: truffles. The plan at this time is to have 500-1000 trees, mixed about 80/20 or 85/15 filberts/oaks. Primarily Black Perigord with a few Italian White Alba. This is a longer term plan.
          Bryant...Franklin County, VA...Zone 7a. Wish List: a 32 hour day....more sleep


          • #9
            Fig trees can go in ground at any age in zone 7, or for that matter zone 6. All depends upon protection, micro/macro location, and cultivar.

            I see that you have a number of outbuildings. If they serve as wind shields and/or heat sinks in winter, and afford some direct sun come summer, then I would plant along the outbuildings, and along the house, even better, since heated. Along buildings can be great places for potted trees too, in both winter and summer.

            I think fig trees like to grow along structures generally in difficult climates, because the structures help stabilize ground temperatures, preserve or gather moisture, and block wind (and excess sun) from the big vulnerable leaves.

            I placed a couple rows of 7 gallon potted Celeste fig trees in a northwest corner of my house this winter (so, wall shelter on two sides, plus some modest single story eves) anticipating probable total topkill and possible total rootkill, and though we hit 6-8 degrees on a few occasions and something like -4 once, the trees appear to have experienced little more than burnt tips. This may not work every winter (or it may) but when it does it's an easy way to overwinter live rows of fig trees outdoors in or near their ripening positions, in ground or in pot. In these cases, the buildings can provide just enough incidental shelter and/or warmth to get them through. Simply shoving an otherwise unprotected potted fig tree into an evergreen tree or bush in winter can improve the odds.

            Also it has proven more or less effective for me to plant trees at the base of earthen banks/slopes, boulders, stone walls, as well as near cement or pavement heat sinks. The harshest winters here take these bushes down to the ground but in more moderate winters like this one a substantial amount of green-tinged limbs seem to be coming through. Will know more before too long.

            The very earliest ripening cultivars can leave the most margin for error, in one sense. Somewhat later ripening cultivars that have proven most resilient here include the Mt Etnas and Brooklyn White. I've also ripened from total topkill Celeste (but only once) and LSU Purple (but only a couple). While my highest in-ground hopes are with Ronde de Bordeaux, the most proven successful in-ground varieties are the Mt Etna type and Brooklyn White. (This year it looks like nearly all in-ground fig trees here have substantial limb survival above-ground, so I expect a few more varieties to do well.)
            Tony WV 6b


            • DBJohnson
              DBJohnson commented
              Editing a comment
              The shed closest to the house has already been taken down (actually, it fell down and was then dismantled) and the rest of the outbuildings are not in the best of conditions. The barn needs so much work to restore it that we're considering selling to a salvage company to help finance a replacement metal barn on the same footprint. The small shed and garage out by the barn are not usable at all and will eventually be taken down,

          • #10
            I go from rooting cups to one gallon size pots to five gallon size pots. The soil here is heavy clay and one back section is infected with Armillaria root rot, so the better established the tree, the better chance it has in the ground.
            Also I like to taste the figs the tree is producing before it earns its space in the ground. One buzz variety last year produced very large, very pretty fruit that was really disappointing for me in taste. If the quality doesn’t improve this year, it will find a home elsewhere. With all the mislabeling, I want to make sure the trees are the variety they are supposed to be and a fig I will enjoy eating. Life is too short (and ground space too limited) for boring fruit.

            Mara, Southern California,
            Climate Zone: 1990=9b 2012= 10a 2020=?