Fig Tree
Ficus carica


 

The fig is a picturesque deciduous tree, to 50 ft tall, but more typically to a height of 10 - 30 ft. Fig leaves are bright green, single, alternate and large (to 1 ft length). They are more or less deeply lobed with 1 - 5 sinuses, rough hairy on the upper surface and soft hairy on the underside. In summer their foliage lends a beautiful tropical feeling.

Figs require full sun all day(8 hrs. or more)to ripen palatable fruits. Trees become enormous, and will shade out anything growing beneath. Repeated pruning to control size causes loss of crop. Roots are greedy, traveling far beyond the tree canopy. Figs are not a fruit tree for small places.

Fig plants are usually propagated by cuttings. Select foot-long pieces of dormant wood, less than 1 inch diameter, with two-year-old wood at base. One-year twigs with a heel of two-year branch at the base may also be used. Dip the cuttings in a rooting hormone and allow them to callus one week in a moist place at 50-60° F. Summer cuttings may also be made, but they do best if defoliated and winterized in a refrigeration for 2-3 weeks before potting.

When you plant a fig, do not fertilize. Watch your tree for signs of stress or drooping. Figs have a shallow root system, which can cause them to easily dry out. But do notoverwater if you have poor drainage.

FERTILIZING

Apply one pound of 8-8-8 fertilizer for each year of the tree’s growth until a maximum of 12 years. In sandy soil apply one-half of the fertilizer when the buds swell and 1/2 in late May. In heavy soils apply fertilizer when buds swell. Put the fertilizer on the mulch around the tree. Over-fertilizing with nitrogen can cause fewer or poorer fruit or make the tree more susceptible to frost if used later than May.

VARIETIES

Celeste is fairly hardy with small violet or light brown fruit with amber pulp. The fruit is well suited to canning and preserves. It bears in mid-July. Brown Turkey is also sold as Texas Everbearing and Harrison. This is not the same tree as California Brown Turkey. This southern tree bears medium to large fruit and bears a light crop two weeks earlier than Celeste and a heavy crop two to three weeks after Celeste. It adapts well to container growing. It is good for fresh use and canning. Brunswick or Magnolia bear large, hollow fruit that are light brown with darker ribs. This fruit splits and sours during hot weather. It is only good for canning, but it is not a vigorous grower.
Fig tree roots are a favorite food of gophers,deer are not attracted to this tree but birds love to eat the fruit.
Blights, Stem Cankers, and Leaf Spots: These can be prevented by pruning and removing dead, injured, and broken limbs. The dead leaves and branches should be raked up and disposed of. Dried and diseased fruit should also be removed to prevent fungus or anthracnose . If your tree does not bear fruit your tree may be a variety which requires pollination from a special wasp not native to North Carolina.
Figs have a long juvenile period and it may be three to four years before a bush sets a crop.