PLACEMENT AND RESISTANCE TO COLD
The new year’s growth may freeze in temperatures under 12 °C. Under 16°-17°C the mix of new and old growth may be destroyed but the root system is generally not affected and the tree will put out news shoots the following year. Fig trees love sunny exposures.
Fig trees are not too particular and can grow in just about any type of soil but they grow best in loose, fertile, slightly sandy soil. They prefer basic soils but manage to adapt very well in acid soils.
Because of its well-developed root system, the fig tree can stand very dry conditions. Its annual requirements of water measures about 600 to 700 mm especially in spring and the beginning of summer. However, it likes more humid situations. Sprinklers should not be used too often but if used at all, should be used forcefully. Be careful with fig trees planted on lawns that they not receive too much water.
Depending on the variety (small or big development), the humidity in the soil, and the desired results, trees can be planted from 4 to 10 meters apart. In an orchard the distance between the trees on the rows varies between 4 and 6 meters (250 to 400 trees per hectare).
WORKING THE SOIL
Since the root system spreads, the working of the soil, if done at all, should be only on the surface. Otherwise two possibilities may occur : either cutting the herbs or total chemical elimination (glyphosate the first year and antigerminatives starting the second year).
The fig tree mostly requires potassium but does not need much nitrogen fertilizer, which tends to cause over-development of the vegetation and under-development of the fruit. In well-balanced soil one should use a fertilizer such as 4-8-12 (100g/150/an/m2) or 10-20-25 (50/70g/an/m²) which means (N-Nitrogen/P-Phosphorus/K-potassium such as 1-2-3 or 1-2-2.5). In poor soil, compost with pure potassium added in the form of potassium sulfate (20/25g/an/m2) or patentkali (30/35g/an/m2) is preferred. Fertilized must be added at the end of winter and be placed under the branches of the tree rather than around the foot of the tree.
PRUNING AND SHAPE OF TREE
The fig tree grows naturally like a bush. This keeps the branches of the tree low, allowing easy gathering of fruit and the renewing of the old master branches, thanks to the sprouts. However this may interfere with working the soil. With appropriate pruning one can give the tree a goblet shape with a single trunk. To do this one must regularly eliminate the sprouts from the base.
Because the wood is tender and hollow and because it’s difficult to repair cuts, pruning must be done in the spring when the sap is rising. Any cuts must be covered with wood tar (Norwegian, Bayleton, ...). While the one-crop fig tree varieties can be severely pruned on all the branches, one must be very careful with the two-crop fig trees for which one would want to limit the height of the tree and thin out the branches. Every removed branch bears brebas !
DISEASES AND ENEMIES
Unlike most fruit trees, the fig tree is very robust and doesn’t require much treatment, if any. Its main enemies are moths (in case of heavy attack treat with Decis or Bactospeine) ; canker (cannot be cured, but preventative treatment is to cover cuts on the tree with wood-tar or use copper sulfate) ; and flies, but only on the south-east coast or in mild winters (treatment : Decis, Leybacid, 30 to 40 days before maturity).
BIOLOGY OF THE FIG TREE
They are several types of fig trees :
- Caprifig type (or male tree) shelter the Blastophaga during the winter, which is the insect specifically responsible for its sexual pollination.
Its fruit, parasitized by the Blastophaga are not edible.
- Domestic Fig Trees (or female trees) which, depending on the variety, produce one or two crops of figs.
BIFERES produce two crops per years :
The brebas ripen in July on the past years growth according to the variety and according to the years producing 10-50% of the crop (average 20-25%). The brebas are parthenocarpic (they ripen without pollination).
The Autumn Figs comprise the biggest production, and ripen from August (the 1st for the earliest ; the 30th for the slower ones) until the first freeze of the year’s growth. Depending on the varieties, the fruit are either parthenocarpic or sexual (require the intervention of blastophaga). But caprification like that practiced in North Africa is not necessary, even if there are no Caprifig Trees in the orchard.
UNIFERES (onecrop fig trees) do not have repeat flowering and only produce Autumn figs (parthenocapric or sexual depending on the variety). Some early varieties produce fruit in August, a period generally poor for figs.
Fig trees can be reproduced either by layers or cuttings. The sprouts from the tree base can be used to reproduce the same variety.
Grafting is not done as it is difficult to achieve.
Sewing seeds is not done because one seed could just as easily give rise to a domestic fig tree as to a Caprifig Tree !
THE GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION
If winters are very cold and freezes can occur late in the spring, either an early unifere or a bifere that has en early autumn production is necessary. The geographic location and the nature of the soil can affect the rapidity can affect the rapidity of growth of the tree and the quality and amount of its fruit.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE TREE
Depending on the variety, an adult fig tree can take up to 5 to 7 m² for a small tree and more than 75 m² for the biggest tree.
WHEN THE FRUIT RIPEN
HOW THEY WILL BE USED
Planters prefer the varieties that give big fruit, can be easily transported and are black or dark (Dauphine, Pastilière, Noire de Caromb, Violette de Solliès), or eventually gold (Longue d’août, Madeleine des deux saisons, Goutte d’Or).
Individuals choose based on the best taste of the fruit.
Dessert and jam specialists prefer the very sweet, small fruit, usually with green skin.
TASTE PREFERENCES OF FRUIT
One must choose between the big, juicy, pulpy fruit to be eaten fresh or used in jams (often more fragile in wet saisons), and the small fruit that are generally more resistant and can be eaten fresh, dried or in jams.
OTHER PRODUCTIONS OF THE NURSERY
POMEGRANATE (Punica Granatum) Deciduous shaped bush
Varieties with edible fruit : Provence can resist the cold (-16°C)
Mollar de Elche, Gabes and Seedless (limited to –14°C)
Varieties with decorative purple or black fruit (limited to –16°C)
Varieties with double flowers and no fruit (limited to –16°C)
Maxima Rubra (red orange)
Legrelliae (mixed orange, cream and salmon)
Luteum (pale yellow)
Dwarf Varieties : Nana with double red-orange flowers (limited to –15°C)
Nana Gracillissima with single red-orange flowers, very flower-bearing but more sensitive to cold (limited 12°C)
BAUD NURSERY- Fig Tree Specialist
84110 VAISON LA ROMAINE
TEL. 00 33 4 90 36 08 46 - FAX. 00 33 4 90 28 71 25
Email : email@example.com
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