• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Carla Burke
  • John F Dean
  • Nancy Reading
  • r ranson
  • Jay Angler
  • Pearl Sutton
stewards:
  • Leigh Tate
  • paul wheaton
  • Nicole Alderman
master gardeners:
  • Timothy Norton
  • Christopher Weeks
gardeners:
  • Saana Jalimauchi
  • Jeremy VanGelder
  • Ulla Bisgaard

figs need a happy home in clay soil, summer drought and insufficient sun

 
master steward
Posts: 11559
Location: Pacific Wet Coast
6457
duck books chicken cooking food preservation ungarbage
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I rescued a very sad fig tree in a pot from a friend's farm, however, before I could even get temporary protection up, a deer damaged its lower trunk, so it's now sadder, but *refuses* to die! It even tried to fruit last fall?

So I *really* need to get it in the ground, ideally with some friends.

I'm in a cedar/Doug Fir forest - think *really* tall trees for those of you not used to the Pacific North-west. There is waaayyyy too much Himalayan Blackberry which tries to take over anywhere it can and I don't have fencing to contain something like a goat to help prune it back and the deer aren't helpful in that way - they just steal the berries.

The friends I have readily available are:
Seabuckthorn - male, small but will grow, N2 fixer
Ziziphus jujuba - also small. Started from seeds in pots, but also sadly abused because the place I planned to plant them got usurped by a family member.
Raspberry and thorn-less blackberry starts
1 large mulberry and a small one. I haven't had much luck with mulberries - I think I need more sun!
Various herbs
various apple trees that also need a permanent home - also rescues, but 2 out of the 3 aren't looking too bad and I have faith that the third will recover.

So if anyone can think up a plan, I've got some fencing I can surround a patch with. I think I'll need deep mulch to try to keep the Him. Blackberries down long enough to get other stuff established - it is incredibly persistent and very difficult to get the roots out, so if anyone can think of ways to out-compete it, that would be very helpful!

I have a lot of trouble picturing appropriate spacing for trees, so suggestions there are also welcome.
 
Posts: 150
32
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I find your post about a rescued fig ironic since just yesterday I found a fig tree at my mom’s house, still in the original pot from the big box store where she bought it over two years ago.  I asked her why, and she couldn’t decide where she wanted it. I was conversing with my wife about rescuing it from her…

I think lack of light is going to be your biggest challenge, it didn’t sound like it but if you have any clearings that would be a good spot to put all your rescues. I am not a big fan of cutting trees unless necessary, but if you don’t have any clearings you may consider looking for any trees that are low value or showing signs of disease/damage and cutting a couple. If cutting trees to create an open space is not an option, I have also just centered new trees in the largest gaps between the existing trees, and figured the new trees will just have to fight for the light from there.
 
Jay Angler
master steward
Posts: 11559
Location: Pacific Wet Coast
6457
duck books chicken cooking food preservation ungarbage
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

John Young wrote:I find your post about a rescued fig ironic since just yesterday I found a fig tree at my mom’s house, still in the original pot from the big box store where she bought it over two years ago.  I asked her why, and she couldn’t decide where she wanted it. I was conversing with my wife about rescuing it from her…

I think lack of light is going to be your biggest challenge, it didn’t sound like it but if you have any clearings that would be a good spot to put all your rescues. I am not a big fan of cutting trees unless necessary, but if you don’t have any clearings you may consider looking for any trees that are low value or showing signs of disease/damage and cutting a couple. If cutting trees to create an open space is not an option, I have also just centered new trees in the largest gaps between the existing trees, and figured the new trees will just have to fight for the light from there.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who ends up with rescue trees!

Yes, more and more I'm coming to the conclusion that shortage of sunlight is a key problem. Unfortunately today we got rain and hail along with occasional sun, so I couldn't get a couple of pictures of the area I'm thinking has potential, along with an estimate of the size. There are some trees south of that area which can potentially get taken out eventually, and hopefully sooner.

I'm not convinced that area is large enough for all my rescues until more trees are removed to enlarge the space. That's why I'm hoping some permies with experience with some of the plants on my list could narrow down the ones that will most likely play nice with the figs, so I will focus on those for this spring.

My job will be to try and get Himalayan roots out as soon as the weather is even marginally good enough to do so. I may also need to think up some sort of temporary fencing that won't be too hard for me to put in and then take out again as the area expands. T-bars are hard to put into rocky clay and equally hard to get back out. I don't know that I'd have enough raw materials to do the "rock jack" type supports that they've used at Wheaton Labs, and I definitely don't want to hang junk pole fencing on the jacks except possibly on the north side since lack of sun is such an issue. Has anyone made some sort of wide modular fencing? Deer can jump "up" but not "up and 3 ft across" from what I've read. If I can make something like that to support some fencing and do it in sections, that might give the plants a fighting chance. Just typing this is giving me a few ideas, so I'll see how they percolate in my brain overnight.
 
gardener
Posts: 5069
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
962
forest garden trees urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Can you use the established trees themselves?
Even if they are kind of far from where you are growing,  wire rope from tree to tree and made taunt with a ratchet  strap could support fencing .
I used this along one wall of my house to grow grape vines on.

It is said that simple wires or even fishing line, strung at the right height, can keep deer from attempting a jump.

Are deer likely to push against obstacles?
I ask because I never secure my pallet beds, I just build them and sometime level them.
A cage built is similar way needn't be secured, unless something is able and willing to push it over,so maybe build a cage around individual trees.
A teepee arrangement should be very stable.
Can the blackberry canes themselves be used as junk poles or spiky horizontal "wattle"?


A "proper" junk pole fence uses tightly spaced poles, but if you are just keeping out deer, you can space the poles wider apart and let in light.
This might take more fasteners than usual for such a fence, but if you want it movable, you'll need those anyway.

Make  sections of this, as tall as manageable and lean them.
A 10 foot tall section of fence leans so its top is only  9.5 feet of the ground would create an obstacle 3 feet deep.
You could lean  them against the wire cable and ratchet strap mentioned above, or a tripod of poles could be used.
If tripods are used at a corner between two sections.  the space between legs can be filled in with extra poles or horizontal wattle








 
Posts: 1010
Location: In the woods, West Coast USA
206
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jay, it may be the clay soil.  And gophers and rabbits chewing.  I've lost 2 figs to those things.  One of the figs shot out a shoot to the side that seemed to grow, then it struggled, too.  I actually planted one in a zone I knew there was extra ground water, thinking it could tap into that, but that was a mistake.

I have planted two more in areas I know the ground water is not as heavy coming down a hillside.  You know, that place that dries out first, and downhill doesn't have big volunteer trees or shrubs that need a lot of water.  Trees up-slope from there may have died back.  

I made a raised bed by digging out a 3'x3', 2-foot deep hole, then took a post hole digger and went down the depth of the digger in 3 of the corners, filled those with  1/2" rock and granite sand and small amounts of native soil.  Then amended the clay to put back in around the roots with 1/4 granite sand all the way up into an 8" high raised bed, 1 wide fence board that is easily replaced.

Then only mulched it with 1/2" rock.

Planted garlic around it down at 6" to keep the gophers away.   Elephant garlic is nice because it has a lot of little bulbils that can really take a drought and the gophers leave alone.  But regular garlic works well, too.

A couple of things they recommend about planting natives in a Mediterranean climate I've used as well.  

- Never water at the base of the tree, only around the dripline.

- It will need a lot of water the first year, then back off

- mulch it with rocks out to the dripline, keep it a ways away from the trunk

- eventually mulch it only at the dripline and beyond with compost/rotted wood

- wrap the trunk in shade cloth or a net bag that bulbs came in to stop chewing.


So far so good.  I know amending soil is never recommended, but they weren't going to make it in the clay, so it's my last try.  Hopefully more roots will develop and find their way through the clay, then tolerate the not-as-wet clay in that location.

 
Jay Angler
master steward
Posts: 11559
Location: Pacific Wet Coast
6457
duck books chicken cooking food preservation ungarbage
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I took a couple of pictures of the spot I'm going to try to use. One is from a short driveway which borders the north of the patch. You can see trees to the south, but most of those trees can be removed, although that won't likely happen before I need to plant, as plants can break dormancy amazingly early these days.

The second picture is from the west. You can see the Municipal road in the background, but what isn't obvious is the drainage ditch in all the weeds there. So the area has sides that are about 27x27', but the "usable" space is sort of kidney shaped inside those measurements.

I'm thinking of putting the two figs against the driveway closest to the road and a jujuba at the curve and then two more jujubas, (assuming both survived the winter - they're sort of buried in the weeds at the moment and will look like nothing but dead sticks I suspect) along the west edge of the area. I could put a couple of the Seabuckthorn suckers I potted east of the jujubas and depending on how the spacing looks at that point, I have a variety of small things like raspberries and black current that can go in to fill the space short term, while the larger trees grow up. Until I get in there past the mounds to see how wet it is further towards the road, I won't know how far I can go, but I'd sure like to get things in that will at least *try* to out compete the Himalayan Blackberry and English Ivy. Most of what I've suggested won't do much out-competing, but at least they'll help motivate me to try and hack them down before they take over again!

Suggestions or critiques of this plan are welcome.
planning-view-from-the-north-.JPG
[Thumbnail for planning-view-from-the-north-.JPG]
planning-view-from-the-west.JPG
[Thumbnail for planning-view-from-the-west.JPG]
 
John Young
Posts: 150
32
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jay,

At least you don’t have a completely closed canopy, it looks like that area should get some light. I would watch how close you got to the power lines if the utility has a tendency to come cut/spray around you like they do around me. At least consider marking the trees clearly (small fence/sign) should that potentially be an issue.

It looks like there are some rises and falls, you may want to shift your spots if needed to avoid planting in the low areas if standing water is an issue. Perhaps even consider digging some small drainage “ditches” through the soggiest parts to connect to the existing ditch. I don’t know if the mounds would be of use to you in this endeavor, if they were lower and wider I think they would be a good spot to directly plant on to keep the roots out of the wet areas.
 
Jay Angler
master steward
Posts: 11559
Location: Pacific Wet Coast
6457
duck books chicken cooking food preservation ungarbage
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
John Young wrote:

I would watch how close you got to the power lines if the utility has a tendency to come cut/spray around you like they do around me.

Thank goodness that's not a risk in my area. The companies *might* get away with spraying under the really big power lines, but not along the road ways.

Yes, I'm wondering what to do about the mounds. A part of me would like to dig and put in punky wood and then use the mound dirt to cover, but I'm aware that if I do that right under trees, that will tend to allow the trees to tip over as the wood composts. Alternatively, I'll try to do the wood-filled mounds around the trees and just hope that the tree roots access as much water as they want from the mounds, but I can't leave the plants in such a dip that their roots are in standing water from November to February! Having some "potholes" that will slow some of the run-off will help the whole area, but it will be a juggling act. Both the figs and the jujuba would benefit from a bit of a "sun trap" if I want to get any ripe fruit - we have a long period of "frost-free" weather, but we get very little really hot weather, and even in the hot weather is cools off at night. On my land, that means I get lots of green tomatoes for example. My friend who's almost exactly 1 mile west of me, isn't in line with the on-shore ocean breeze and has much happier tomatoes.
 
John Young
Posts: 150
32
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jay,

One thought I have had would be to use buried wood for trees was to spread it around a bit, e.g. bury some pieces here and there but not continuously over an area. That way many of the roots would be in harder soil, but some of the roots would find the rotting wood. I want to try this but have not had an opportunity yet, so take it with a grain of salt. As an aside I disturbed a long rotting log that was on the surface of the ground but had been buried in leaves, turns out some of the nearby trees had actually sent feeder roots up into it.

One idea, what if you placed some rotting wood at the bases of the mounds, then dug some of the dirt from the top of the mound and spread it over the wood at the base until it was buried. That would make the mounds less tall, more wide, and with a bit of buried wood. But planting the tree in the center of the mound where no wood was would make it unlikely to sink. The tree wouldn't get the benefit of the wood for a few years until the roots made it out that far though.

As for the heat, you might consider trying to find some inexpensive dark stone to place around the trees to form a micro climate. For example, I have some black slate pieces that get so hot in sunlight you can’t pick them up without gloves. I would think some of those spread out under your trees/plants would help heat the air around them up, so long as the wind wasn’t blowing hard.
 
I'm doing laundry! Look how clean this tiny ad is:
Heat your home with the twigs that naturally fall of the trees in your yard
http://woodheat.net
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic