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figs on tree not getting bigger...???

 
Judith Browning
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Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Our oldest fig tree has been bearing for about five years and this year looks better than ever except that the fruit is not growing. The figs are about one inch to an inch and a half and seem stalled at that size for weeks now. We did notice today a huge over ripe one in the top of the tree that we hadn't seen so it looks hopeful. Other years they ripen a few at a time and I don't remember so many all the same size for so long. This summer here has been cooler than normal and very rainy...I wonder if that has something to do with it. It is a Texas Pink Dawn variety. Any ideas?
 
David Miller
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Location: Harrisonburg, VA
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I've got the same problem this year. Super reliable awesome tree has tons of tiny non ripening fruit on it. I believe that the cool temps we've had for the last month have created this dormancy in the ripening fruit (feels like autumn here, seriously f'd up weather). I'm hoping that the heatwave we're currently getting will help. Good luck with yours
 
Brian Faris
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Our figs in Italy are experiencing the same problem. We have had a dry summer and I also did a heavy prune in early spring.I think our trees are over cropping and I probably should have thinned some of the fruit so the trees could put there energy into fewer figs. I should really ask some of the old timers around here, they seem to have a good handle on things.
 
David Miller
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Wow, talk about timing. My figs burst into ripeness this morning. I ate over 20, just amazing. Our temps have been holding hot for the last few days and that's apparently what they needed! Bumper crop but in a short burst, they're all ready! Off of one 10ft bush Turkish fig I have a bushel to pick
 
David Goodman
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My trees have done that. They always ripen eventually - and usually all of a sudden!
 
Judith Browning
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Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Finally...we ate ONE...another is bigger and with the now HOT weather I expect they will all ripen. Can't wait for that! It is odd that it is happening so many places I think but this summer has been unusual anyway.
 
David Goodman
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Great! There's nothing like a fresh fig. Good luck.
 
Judith Browning
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Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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now I don't know why I was so impatient...we are eating and drying handfuls every day.
 
Jennifer Smith
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Location: Zone 5
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What do you all do to overwinter your figs? What varieties grow well?
 
David Goodman
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Jennifer,

In my area, fig trees grow to be 20-30' tall, in your area they'll probably freeze to the ground in winter. When I was in TN, zone 6/7, people (including me) grew them as shrubs. Since figs grow quickly and bear on new growth, it was worth it. Every summer they'd get some figs, then it would get killed down again in winter.

If I had it to do again, though, I'd plant a few right next to the south wall of my house so they'd get big. Maybe they wouldn't be great for the foundation, but the trees really love growing next to structures... and on a south wall the thermal mass and absorbed sunlight would make your zone 5 more like a zone 7 or so.

You could also put a 2 - 3' diameter ring of wire around the trunk of a fig and stuff it with straw during the winter... that would probably allow for greater growth and more figs each season.

Allegedly, "Chicago Cold-hardy" is the variety you want where you are, though when I grew it I didn't find it much more cold-hardy than any other type.
 
Jennifer Smith
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Thank you David for the answer and the info. I really like figs and miss fresh ones. I guess I am actually in zone 6 ish but this year has been crazy cold
 
Jennifer Smith
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What are good companion plants for figs? I am doing an internet search now.
 
Kelby Taylor
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Location: SE Pennsylvania, USA
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Jennifer Smith wrote:Thank you David for the answer and the info. I really like figs and miss fresh ones. I guess I am actually in zone 6 ish but this year has been crazy cold


I've been doing a ton of reading on figs the past few months as a new plant to try out in my garden. I'm zone 6b (SE Pennsylvania). From my research it looks like Zone 6 should be able to support, with minimal effort, 'Brown Turkey', 'Chicago Hardy', and possibly a new variety from WA called 'Olympian'. With good siting and some winter protection 'Celeste' (AKA a ton of other varieties), 'Lattarula', and maybe 'Violette de Bordeaux' should be choices too. There are probably quite a few rare varieties that would survive too, there is a pretty large Figgy community out there that is always trying things out with more varieties than I care to imagine.

I'm planning on putting in a couple varieties this spring with large rocks around them for winter insulation. I tried one 'Brown Turkey' this past year and it looks like it survived the 0 degree temps of late. I should check in on it tomorrow...

Jennifer Smith wrote:What are good companion plants for figs? I am doing an internet search now.


Another forum I visit was recently discussing this. There didn't seem to be any consensus, but some people noted using marigolds to supress nematodes as well as geraniums, thyme, and mint for general pest repellent properties. Figs are generally pretty pest free, however.
 
Jennifer Smith
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Is other forum figs4fun?
 
Kelby Taylor
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Jennifer Smith wrote:Is other forum figs4fun?


That's the one.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Figs produce bumper crops in Nanaimo at 49 degrees north. It's all about summer heat. They need a southern slope and lots of sun to thrive. Those who grow them under big firs and maples get a lot of nice leaves and scrawny, half ripe fruit. Heat, light and water. My friend Franco has the largest trees in Canada.
 
Jennifer Smith
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One of my fig trees made it thru winter outside. Died down to the root so small now but alive. I will find a sunny yet protected from the wind southern slope
 
Dale Hodgins
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A good mulch that won't pack down into a soggy mat,can give the roots some freeze protection. Drying winter winds should be blocked but not by anything that would block summer sun. Some people wrap trunks of palms to prevent winter damage. There is a risk of creating a house for rodents who then eat the bark.
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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