Ficus carica



The fig is a large spreading deciduous tree with very broad leaves.  It also has a number of rather unusual features.  The flowers are enclosed within a fleshy receptacle which eventually becomes the fruit.  The tree likes warm climates and should be protected from frost when young.  The mature tree, on the other hand, is astonishingly hardy and may even tolerate as much as 10degrees of frost.  The trees also bear two crops of fruit per year.


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Figs prefer deep, heavy, alkaline soils.  Sandy soils will render the trees susceptible to nematodes and pH values lower than 6.0 should be avoided.  The trees are shallow rooted and so have a low tolerance of drought, in almost all situations mulching is recommended.  The trees also have a high nitrogen requirement, however, too much will cause fruit splitting.
The fig is a large spreading tree, but in the orchard is planted fairly closely, at 6   8 metres.  This restriction in the spread of the tree, and particularly of its roots, is said to improve the yield.  
Thinning of fruit is often required to produce a marketable quality.


Propagation of figs is by hardwood cuttings from two to three year old wood.  Once prepared, these cuttings may need to be left on a bench to allow the latex to dry in the air (about 20 minutes.) before placing them in the cutting medium.


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Plant Health

This is another crop favoured by birds and netting may be needed.  Other pests include fruit fly and dried fruit beetle.  Also, several fungal diseases may attack the tree or fruit and use of fungicides may be required.

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Can tend to produce suckers, particularly if you dig around the base and damage roots.

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