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Old February 13, 2007   #1
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Default Care of potted fig trees

I have three fig trees that I am attempting to keep in large containers....long term. I know it can be done, and so far I've had them a couple of years. They have done fairly well so far....only produce a couple dozen fruit each though (and the mockingbirds get those Two are Brown Turkeys, and one is Celeste.

My questions are: I'm needing to repot this spring into larger containers, with fresh soil. I know some container growers of fruit recommend periodic root pruning....has anyone had experience with this? Tom may have some suggestions, since I know he is a Bonsai enthusiast!

Also, does anyone have any tips for amending the soil for figs in pots? I want my trees to stay healthy and to continue to produce some fruit.

BTW, they are outside under a large oak right now...overwintering. They were fine last year...and I just left them outside. I do give them deep mulch and the protection of the oak tree while they're dormant.

Any suggestions at all about the growing of figs in pots would be appreciated! And I really would like to know more about root pruning and if it's necessary...

Thanks guys!

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Old February 13, 2007   #2
michael johnson
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The best way to treat fig trees of any kind is to let the roots become pot bound, with no root pruning, the more pot bound they become the more fruit they will produce, as it seems to force them into fruiting, the little figlets that appear in the branch nodes are in fact next years crop of figs which dont mature until half way through the next season.

Some people bury the pot or tub in the ground and leave it like that for years, brown turkey figs wont ripen properly unless they are in a warm climate, or greenhouse-the only problem is that in a greenhouse they grow like wildfire and soon take over the place.

Outside they are quite hardy and can stand a certain amount of frost in the ground and will still bud up and form a decent tree each spring, but figs will remain green and unripe, for figs to be at their best and sweetest they need to be nearly rotten when you eat them, black and splodgy,- lovely stuff
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Old February 14, 2007   #3
Tom C zone 4/5
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Ficus (Figs) are often trained for bonsai. Have you wanderd by the IBC (Internet Bonsai Club)? They have tutorials that you will probably want to read. Also there is about 15 years of rec.arts.bonsai archived within IBC that exhaustively talks about soil for potted trees.
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Old February 23, 2007   #4
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Ive just started with figs last year- there are a few enthusiasts in the Other Fruits thread of the website.

I know I read about fert for them last year, but ill have to look it up again- so for now im saying HI! and will be more helpful later!
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Old April 7, 2007   #5
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Location: Northern Virginia, USA - zone 7+
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Jennifer, it sounds like you're on the right track, but if you can put them in the ground, you might do even better. I have figs in the ground in Northern VA, and have gotten good crops (though the trees took their time getting to that point). At this point, if I were contemplating a move in a few years, I'd still plant a fig but start a cutting in time (a couple of years ahead) to have a good-sized plant to take to the new place.

You have the advantage over Michael in that he's likely limited in the amount of summer heat he gets, so you should be able to ripen Brown Turkey with no problems. I've got one Brunswick and one that I "think" is Brown Turkey, but so far I'm losing the BT fruits at the marble-sized stage due to stink bugs. (The Brunswick does get good and 'splodgy' - though the catbird contests every single one with me!)

FWIW, the ficus raised as bonsai is a different species (one usually wants to work with small-leaved plants for dwarfing), but you might well get some tips on soils and care from the bonsai enthusiasts.
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Old April 11, 2007   #6
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My coworker's father has several Brown Turkey bushes planted outside, which do fruit here in south east PA. I have a Golden, also planted outside, which also fruits. I bundle mine with bagged leaves and a tarpaper wrap for the winter, and he simply mounds his with leaves. Which method works best? Dunno, but the wrap and bags keep the leaves from blowing all over the place!
"Any man may count the seeds in an apple, yet who can know the apples in a seed?" --Chinese Proverb (paraphrased)
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