Basic stats about growing fig trees – part 2

Wasps (in particular tig wasp Blastophaga psenes), may enter the synconium to pollinate the flowers and lay their eggs. Smryna ligs in particular require wasp vistation Not all tig flowers need pollination tor the fruit1 structure to grow. Unpollinated fruits are parthenocarpic’ fruits
Flower buds
Usually two sets of flower buds – breba flower buds overwinter and become apparent In early spring. Main crop flowers are produced in the leaf axils of current season shoot growth.
Growth ot fruit
Double sigmoid growth curve. Fruit is ethylene responsive in final maturation stage. Fruit has a respiratory climacteric as npening and fruit softening approaches.
Time of bud burst
Growth resumes in spring (northern hemisphere – February-March)
Time of flowering
Main crop May-July (northern hemisphere) Breba crop (sec text) in March-Apri (northern hemisphere)
Time ot fruit maturity
Main crop figs ripen from August to October (Northern Hemisphere). Ethephon may hasten ripening. First crop or breba figs ripening occurs earlier (see text)
Soil needs
Should be free draining Rooting can be extensive – and promotive of vegetative vigour. Plants can be grown in large containers where some root restriction will occur. Prefers soils that have a pH between 6-7. Will tolerate some alkalinity
Nutrient requirements
Trees are reputed to not need fertilization every year Fruit growth may benefit from potassium containing fertilisers. Fertilizers high in nitrogen, will promote green leafy growth which may reduce flower bud development Nitrogen dressings to maintain shoot growlh can be given in split applications • avoid fertilizing late in the growing season and delaying hardening for winter An annual total dressing ot between 25-60 units of nitrogen (N). 20-50 units of phosphate (PjOJ and 50-100 units of polash (K20) per hectare – depending on climate, soil, irrigation, plant vigour and yields – may be satisfactory
Minimal soil disturbance so as not to disturb roots and potentially stimulate suckering. Soil movement on sloping sites should be minimised. Bare soils may assist yields in and regions. Bare soil also assists mechanical sweeping of fallen fruit. Cover crops could assist in reducing vegetative vigour
Time to first harvest
Some fruit should be produced in the second growing season
Time to full production
Trees may reach full commercial yields In about 5 years
Expected yield
Yields of between 6 and 15t/ha are achievable
Normal productive life
Orchards should remain productive for 15-20 years, although Irees may be long-lived
Method ot harvest
Table fruit should be cut or twisted and snapped from the tree
Fresh fruit have a short storage life. Refrigerate between 0-4:C. Shelf life may be no greater than 8 days. Dried fruit (using solar or hot air technology) can be kept for several months, especially in dry refrigerated conditions
Main pathogens
Root diseases include Rosellinia necatrix and Armillaria mellea. Botrytis cinerea and Alternaria can affect both foliage and fruit. Fig trees pests in Portugal include two fly species – Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata) and Lonchaea aristella. Scale insects can be problematic e g. fig wax scale. Ceroplastes rusci. Root-knot and plant-parasitic nematodes have been shown to affect figs. Fig leaf miner (Eutromula nemorana) is an important pest in southern Portugal


From the book “Temperate and Subtropical Fruit Production” edited by David Jackson, Norman Earl Looney, Michael Morley-Bunker

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