Yesterday when I posted a picture of the big fig tree on Facebook, I had several questions so here’s a post that I hope answers some of those questions.
This big one is a Black Mission fig. I think the Black Missions are the easiest to grow, grow the fastest and produce the most fruit. You can read a bit more about them here. We also have some Brown Turkey figs. From our experience, the Brown Turkey figs grow a bit slower and produce a bit less but are quite a it sweeter. The Brown Turkey trees are supposed to be 10 to 20 feet tall and 10 – 20 feet wide. The Black Mission trees are said to get 20 – 30 feet tall and 20 – 30 feet wide. Both are good eating fresh off the tree or dehydrated.
The above photo was taken yesterday. The photo below was taken almost exactly a year ago.
Even though the photos are taken from a different angle/distance and in different lighting, I think you can see that it grew quite a bit in one year.
Below is a photo of the same tree in 2015.
This is a Brown Turkey fig that we planted in 2015. This photo was taken last year.
This is a photo of the same fig tree that was taken this morning.
You can see that a happy fig tree grows really, really quickly.
I’ve only grown figs in Louisiana and here in Texas. They do grow in the north but it takes some special care. They do need protection from really cold weather. The last two winters here have not been cold enough to damage our fig trees but on the winters when our temps drop down to 10° or below, our trees do not grow back on the old growth but shoot up from the roots. We then prune back the old, dead wood. I have read that fig trees will survive down to 5° and another site states that figs can be grown where temps don’t drop below 20°. Our temps do drop below 20° but we have never lost a fig tree due to temperature. We have lost a couple because they didn’t get enough water.
Things I know about growing figs in my area:
- They need more water than most fruit trees. I have read that figs in dry areas need water at least once a week. I water our trees at least every four days if we don’t get at least an inch of rain.
- Figs grow to be HUGE trees! Do not plant them where you have limited space. They do not do well with pruning. The Brown Turkey in the photo above has grown into the rosemary bush but the rosemary has grown out of control.
- Fig trees do not require a lot of attention. They’re pretty bug resistant. I end up with some big, leggy stink book looking things that attack the figs, even now when the figs are tiny, hard and green. I spray with a mix of Neem Oil/Castille soap. I pour about 2 cups of Neem oil and about 1/2 cup of Castille soap into my hose end sprayer and set it at 1 oz. Of course, that has to be re-applied after a rain, or once every couple of weeks for us folks who never get rain!
- Fig trees don’t need much fertilizer under normal soil conditions. I haven’t ever fertilized our fig trees and with our bad pH soil, the trees still grow and produce at an amazing rate.
Depending on your location, you may want to check your chill hours and see if one tree might work better than others. If you don’t know how many chill hours you get, there’s a handy calculator here. For the record and for comparison, I like to use the “Under 45° method” and we get about 160 – 180 chill hours per year. You’ve heard me mention that cherries probably never will produce here . . the cherries that produce with low chill requirement need 250 to 400 chill hours. It’s just not going to happen here. Apricot trees need at least 300 chill hours. Every now and then, that might happen.
Fig trees are very easy to grow in this area. We love them so much and are happy to be able to grow them here.