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best fig location and form for fruiting

Hi,
I've had a Brown Turkey fig tree for a year which, after its lacklustre performance to date (no small fruits to carried across to this spring :-( ) I'm looking to focus some attention on it to try and get some nice fruits from it in 2019. With this in mind, 2 options seem open to me:
1. To move the tree directly in front of a sheltered west facing wall and grow it as a bush. To save pulling up slabs, I'd be looking to leave the fig in a 50cm pot (which I potted-up to a couple of weeks ago before deciding that I should probably do more). The spot will get sun from around 1230 onwards. Sadly, the wall space wouldn't be enough to fan train it.
2. Move the fig to a south facing wooden trellis and fan train the fig across it. It's in a largely sheltered spot. IN this instance, I'd be looking at digging the recommended 60cm-cubed  slab lined pit to house the plant.

I'm eager to maximise my yield, so would really appreciate input from wiser, more experienced growers as to which way to go to achieve this - and any other relevant advice you can share.

Many thanks in advance!

Posts

  • Oh, and i neglected to mention I'm in East Kent. 

    And a photo in case it is useful... :-) 
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,631
    I think you are being a bit impatient. A year in and I would not expect figs. Your tree needs to get to a certain height and maturity to bear fruit. West of south facing is fine. Shelter even more of a bonus. These trees grow extremely well in the South East. My father had a very small plant of just 1 ft high, and within three years, it's grew to 7 ft and fruiting by the third year. His garden is south facing in free draining soil. These are the ideal conditions for them, but I have seen them enjoying any warm micro-climate with even some degree of shade. 

    The pot is definitely not big enough. Watering in the late spring and summer is going to be part of your maintenance. Did you water your plants last year? Planted in a pot, they will always be more slower growing. If you must keep it in a pot, re-pot for sure, make sure there is adequate drainage and place some rocks or similar at the base. Use a loam-based compost like John Innes No 2 mixed with multi purpose compost and some grit. You will need to water it often in the growing season. Prune off the whippy stray growth.
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  • I think you are being a bit impatient. A year in and I would not expect figs. Your tree needs to get to a certain height and maturity to bear fruit. West of south facing is fine. Shelter even more of a bonus. These trees grow extremely well in the South East. My father had a very small plant of just 1 ft high, and within three years, it's grew to 7 ft and fruiting by the third year. His garden is south facing in free draining soil. These are the ideal conditions for them, but I have seen them enjoying any warm micro-climate with even some degree of shade. 

    The pot is definitely not big enough. Watering in the late spring and summer is going to be part of your maintenance. Did you water your plants last year? Planted in a pot, they will always be more slower growing. If you must keep it in a pot, re-pot for sure, make sure there is adequate drainage and place some rocks or similar at the base. Use a loam-based compost like John Innes No 2 mixed with multi purpose compost and some grit. You will need to water it often in the growing season. Prune off the whippy stray growth.

    Hi Borderline,
    Many thanks for your comments! My pot is 50cm in diameter but tapers quite significantly, so I'm sure you are right regarding it's inadequate size. I think I'll look to put it in the ground (but to contain it with some paving slabs to encourage fruiting) - does this sound reasonable?

    And yes, I did try and keep it watered last year, but the previous pot was even smaller and thus the soil was drying out extremely quickly :-(

    Based on the pictures, if I put it in the ground, do you think I could start the process of pruning a fig fan (ie. removing all but 2 strong stems, pruning these back to encourage sub-laterals and then tieing them in to 40 degree-angled canes)?

    Kind regards.



  • A south facing wall would be best as you will get extra heat gain to the Fig. An old washing machine drum is good for constraining the roots but alowing water to drain and be absorbed is a good trick to use. Brown Turkey is the variety I have, I get fruits but they always die up here over winter. I have seen them in London though, so you should get them. There is a huge Fig tree at Aldgate Station as you come out toward the church which has lots of fruit on it.
    Hi Freddies Dad,
    Many thanks for your comments!
    The machine drum sounds a great idea! However, I don't think my partner would swap the use of her washer for the promise of future figs :-) As per my comments to Borderline, I'm leaning towards lining a hole with paving slabs.

    Sorry to hear about your fruit not surviving winter! Hopefully the extra warmth in the south east will be enough to allow mine to survive - although we are some distance from the storage heater that is London, so time will have to tell :-)

    Kind regards.
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