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The

TheIncredibleEdibleFig
Incredible Edible Fig

Fi
Ficus
carica
i

History

ThefigisbelievedtobeindigenoustoWesternAsiaandtohavebeendistributed
bymanthroughouttheMediterraneanarea.Ithasbeencultivatedforthousandsof
years,remnantsoffigshavingbeenfoundinexcavationsofNeolithicsitestracedto
t f fi h i b
f
di
ti
f N lithi it t
dt
atleast5,000B.C.

FigswereintroducedintoEnglandsometimebetween1525and1548.Itisnot
Figs
were introduced into England some time between 1525 and 1548. It is not
clearwhenthecommonfigenteredChinabutby1550itwasreliablyreportedto
beinChinesegardens.EuropeantypesweretakentoChina,Japan,India,South
AfricaandAustralia.

ThefirstfigsintheNewWorldwereplantedinMexicoin1560.Thefigreached
Virginiain1669.

FigswereintroducedintoCaliforniawhentheSanDiegoMissionwasestablishedin
1769.Later,manyspecialvarietieswerereceivedfromEuropeandtheeastern
UnitedStates.

TheFigFicuscarica
Thefigisapicturesquedeciduoustree,
typicallytoaheightof10 30 ft.and
spreadingwiderthantheyaretall.Fig
trees often grow as a multiple branched
treesoftengrowasamultiplebranched
shrub.
Fig
Figwoodisweakanddecaysrapidly.
wood is weak and decays rapidly
Thetwigsarepithyratherthanwoody.
The
Thesucculenttrunkandbranchesare
succulent trunk and branches are
unusuallysensitivetoheatandsun
damage,andshouldbewhitewashedif
particularlyexposed.
Rootsareinvasiveandgreedy,traveling
farbeyondthetreecanopy.
Thesapcontainscopiousmilkylatex
thatisirritatingtohumanskin.

TheFigFicuscarica
Figtreesthriveonawiderangeofsoilsfromlightsandtoheavyclay.
Regular
Regularfertilizingisnecessaryonlyonsandsandonpottedtrees.Excess
fertilizing is necessary only on sands and on potted trees. Excess
nitrogenencouragesrankgrowth.
Fullydormanttreesarehardyto12
y
y
15 F,butplantsinactivegrowthcan
,
p
g
bedamagedat30 F.
Chillingrequirementsforthefigarelessthan300 hours.
ThefiggrowsbestandproducesthebestqualityfruitinMediterraneanand
dryerwarmtemperateclimates.Rainsduringfruitdevelopmentand
ripeningcancausethefruitstosplit.
i
i
h f i
li
Incoastalclimates,growinthewarmestlocation,againstasunnywallorin
aheattrap.
h tt

TheFigFicus carica
The
Theskinofthefig
skin of the fig fruit
fruit isthinandtender,thefleshywalliswhitish,
is thin and tender the fleshy wall is whitish
paleyellow,oramber,ormoreorlesspink,rose,redorpurple;juicy
andsweetwhenripe,gummywithlatexwhenunripe.

Seedsmaybelarge,medium,smallorminuteandrangein
numberfrom30to1,600perfruit.Theedibleseedsaregenerally
b f
30 t 1 600
f it Th dibl
d
ll
hollow,unlesspollinated.Pollinatedseedsprovidethe
characteristicnuttytasteofdriedfigs.

TheFigSynconium
Thesyconium iswhatmostpeopleassociatewiththetastyfruitofafig,but
technicallyitisnotatruefruit.Itisacomplexinflorescence(flowercluster)
consisting of a hollow fleshy flaskshaped
consistingofahollow,fleshy,flask
shapedmodifiedstemlinedonthe
modified stem lined on the
insidewithnumeroustinyunisexualflowers.
Ficus carica has2sexualforms,the
has 2 sexual forms, the "male"
male caprifig
caprifig andthe
and the female
female tree
tree
whichproducestheediblefig.
Thecaprifig
p g ismonoecious [[i.e.withseparatemale(staminate)flowersand
p
(
)
separatefemaleshortstyle(pistillate)flowers.Itisfunctionallymale
becauseitproducespollen.
Ediblefigscontainonlylongstylefemaleflowers.
Sincefunctionalmaletreesarehermaphroditic,Ficus carica isusually
consideredgynodioecious
id d
di i
ratherthandioecious.
th th di i

BrebaCropVersusMainCropSynconia

Brebas arethefirstfigsoftheseason,

settingonwoodfromthepreviousyear.
ThesetypicallymatureinJunein
California
California.

Themaincropisproducedonthecurrent
season'swood,maturingfruitfrom
AugustthroughNovemberorevenlater
in a warm year
inawarmyear.

Brebas tendtobelargerthanmaincrop
figs,arerelativelyscarceonthemarket,
and tend to get a high price as fresh
andtendtogetahighpriceasfresh
fruit.

Maturityinmaincropfigfruitsonasingle
treeissequential,beginningwith
development of basal fruits and
developmentofbasalfruitsand
progressingtowardthemostdistalfruits.

HorticulturalCategoriesorFigTypes
CultivarsofFicus
l
f
carica areclassifiedintofourcategoriesortypesbased
l f d
f

b d
onsexandtheneedtobepollinatedorcaprifiedinordertosetacrop.
Theseare:
1.

Caprifigtype:Hasmaleandfemaleflowersenclosedinthesynconiom
andisgenerallyconsideredthemalefig.Allcaprifigs areplacedinthis
classwithoutregardtowhetherthesynconia
g
y
persistornot.
p

2.

Smyrnatype:Hasonlyfemaleflowersandneedscrosspollinationby
Caprifigs inordertodevelopnormally.Thiscropsetsvirtuallynobreba
crop.

3.

SanPedrotype:Hasonlyfemaleflowers.Itsbreba cropneedsno
pollinationtoproducefruitlikethecommonfig.Itssecondcropis
lli ti t
d
f it lik th
fi It
d
i
commonlydependentonpollination.

4
4.

Commontype:Theflowersareallfemaleandneednopollinationto
Common
type: The flowers are all female and need no pollination to
producefruit(parthenocarpic fruitset).Somecultivarsinthisclasssetno
breba crop,somesetamoderatecropandsomesetagoodbreba crop.

Caprifigtype:
Caprifigs arenativetoAsiaMinorandaregrowninCalifornia
forpollination(caprification)ofSmyrnatypefigs.Caprifigs
were imported to California from Algiers in 1899.
wereimportedtoCaliforniafromAlgiersin1899.
Caprifigs
p g arenaturalizedinmoistriverbedsandcreeksof
southernCalifornia.Theyoccasionallyappearasseedling
volunteersinurbanizedareas,probablydispersedbybirds.
Themostcommoncultivarsofcaprifigs growninCalifornia
are: Brawley,
are:
Brawley ,Croisic,
Croisic ,Roeding
Roeding #3
#3,,and
andStanford.
Stanford .
Severalcultivatedvarietiesofcaprifigs aresweetand
palatable,includingtheCordelia,Brawley,Enderudand
Saleeb.

TheSynconiumoftheCaprifig:
The
TheCaprifig
Caprifig normallyproducesasmallnon
normally produces a small nonedible
ediblefruit;however,the
fruit; however the
flowersinsidetheCaprifig fruitproducepollen.Thispollenis
essentialforfertilizingfruitoftheSmyrnaandSanPedrotypesoffig.

Synconium oftheCaprifig
of the Caprifig (MaleTree)
(Male Tree)

Caprifigtype:
Functionalmalecaprifigs ofFicus carica
producethreecropsofsyconia peryear:the
summerprofichi,fallmammoni and
overwintering mamme thatmaturethe
overwinteringmamme
that mature the
followingspring.Onlytheprofichi crop
producespollen.

Male
Flowers

Theprofichi syconia containclustersof


pollenbearingmaleflowersintheostiolar
regionandwaspsthatdevelopfromeggs
l id i id th
laidinsidetheovariesoftheshortstyle
i
f th h t t l
femaleflowers.Waspeggsarenotlaidin
longstyleflowers.
Figpollenistransferredfrommaleflowers
(stamens)ontheprofichi cropofcaprifigs to
femaleflowers(pistils)ontheSmyrnatype
f
figsandthesecondcropoffigsonSan
ff
Pedrotypefigsbyaninsectcalledafigwasp
(Blastophaga).

Female
Flowers

Profichi
Synconia

TheStoryoftheFigWasp
(Blastophaga)
Entomologistshavelearnedthatfigwaspsoverwinteraslarvaeinthepistils
(asgalls)ofthefruitfromthewinter(mammae)cropofcaprifigs.
InApril,thelarvachangesintoanadult.Amaleemergesfromthepistiland
promptlyimpregnatesafemale,whilesheisstillinherpistil.Soonafterthe
wingless male dies. The winged, gravid females emerge and leave the
winglessmaledies.Thewinged,gravidfemalesemergeandleavethe
mammae figthroughtheostiole.

Female

Male

TheStoryoftheFigWasp
(Blastophaga)
Eventuallyafemalefliestoanew,young,floweringcaprifig ofthe
spring crop (profichi crop)andentersthroughtheostiole.
springcrop(profichi
crop) and enters through the ostiole
Thefemaleoviposits eggsintheshortstylepistils,oneperovary,
andthencarriespollentothelongstylepistilsforseedset.This
d th
i
ll t th l
t l i til f
d t Thi
enablesthefruittomature,andheryoungthereforetoreceive
nourishment.Thefemaledieswithinthedevelopingfruit.
Afterashortperiod,thenewgenerationoffigwaspsemerges;
malesimpregnatefemalesanddiewhilegravidfemalesescapeto
colonizenewfloweringfigs.
l i
fl
i fi
p
caprifig
p g hasmanymaleflowersneartheostiole,and
y
,
Theprofichi
thewasptherebycarriesmuchpollenwithhertothenext
syconium.

Caprifigtype:
Theprofichicropresembleediblefigs,exceptthey
arefilledwithwaspsandpollenbearingstamens.

Branchof
caprifiginearly
summerwith
mature profichi
matureprofichi
syconia.

Caprifig Profichi Syconia :


During
DuringwaspexodusseasoninJuneprofichi
wasp exodus season in June profichi syconia are
are
filledwithblack,wingedfemalewaspsandamber,
wingless males and literally "smoke"
winglessmales,andliterally
smoke withpollen.
with pollen

Caprifigtype:
The
TheimportationofCaprifigs
importation of Caprifigs toCaliforniain1899beganthewesternSmyrna
to California in 1899 began the western Smyrna
figindustry.Threetofivecaprifigs aregrownatfigorchardsforevery100
Smyrnatypefigplants,toprovidethenecessarypollenandfigwasps.
CommercialgrowersoftenhangbasketsofBlastophagainfestedCaprifigs
inthetreesofSmyrnatypefigssothatthewaspscaneffectivelyfertilize
thefruit.Thisprocessisoftenreferredtoascaprification.

Smyrna type:
Smyrnatype:
TheSmyrnatypefigwasbroughttoCaliforniain188182butit
wasnotuntil1900thatthewaspwasintroducedtoserveasthe
pollinatingagentandmakecommercialfigculturepossible.
lli ti
t d
k
i l fi
lt
ibl
TheSmyrnatypefigvarietiesproducelargeediblefruitwithtrue
seeds.TheBlastophaga waspandCaprifigs arerequiredfornormal
fruitdevelopment.Ifthisfertilizationprocessdoesnotoccur,fruit
willnotdevelopproperlyandwillfallfromthetree.
OnlyonecultivarSariLop(Calimyrna)iscultivatedextensivelyin
California.OthercultivarsincludeMaraboutandZidi.
CalimyrnaisthecommercialvarietyusedtomakeFigNewtons.

Smyrnatype:
Smyrnatypefigsareconsideredtobethe
mostdesirablefig.Theyarejudgedbetter
in flavor than the parthenocarpic fruits
inflavorthantheparthenocarpic
fruits
becausetheskinismoretenderandthe
oilinthefertilizedseedsgivethefigextra
flavor.
flavor
Itistruethattheskeletonofafemale
waspplussomedeadlarvaeofthenext
l
d dl
f th
t
generationfigwaspsoccurinSmyrnatype
figs;however,theconsumerhardly
notices these inclusions The "crunch"
noticestheseinclusions.The
crunch of
of
theSmyrnatypefigistheoilyseeds.
SSmyrnatypefigsarecommonlysoldas
fi
l
ld
driedfigs.

SanPedrotype:
Thesefigscanbeartwocropsoffruitinoneseasononecrop
onlastseason'sgrowthandasecondcroponcurrentgrowth.
Thefirstcrop,calledtheBreba crop,isparthenocarpic and
doesnotrequirepollination.Thebreba cropproducesearly
in the spring San Pedro type cultivars are characterized by
inthespring.SanPedrotypecultivarsarecharacterizedby
producingagood,persistentbreba crop.
FruitofthesecondcropistheSmyrnatypeandrequires
pollinationfromtheCaprifig.However,thesecondcropofthe
Smyrna type may fail to set because of lack of pollination
Smyrnatypemayfailtosetbecauseoflackofpollination
fromBlastophaga andCaprifig.Thissecondcropfruitdrop
oftendiscourageshomeowners.
ThemostimportantSanPedrotypecultivarsinCalifornia
include:King,Lampeira,andSanPedro.

SanPedrotype:
SSomeSanPedrotypefigssuchas
S P d t
fi
h
Kingtendtoretainmostoftheir
secondcropwithoutcaprification.
p
p
Withoutcaprification,figsare
lightinweight,hollowinthe
center,withpulpthatisseedless,
gelatenous, and somewhat insipid
gelatenous,andsomewhatinsipid
intaste.
Whencaprified,thefruitincrease
insizeandweight,theflesh
becomes fleshy juicy rich in flavor
becomesfleshy,juicy,richinflavor
andstrawberryredincolor.

Commontype

Thesefigsdevelopparthenocarpically withoutpollinationandarebyfarthemost
prevalentfiggrown.Thefruitdoesnothavetrueseeds.Thefruitisprimarily
producedoncurrentseasonwood(maincrop),howeversomevarietiesmay
produceabreba crop.

Atmaturitytheinteriorofthecommontypefigcontainsonlytheremainsofthe
flowerstructures,includingthesmallgrittystructurescommonlycalledseeds.
Thesesocalledseedsusuallyarenothingmorethanunfertilizedovariesthatfailed
to develop They impart the resinlike
todevelop.Theyimparttheresin
likeflavorassociatedwithfigs.
flavor associated with figs

Over160cultivarsofcommonfigsareintheUniversityofCaliforniaatDaviss
germplasm collection.

SomeofmyFavoriteVarieties
CELESTIAL
SYN:CELESTE
DESCRIPTION
Purplish brown skin pink
Purplishbrownskin,pink
flesh.Widelyadapted.Two
cropsperyear early
summer and late summer to
summerandlatesummerto
earlyfall.Verysweet.

CONADRIA
SYN:ADRIATICHYBRID
DESCRIPTION
A
Amediumtolargeyellow
di
l
ll
greenfigwithlight
strawberrypulpandrich
flavor.Bestfigfordrying.

SomeofmyFavoriteVarieties
EXCEL
SYN:KADOTAHYBRID
DESCRIPTION
A
Amediumsizedyellowfig
di
i d ll
fi
withamberpulp.Well
adaptedinCalifornia.
Superbflavor.

FLANDERS
SYN:VERDONEHYBRID
DESCRIPTION
Agreenishyellow,medium
figwithvioletstripesand
amber pulp. Fine flavor.
amberpulp.Fineflavor.
GoodontheWestCoast.

SomeofmyFavoriteVarieties
ITALIANEVERBEARING
DESCRIPTION
Large, reddish brown skin.
Large,reddishbrownskin.
Fleshpinktodarkred,
sweet.SimilartoBrown
Turkey Bears two crops
Turkey.Bearstwocrops
throughsummerintofall.
Prolificbearer.

OSBORN
SYN:NEVERALLA
DESCRIPTION
Large fruit. Produces both
Largefruit.Producesboth
firstandsecondcropfigs.
Purplishbronzeskin.
Amber flesh sweet flavor
Amberflesh,sweetflavor.
Coastalareasonly,avoid
extremeheat.Bearswellin
Southern California
SouthernCalifornia.

SomeofmyFavoriteVarieties
PANACHEE
SYN:PANACHE,TIGER
DESCRIPTION
A hi
Achimerawhichproduces
hi h
d
greenfruitwithyellow
stripesandstrawberrypulp.
Canproduceexcellent,fresh
fruitbutneedssufficient
heat to ripen
heattoripen.

PASQUALE
SYN:NATALINO,VERNINO
DESCRIPTION
A
Asmallpurplefigwith
ll
l fi i h
strawberrypulp
distinguishedbyitslate
ripeningofteninDecember
orJanuary.Fruitissweet
and rich
andrich.

SomeofmyFavoriteVarieties
PETER'SHONEY
SYN:ITALIANHONEY
DESCRIPTION
A
Amedium,verysweet,lemon
di
l
yellowfig.Goodtreefor
growinginapot.Goodbreba
crop.Oftenproducesadrop
ofnectarattheostiolethat
closes the eye
closesthe
eye

TENA
SYN TINA TEEM
SYN:TINA,TEEM

DESCRIPTION
A medium to large greenish
Amediumtolargegreenish
yellowfigwithlight
strawberrypulp.Widely
adapted,butlikeshot,dry
weather.Verysweet.

TheFigOstiole(Eye)
Theostiole
h
l istheopeningattheapexofthe
h
h
f h
figthroughwhichfemalefigwaspenterthe
figtopollinatetheflowersandtolaytheir
eggs.
eggs.
Freshfigsfortheconsumermarketusually
centersonparthenocarpic
p
p cultivars.These
varietiesdonotneedpollinationtoproduce
fruit.
Theostiole offreshfigscanbeopenor
closed,dependingonvariety.Thosefruit
withclosedostiole havelessproblemswith
insect pests or diseases affecting the fruit.
insectpestsordiseasesaffectingthefruit.
Somefigsproduceadropofnectaratthe
ostiole thateffectivelyblockstheopeningto
y
p
g
theeye.

FruitRipening
Manysignsindicatethatafigisripening.Gettingtoknowyour
d
h
f
k
varietyiscritical,becauseeachvarietyhasdifferentcharacteristics
and,moreimportant,progressesthroughtheripeningprocessata
different rate
differentrate.
Generally,mostoftheflavorandsugarsaredevelopedinthelast
dayortwoofripening,sojustpickingadayearlycanhavea
significantlynegativeimpactontheenjoymentofthefruit.
Acoolperiodduringripeningwilldelayripening,andinsome
varieties,interrupttheirmaturationprocess,sothattheywill
"ripen",buttheywillnotdevelopthefullsugarsandflavorsthat
p
y
p
g
theywouldhavehadiftheyripenedinwarmweather.
Somevarietieswillnotripenwithoutsufficientheatandalthough
varieties will not ripen without sufficient heat and although
Some
fruitwillform,thefruitremainshardorrubberyandmaynever
maturetobecomeanediblefruit.

FruitRipening
Figsexhibitasignificantsizeincreasewhentheybegintoripen.
hb
f
h
h b
Thisusuallyhappensconcurrentlywithamarkedcolorchange.
The color change is most noticeable in dark colored figs.
Thecolorchangeismostnoticeableindarkcoloredfigs.

Ripefigsnolongerexudeamilkysapwhenpicked.

FruitRipening
p
g
Asafigripensandincreasesinsizeandweight,itwill
usuallysoften,whichwillcauseittodrooporsag.
y
,
p
g

FruitRipening
Theskinofsome
figswillsplitasthey
i
increaseinsize.
i i

Somevarietieswhenripewillexudeadropofhoneylike
nectarfromtheeye.

NutritionValue
Figsareoneofthehighestplant
sourcesofcalciumandfiber.
AccordingtoUSDAdataforthe
Missionvariety,driedfigsare
richestinfiber,copper,manganese,
magnesium,potassium,calcium,
andvitaminK,relativetohuman
needs.Theyhavesmalleramounts
d Th h
ll
t
ofmanyothernutrients.
Figshavealaxativeeffectand
containmanyantioxidants.
Theyaregoodsourceofflavonoids
andpolyphenols.

Propagation
There
Therearemanywaystopropagatefigs.Theymaybesproutedfromseed,
are many ways to propagate figs They may be sprouted from seed
airlayered,grownfromsuckers,gafted orgrownfromrootedcuttings.

Seedsdonotproducetreesthataretruetotype.Thetreesareoften
Seeds
do not produce trees that are true to type The trees are often
sterileorfunctionallymalecaprifigs.

Airlayering
Air layeringrequiresaccesstoatreefor3
requires access to a tree for 36
6months.Air
months. Airlayering
layeringafigis
a fig is
easyandverysuccessful.Thismethodofpropagationcanproducesalarge
plantinaveryshortperiodoftime.
Suckersarenotalwayshandywhenyouwantthem.
Grafting:Cultivarsmaybepropagatedonrootstocks,oroldertrees,
topworked bywhip,cleftorcrowngrafting,orchiporpatchbudding.
Cuttings:Figplantsareusualpropagatedbycuttings.Thefollowingslides
areadaptedfromapresentationbyJonVerdick,ownerofEncanto
d
df
i b J V di k
fE
F
Farms.

PropagationbyCuttings
I would like to g
gratefully
y acknowledge
g Jon Verdick of Encanto Farms and We
Be Figs for the following slides and instructions on propagating figs by
hardwood cuttings. Thank You, Jon!

Cuttingscanberootedinwater,inpottingsoil,
Cuttings
can be rooted in water, in potting soil,
directlyintheground,inavarietyofrooting
media(suchassand,vermiculiteorperlite)or
inabag.

Twothingsgreatlyimproverootingsuccess:
prerootinginabag,andtransplantingtoa
clearplasticcupcontainingspecificmedia.

Rootingisgreatlyspeededupwhen
temperaturesare70Forhigher.Providinga
warm environment can be as simple as placing
warmenvironmentcanbeassimpleasplacing
yourcuttingsinabagontopofthe
refrigerator,orashelfabovethestove.

Theuseofarootinghormoneisnot
Th
f
ti h
i
t
necessary.Powderedhormoneseemsto
actuallyencouragerottingofthecutting.Use
aliquidhormone,ifyouuseany,atall.

PropagationbyCuttings

Rootingsuccessisalmostentirelydependentoncontrollingmoisture,bothinthe
pottingmediaandintheatmospherearoundyourcuttings.Soilmoistureand
humidityarecrucial.

Thecuttingswillrotiftheirsoilistoowet.Ifitistoodry,thenewrootswilldesiccateand
die.Usingarootingmediathatmaintainsproperlevelsofairandmoisturegreatlyincreases
rootingsuccess.

Whenchoosingarootingmediumyouneedtohaveamixwhichallowsformoisturetobe
retained,butonewhichdoesnotallowthewatertocompletelysaturatethemediumso
thatthereisnoair(oxygen)inthemedium.

Textureorcoarsenessisanimportantfactorinbalancingthesetworequirements.The
smallerparticlesizestendtoallowthemediumtobecomesaturated,excludingallairand
holdingtoomuchmoisture.Largerparticleswillholdlessmoistureandallowair.Mostsand
s too e to p e e t satu at o . ott g so s o d too uc
o stu e.
istoofinetopreventsaturation.Pottingsoilsholdtoomuchmoisture.

Coarsevermiculiteproducesverygoodresults.Thecoarsetextureallowsforgoodair
penetrationinthemedia,whilethevermiculiteholdsthemoisture.

Amixof60%Perlite and40%finervermiculitealsoworkswell.

PropagationbyCuttings
If
Ifthehumidityistoohigh,moldis
the humidity is too high mold is
alikelyoutcome,andifitistoo
low,thecuttingsareatriskof
desiccation before rooting occurs
desiccationbeforerootingoccurs.
Humidity
Humiditycanbecontrolledina
can be controlled in a
greenhouse,orusingsomething
simplelikeaplasticstoragebox
with the lid substantially closed.
withthelidsubstantiallyclosed.
HereIusedaplasticbagovera
bl k
blacknurserypot.
t

PropagationbyCuttings
PrerootingCuttings
Wrapdormantcuttingsinlightly
d
dampenedpapertowelsor
d
l
newspaper.
Thenplacetheminasealedplasticbag
andputtheminawarmplace.
p
p

Inafewweeks,youwillseerootinitials
begintoform,andthenroots.Be
patient;eachvarietyisdifferentand
eachcutting,evenwhenfromthesame
tree can differ in its response

PropagationbyCuttings
O
Oncethecuttingshaveformedrootstheyareremovedfromthebag
h
i
h
f
d
h
df
h b
fortransfertoaclearcup.

This
This"bag"
bag techniquecanbe
technique can be
usedonallsizesofcuttings.
Ihavedonesomeaslarge
as2"indiameter.
" d

PropagationbyCuttings
TTransferthecuttingsfrom
f th
tti
f
bagsto26oz.clearplastic
cups containing a rooting
cupscontainingarooting
mediumandwithholes
drilled in their bottoms.
drilledintheirbottoms.
The
Theprerootedcuttingsare
pre rooted cuttings are
placedintheseclearcups
for further root
forfurtherroot
development.Remember
thatdeepercupsarebetter
thanshort,squatcups.

PropagationbyCuttings
Theprerootedcuttingsinclear
plasticcupsareplacedonwireracks,
in plastic storage boxes. These boxes
inplasticstorageboxes.Theseboxes
hold20cuttingsandcanbeusedto
controlhumidity.
Thescreen"racks"areusedtokeep
the cups above the water that
thecupsabovethewaterthat
collectsatthebottomofthestorage
box.Ifthecupssitinwater,the
rootingmediawicksupthewater
ti
di i k
th
t
rottingthecuttings.Butthewater
underneaththescreenprovides
humiditytomaintainmoistureinthe
cutting.

PropagationbyCuttings
Placetheboxofcuttingsinanarea
thatreceivesfilteredsunlight.Too
much sun can heat up the box and
muchsuncanheatuptheboxand
cookyourcuttings.

Openthelidoftheboxalittlebit.
Thisallowsfreshairtoenter,which
,
isimportantincontrollingmold.If
thelidsarewideopen,youlosetoo
muchhumidity.
y
Thewateratthebottomofthe
crate under the screen
crate,underthescreen,
replenishesthehumiditylostby
havingthelidsopen.

PropagationbyCuttings
Eventuallythecuttingswilldeveloproots.
Each cutting may develop at a different
Eachcuttingmaydevelopatadifferent
rate.
Animportantprincipletorememberisthat
rootsandleaveshavenorelationshipto
each other.
eachother.
Underidenticalconditions,somecuttings
willgrowroots,somewillgrowleaves,and
somewillgrowboth.

PropagationbyCuttings
You
Youcannotpresumeroot
cannot presume root
developmentfrom
observingleaf
development This is why
development.Thisiswhy
clearcupsarebeneficial;
theyallowmetoactually
seewhetherrootsare
h th
t
developing.
Hereisacuttingthat
lookedstrongandhealthy
but there was little root
buttherewaslittleroot
development.Thisisnota
goodcandidatefor
transplanting and should be
transplantingandshouldbe
keptinaveryhighhumidity
environment.

PropagationbyCuttings
This
Thiscuttinghasvery
cutting has very
Itisnowremovedfromthecup
It is now removed from the cup
vigorousrootdevelopment
andreadyforrepottingintoa1
seenthroughthecupas
gallonpot.
wellasgoodleaf
ll
dl f
development.

PropagationbyCuttings
A
Anadvantageofvermiculiteandperlite
d t
f
i lit
d
lit asarootingmediumisthe
ti
di
i th
easeofremovingtherootedcuttingforrepotting.Mixesthatcontain
organicmaterialstendtosticktothesidesofthecups,whichleadsto
rootdamage.
td
If
Iftherootssticktothe
th
t ti k t th
sidesofthecup,
squeezeandflexthe
cup.Thesidesofthe
Th id
f h
cupcanbendatsharp
angles,andtheroots
willnot.Thecupmay
ill
h
crack,butevencracked
cupscanbereused
b
becausetheydon'tneed
h d '
d
toholdwater.

PropagationbyCuttings
Transfer
Transferthecuttingsto1gallonpots
the cuttings to 1 gallon pots
containingapottingmixof60%Perlite
and40%pottingsoil.
Acclimatethemtotheoutdoors,usually
puttingtheminshadewithaugmented
humidityforafewdays,andgradually
i t d i th
introducingthemtomoresunlightover
t
li ht
aperiodofweeks.
At
Atthisstage,pottingmixmoisture
this stage potting mix moisture
controlisstillcritical.Toomuch
moisturewillstillcauserootrotand
plantfailure.
WhenIseerootsinthedrainholes,I
transferthetreesto2gallonpotswhile
reversingthemixto40%perlite
i
h
i
40%
li and
d
60%pottingsoil.

PestsandDiseases
Pocket Gophers
PocketGophers
Figtreerootsareafavoritefoodofgophers,
whocaneasilykillalargeplant.Onepassive
method of control is to plant the tree in a large
methodofcontrolistoplantthetreeinalarge
aviarywirebasket.
The
Thewireshouldhaveopeningsnolargerthan
wire should have openings no larger than
andthetopedgeofthebasketshould
extendatleast23abovethesurfaceofthe
soil.

GopherControlProducts
Traps, Baits and Gases
Traps,BaitsandGases
Importantintheeffectivenessoftheseproductsis
thattheyshouldbeplacedinafreshtunnelorrun.

Trapsareoftenthemosteffective.Useinpairsand
p
p
placebacktoback.

Baitsworkwellifusedproperly.Abaitinjectortool
isausefultool.
Gasesaremosteffectivewhenthesoilismoist.
Gasesareoftentheleasteffectiveoftheseoptions.

PestsandDiseases
Birds
Themosteffectivebirddeterrentsarenets.Anysizenetwhichcompletely
enclosesthetreewillbeeffectiveagainstbirds.

PestsandDiseases
Birds
id

Birdsshouldbediscouragedfromyourfruit,butneverharmedorkilled.
Thereareseveralproductsavailabletoprotectyourcropfrombirds.
h
l
d
l bl
f
b d

PestsandDiseases
Fig Beetles
FigBeetles
FigBeetlesareaproblematleastasseriousasbirdsinSanDiego.
1/2"birdmeshistolargetokeepoutfigbeetles.Ifoundthat1/4"
/
/
meshbirdnetfromBirdBGonewastheperfectsolutionforboth
birdsandFigBeetles.

PestsandDiseases
Fig Beetles
FigBeetles
Largegrubs(larvae)are
g g
(
)
frequentlyfoundin
compostpilesandinsoil
that is rich in organic
thatisrichinorganic
material.

Trapshungintreesduring
thesummercanhelp
h
h l
reduceFigBeetle
p p
populationsandcanhelp
p
toreducedamagetothe
figcrop.

PestsandDiseases

MitadulidandCarpophilusdriedfruitbeetlescan
enterripeningfruitthroughtheeyeandcause
i
i f i h
h h
d
damagebyintroducingfungiandrots.
Theyfrequentlybreedinfallencitrusfruits.Keepa
clean orchard by destroy fallen fruits and do not
cleanorchardbydestroyfallenfruitsanddonot
grownearcitrustrees.

FigMosaicVirus
Hostspecific,onlyaffectsfigs.Formerlyconsideredbenign,probably
causes crop reduction
causescropreduction.
Symptomsresemblepotassiumdeficiency.Leavesmaybesmallerthan
normalanddeformed.Prematuredefoliationandfruitdropoftenoccur.
Virusspreadbycuttingsandbyeriophyid mite.
y
g
BlackMissionisthemostseriouslydamagedcultivar.
Therearenocuresforvirusdiseases.

PestsandDiseases
Root Knot Nematodes
RootKnotNematodes

Rootknotnematodesaredifficulttocontrolandcanbe
spreadeasilyfromgardentogardeninsoil(for
example,ontools,boots,etc.)andplantparts.
l
t l b t t ) d l t
t

Rootknotnematodessurvivefromseasontoseason
primarily as an egg in the soil. After the eggs hatch, the
primarilyasanegginthesoil.Aftertheeggshatch,the
secondstagejuvenilesinvaderoots,usuallyatroot
tips,causingsomeoftherootcellstoenlargewhere
thenematodesfeedanddevelop.

Rootknotnematodesusuallycausedistinctive
swellings,calledgalls,ontherootsofaffectedplants.

Thenematodesfeedanddevelopwithinthegalls,
whichmaygrowtoaslargeas1inchindiameteron
someplantsbutareusuallymuchsmaller.

RootKnotNematodes

Abovegroundsymptomsofarootknotnematodeinfestationincludewilting,lossof
vigor yellowing and other symptoms similar to a lack of water or nutrients
vigor,yellowing,andothersymptomssimilartoalackofwaterornutrients.

Fewerandsmallerleavesandfruitsareproduced,andplantsheavilyinfestedearlyin
theseasonmaydie.

Damageismostseriousinwarm,irrigated,sandysoils.

Somecontrolmaybeachievedbyusingfruittreerootstocksthatareresistantto
nematode injury increasing the organic material in the soil with the use of mulches or
nematodeinjury,increasingtheorganicmaterialinthesoilwiththeuseofmulchesor
soilamendments,orbyintroducingbeneficialSteinernemafeltiae(Sf)nematodes.

Pruning

Fig trees are productive with or without heavy pruning.


Figtreesareproductivewithorwithoutheavypruning.

Toprotectthebarkofthetreefromsunburn,treesaregenerallyprunedintothe
modifiedcentralleadershape.

Themodifiedcentralleadershapekeepsthetreesmallerandmakesiteasierto
harvestthefruitaswellastoprotectthefruitfrombirdsandfigbeetles.

Thesizeofthematurefigtreecaneasilybecontrolledbypruningwithout
sacrificingthefruit.Figtreescanbekeptassmallas6feetinheight.

Pruning
Figtreescanalsobeespallied.
Ifradicalpruningisdone,whitewashtheentiretree.
If di l
i i d
hit
h th
ti t

ModifiedCentralLeader
The
Themodifiedcentralleaderpruning
modified central leader pruning
stylekeepsbranchesinthecenterof
thetree.Thisprotectsthebarkofthe
treefromsunburn.
Eachscaffoldbranchanditsattached
branchesandlimbsshouldoccupy
py
theirownspaceinthetree.
Branches
Branchesshouldnotcross,touch,rub
should not cross touch rub
orbeexcessivelycrowded.
Adequate
Adequatespacingshouldbe
spacing should be
maintainedbetweenbranchesto
allowsufficientlightandairto
p
penetratethroughthetreesothat
g
fruitingwoodisproducedandsothat
insectanddiseaseproblemsare
reduced.

Pruning
Figs
Figsmay
may producetwocropsoffruitperyear.Thebreba
produce two crops of fruit per year. The breba cropwhichis
crop which is
producedonthepreviousyear'swood,andthemaincropwhich
formsfigsonthenewgrowththatappearsthisseason.
BrebaCrop

MainCrop

Fig
Figvarietiesdifferintheirabilitytoproduceabreba
varieties differ in their ability to produce a breba crop.
crop.
Commonfigsallproduceareliablemaincrop.Pruningmust
promotethecorrectfruitingwoodforthedesiredcrop.

Pruning
Forfigvarietiesthatproduceabreba
f
h
d
b b crop:

Sincethecropisbornonpreviousyear'swood,oncethetreeformisestablished,
avoid heavy winter pruning which causes loss of the following year'sscrop.Itis
avoidheavywinterpruning,whichcauseslossofthefollowingyear
crop It is
bettertopruneimmediatelyafterthemaincropisharvested.

p
g,
p
p
g
q
p
y
Whenwinterpruning,usedropcrotchpruningtechniquestopreservelastyears
growthwhichwillproducethespringbreba crop.

DropCrotchPruning

Dropcrotchpruningistoprunea
Drop
crotch pruning is to prune a
branchbydroppingbackfromthe
apicaltiptoalowerlateralbranch.
Thislateralbranchshouldbeatleast
1/3 the diameter of the branch which
1/3thediameterofthebranchwhich
isbeingremoved.

p
g
p
Apruningcutisthenmadeatthetop
ofthecollarofthelateralbranch.

Pruning
Forfigvarietiesthatproduceamaincroponly:

Sincethecropisborncurrentseasonswood,severewinterpruninghaslessaffect
ontheproductionoffruit.

Headingcutscansignificantlyreducethesizeoflastyearsgrowth. Headinga
branchwillresultinthesproutingofalllowerbudsintobranchesandwill
necessitatethethinningofbranchesinsubsequentyearstopreventovercrowding.

Pruning
Toppingorheadinghasmanyharmfuleffectsontreegrowthand
pp g
g
y
g
treehealth.Theresultsincludeexcessive,poorlyattachedbranch
growth,diseaseanddecay,andsunburnamongothersandnever
resultsinreducingthesizeofthetreelongterm.

Dropcrotchpruningcanreducethesizeofatreewithoutthe
harmfulaffectsoftopping.Thisresultsinatreethatiseasierto
maintainyeartoyear.
Dropcrotchpruningresultsinlessexcessivegrowthwhichmeans
lesspruningisrequiredeachyear.Generallythesepruningcutsare
removingsmallerbranches,thereforemakingsmallerwounds.

FigTreePrunedtoModifiedCentralLeader
(UsingDropcrotchPruningTechniques)

FigTreePrunedtoModifiedCentralLeader
(UsingDropcrotchPruningTechniques)

FigTreePrunedtoModifiedCentralLeader
(UsingDropcrotchPruningTechniques)

SourcesforFigTrees

Thefollowingnurseriesoffermediumtolargeassortmentsoffigvarieties.Listingisnotanendorsement.

ChestnutHillNursery,15105NW94Avenue,Alachua,FL32615.8006692067.Freecatalog.
Durio Nursery,5853HIGHWAY182,OPELOUSAS,LA 70570,PHONE: (337)9483696,FAX: (337)9426404
EdibleLandscaping,P.O.Box77,Afton,VA22920.8005244156.URL:www.EATIT.comIllustratedcatalogfree.

Encanto Farms,SanDiego,CA.,(619)2661770,URL:www.encantofarms.com
Exotica,2508BE.VistaWay,Vista,CA.92083,(619)7249093

FigTreeNursery,P.O.Box124,GulfHammock,FL32639.3524862930.Catalog$1.00.
JustFruits,Route2,Box4818,Crawfordville,FL32327.9049265644.Freecatalog.
LouisianaNursery,Route7,Box43,Opelousas,LA70570.3189483696.Catalog$6.00.
OregonExotics,1065MessengerRoad,GrantsPass,OR97527.5038467578.Illustratedcatalog$3.00.
PeterBauwen,Trompwegel 27,B9170DeKlinge,Belgium.Writeforcataloginformation.(Figscanbelegally
importedintheU.S.withproperUSDAimportpermitsandquarantine.)
Raintree Nursery,391ButtsRoad,Morton,WA98356.3604966400.Illustratedcatalogfree.
Read'sNursery,HalesHall,Loddon,Norfolk,NR146QW,GreatBritain.4401508548395.Writeorcallfor
cataloginformation.(FigscanbelegallyimportedintheU.S.withproperUSDAimportpermitsandquarantine.)
g
( g
g y p
p p
p p
q
)
SeveralNAFEXFigInterestGroupsmembersalsosellfigsonanamateurorcasualsalesbasis:
FredW.Born,5715W.PaulBryantDrive,CrystalRiver,FL344297523.3527950489.
BillFogarty,1035S.E.BellAvenue,Corvallis,OR973335417585272.
RayGivan,2412Lowground Road,Guyton,GA31312.9127284028.EMailto:raygivan@earthlink.net

NationalClonal Germplasm Repository,USDAARS


UniversityofCalifornia
Davis,CA956169167526504(voice)or7525974(fax)

TheIncredibleEdibleFig
Ficus carica

I would like to gratefully


acknowledge Jon Verdick of
Encanto Farms and We Be Figs
for the slides and instructions
on propagating figs by
hardwood cuttings and for
several of the fig pictures.
Thank You
You, Jon!