15 Steps to Success: Fig Checklist

Updated: Jul 29, 2020

A checklist for all fig growers to ensure a successful harvest and happy trees.

  1. For proper fruit bud formation make sure that there is adequate light penetration into the canopy of your tree. Bend limbs and prune accordingly to open the canopy. Thin new shoots at bud break. Train figs as a tree form or as a cordon when possible. A bush should have no more than 3-6 trunks from the base. Trees with no more than 3-6 scaffolds.

  2. Have a well draining & consistently moist soil. Not wet. Not dry. I prefer a soil that's slightly drier than moist for optimal fruit quality.

  3. Applications of synthetic 10-4-12 should be applied annually in the first part of the growing season. Continued feedings for a second main crop after pinching. Cover all micro nutrients and trace elements. Specifically calcium, magnesium & silica.

  4. Remove weeds, unnecessary suckers and any competition.

  5. Keep winter pruning to a minimum when possible. Remove spindly weak growth, lower shaded growth & criss-crossing branches during dormancy. Diseased, damaged or dead wood at any time.

  6. Ripen fruits at the height of your season. That's usually when humidity is low and ambient temperatures are consistently 80-95F during the day. Big swings in temperature are infrequent. Your harvest can be timed with pinching and breba production to match these more ideal conditions.

  7. Harvest when the fig's neck is soft or prior to a big climatic event.

  8. Choose the right variety for your climate. Focus on varieties that are rain/humidity resistant, crack resistant and dry easily in humid climates. Focus on varieties that don't spoil, are very tasty and/or benefit from caprification in very hot/dry climates. And focus on varieties that ripen early and/or are hardy in short season/cold climates.

  9. Raise soil temperatures in the spring to 78F to achieve the perfect metabolic rate at an earlier date. Maintain soil temperatures below 95F in the summer. Again maintaining them at or above 78F in the fall. Sunlight hours, thermal mass, containers & mulch goes a long way.

  10. Check frequently for scale, spider mites, fungus gnats & borers. I recommend an annual spray of dormant oil, horticultural oil or neem during dormancy. Pick up fallen fruit, fermented fruit and remove split fruit to not encourage fruit fly and wasp populations. Use Tanglefoot for ants and slugs. Organza bags or netting for most critters.

  11. Rejuvenation prune when trees are heavily affected with FMV, growing slowly, are sickly or have lower than normal production. Consider root pruning in these situations.

  12. Allow figs to go dormant when possible.

  13. Avoid soils that are heavily infested with root knot nematodes. Grow in pots or graft varieties onto LSU Purple when growing in ground.

  14. Pick up fallen leaves and diseased leaves when struggling with rust issues. Apply silica either at the soil level or as a foliar spray (Dyna-Grow Protekt).

  15. Reduce water and fertilizer 3 or more months prior to first frost date for proper lignification of branches.

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