FIG TREE TIMELINE - Philadelphia, PA
March 1st-April 1st: Start the fig shuffle. Wake up your late varieties to give them a head start to the season. Keep leafed out trees away from frost and above 32F.
-- Do any necessary root pruning (anytime during dormancy).
OR April 1st: Start the rehydration process. Put the dormant container figs on the patio for an easier and more natural transition out of dormancy. Water well. Keep dormant trees above 17F.
-- Use dormant or horticultural oil to rid your trees of any overwintering pests.
May 1st: Average last frost date in the Philadelphia area. All trees can be moved out of storage. Transition leafed out trees slowly to full sun.
-- Fertilize well. Organic slow release ferts can be applied before breaking dormancy. Remove mulch. Apply slow release inorganic ferts, cover your micronutrients and add lots of calcium. Diatomaceous earth and mycorrhizal inoculants recommended. Mix as best you can.
-- Thin new shoots. Especially in containers to increase productivity, thicken new growth & shape the trees to your will. Less is more.
May 15th-June 15th: Sap flow & metabolisms are increasing. Up pot, plant in ground, begin outdoor rooting, grafting and air layering now that soil temperatures have risen significantly. Stake young trees, air layers and grafts.
June 1st-July 1st: Pinch off the tips of the new shoots to induce main crop. Look for 2 white or red dots on the branches above the leaf stem.
-- After pea sized fruits show, reduce watering to a minimum. Mulch well. 2 inches minimum.
August 1st: Cease all fertilizing. Pick the first of the main crop. Add protection as needed and use patience.
Sept 1st-October 1st: Reduce water even further. Pick up and dispose of any fallen leaves to lessen rust issues.
December 1st: The trees are now entering dormancy. Prune with fruiting branches in mind for next year’s main crop and put away in storage when temperatures dip below 17F. Mulch well. Root prune/bare root for shipment if necessary. Begin indoor rooting.
February 1st: Water dormant container fig trees. 4 ounces per tree.