Monday, May 7, 2012

The Fig Tree is Fighting Back!

The Old wood is producing again...

There is much work to be
done in order to make
it ready for the summer
This fig tree has been through an awful lot. First of all, it was not supposed to survive all of the severe winters that it has weathered. It was only covered with burlap the first winter it was planted. My father told me it was not necessary to cover it. He may have been wrong there. In the best of times, it bears fruit every other year. The fruit is very sweet and yellow in color when ripe. It must be left on the vine until ripe. Figs are very vulnerable in spring, because the fruit appears on the old wood before the leaves. This exposes the young fruit to birds before the large leaves are present to hide the fruit. Early birds eat their fill of the young green buds that will grow into figs. Only the ones hidden by leaves survive. This tree has been through a lot since it has not been pruned in a couple of years. It has also not gotten the giant dose of manure tea that is usually dumped into its branches every year. The few pieces of fruit that are present were not expected so they were a welcome sight. The "How to Books" describe figs as very easy to grow. It is suggested that they be pruned in the fall. I have found that they must be pruned in the spring after the dead wood shows that it has no more life or moisture in it. The obviously dead wood should be removed from the bush. They are both unsightly and dangerous. Reaching into the plant to remove figs, to weed, fertilize or cultivate is easier if the dead branches and twigs are pulled out and discarded.

A five gallon bucket is sitting in the yard now containing water and manure. Manure tea is steeping. My best yield was realized when I dumped an entire bag into the center of the bush, at the base, and just watered it liberally all season. During a recent renovation the contractors did more than a little damage to it by dumping liquids from the construction activity into my yard. They did not take kindly to my telling them off about the practice. As a reminder, do not allow contractors to just dump the liquids from their trade into your yard. Some of those chemicals can do permanent damage to grass, flowering perennials and shrubbery. Anything dumped may also end up in the water you drink one day. Based on what I see, I may have ten figs this year.

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