Fig Tree In Front Yard

raspberrytart(5)March 25, 2012

We just removed a large Lysiloma from our front yard, it was the only tree in the yard, but it made a huge mess all year. We would like to replace it with a Black Mission fig tree we have, but a landscaper from Harpers told us that it would be better in the backyard, never explained why or what to put in the front. We would also like to add a another tree. The front of our house faces north/slightly north west. If this would not be a good location or not look good please let us know, we are open to suggestions and any advice would be appreciated. My husband grew up with desert landscaping and refuses to have it. Would like something more along the lines of a cottage style garden and would like trees that provide fruit, nuts, flowers something other than a year round mess. We already have two mature citrus trees in our back yard.

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haname(z9 AZ NE Phoenix)

Figs have aggressive roots, and sometimes there is more infrastructure underground in the front of the house. That's just my guess as to why he said fig would not be best in the front. I'm curious too, if you ask and get an answer, please let us know!

I really like my Hong Kong Orchid Tree. It likes dry soil once established, has large interesting leaves, and blooms beautifully. No seeds for this variety because it is a hybrid. It needs training when young to help it develop a good shape. Here's a picture of one of the flowers I took the other day. The blooms are about 5" across.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 10:23AM
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I can only think of two reasons why the backyard would be better.

1) Your backyard has more hours of direct sun over a longer period of months than your front yard. If so your tree would produce more fruit over a longer season in your backyard.

2) Black Mission fig trees can grow to be very large trees if allowed to grow without pruning. So if there is more space in the back yard and you are not planning on doing any pruning then the backyard could be seen as a better place to plant.

A common misconception. Fig trees that produce edible figs do not have root systems that are seen as invasive. Its the strangler type none fruiting fig trees that grow truly massive root systems including aerial roots that are invasive and damaging. Fruiting figs with their none invasive root systems are often planted two to four feet from homes to take advantage of the ambient heat from the sun without danger to foundation or plumbing.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 12:04PM
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haname(z9 AZ NE Phoenix)

Thanks for the correction thisisme, it is helpful. :)

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 3:35PM
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pgde(Tucson Zone 9)

Where are you located? The HK Orchid needs a lot of heat and little cold (at least zone 9B or greater). They are not recommended here in Tucson except for "special" microclimates.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 2:31AM
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The rule of thumb for planting trees is to place them about 1/2 the canopy diameter at maturity away from structures. That way the branches won't interfere and cause damage to homes, fences, roofs, etc.

Figs are high water users so make sure you provide adequate irrigation. You can create a basin under the tree to hold water by adding 6 inch berms so the basin extends to the edge of the branches. If you allow the branches to nearly touch the ground they will shade the soil keeping roots cool and slowing evaporation. A 4 inch layer of mulch in the basin (but not piled against the trunk) will help too. If you live in an HOA they may require you to lift the canopy of your tree if its in the front yard.

Here's a link to more information on figs (and other fruits) that do well in the desert.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fruits for the Low Desert

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 12:12PM
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Thanks for all the information, we are going to go ahead and plant the tree in the front yard about 15 feet from the house, our backyard is too small. We realize that figs require more water than the desert trees and hope the fruit and less mess all year will be a good trade off.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 5:59PM
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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

I love figs and I don't want to discourage you, but you may just be trading one kind of mess for another. I have a brown turkey fig and it's a bird magnet when the figs begin to ripen. You may find half-eaten, rotting figs an annoyance, but if you're up for racing the birds to your ripe figs and raking the yard below, I think you'll enjoy your tree. The other plus - to me, at least - is the beautiful structure of the tree itself. Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 9:30PM
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Uh, fig trees actually are a mess. Rotting fruit and, once the cold hits, fallen leaves are an issue. If you're looking for a pretty, non desert, evergreen tree that's fairly drought resistant, consider forking out $$$ and buying a 36" box Texas Mountain Laurel.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 11:13PM
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I kind of have to agree with the last couple posts. I love figs. In fact most of the trees in my backyard used to be fig trees. Within a couple of years of planting though I got no figs from any fig trees that produce dark figs. The last couple of years I have given away all but one of my dark fig trees.

Now I'm planting fig trees that produce figs that are green or yellow when ripe. The one dark fig is a trap tree to attract the birds so I can have all the green and yellow figs.

Oh, and Texas Mountain Laurel's are beautiful trees. I would not spring for such a big one but they do have that Wow Factor going for them.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 1:20AM
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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

I don't remember if the Mission fig has an open or closed eye, but it's an important factor. Figs with 'open eyes' are subject to invasion by ants and sour fruit bugs. Brown Turkey has a somewhat open eye and for the first several years, I had no problem. For some reason, about 3 years ago the sour fruit bugs found the tree and ruined a lot of the figs. The riper the fig gets, the more open the eye becomes - and the more flavorful the fig is. I love the tree-ripened figs, but I had to try and pick them just before optimum ripeness to beat the bugs. Just go with your instincts, but be aware that with every choice you make, there is an upside and a downside. Btw, I have two lysilomas in my front yard and neither is growing as I thought they would/should.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 1:27PM
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Missions are closed eye.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 3:00PM
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