Fig tree

AmberOctoberAugust 22, 2014

Hello everyone.

I bought a little fig tree on eBay back in March and planted it without much hope by the house on our backyard.
To my surprise, it has been growing AWESOME. It is now about 3 feet tall with tons of leaves and even has a few little figs.
I started reading about its roots (yes, only now, very stupid of me, I know) and everywhere it says that figs are invasive and can damage house foundation and pools.
So I'm thinking about replanting in in a crate or a pot. What would you recommend? I do want it to grow BIG. Any recommendations about big crates? (Wooden, probably?) Most importantly, when should I replant it? I don't want to damage its roots much but I am afraid for it to grow even bigger.

Thank you!

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You shouldn't have an issue with roots if you planted at least 10 - 15 away from your house. If you decide to move it, wait unti it goes dormant this winter and it will be much less stressful on the tree.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 1:33PM
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Centurion in Cottonwood-- can you help ??????

Centurion has lots of trees and lots of different kinds. He should know

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 4:09PM
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Don Sutton emailed me this new pub a few days ago (see link). It may be of interest though I think it is poorly (surprisingly uninformatively) written.

Here is a link that might be useful: AZ1636 Growing Figs in the Low Desert

This post was edited by Fascist_Nation on Sat, Aug 23, 14 at 13:17

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 1:12PM
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Thank you for your replies, folks.
Unfortunately, the tree is way to close to the house, about 3 ft away. It is also 5 ft away from the edge of the pool.
Our backyard is horrible. It has this pool that takes most of the space but on top of that almost everywhere else there are concrete slabs. Four (!!) of them. I have no idea why the previous owners would do that. So there is almost no room to plant anything. This is the reason the tree is so close to everything.
Anyways... What do you think about using a deck storage box as a crate for the tree?
This one, for example

If I drill holes in the bottom and fill it with good soil... How long would it last?
How bug do you think it should be? 75 gallons? 100?

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 5:31PM
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1. Maybe 4 years unpainted. Many years painted. That is a guess.

2. Hire someone to dig up and either remove or turn into ubanite for pathway use, those 4 slabs to nowhere.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 7:56PM
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fascist_nation, you mean paining a plastic container? What for?

Oh yes, I would love to remove those slabs. But it costs waaay too much I could afford. The lowest offered price was $200 for braking the smallest of all (4 by 9 ft) plus $150 for hauling it away. :(
So I thought getting crates would be a better idea.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2014 at 6:51PM
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waterbug_guy(Phoenix AZ (Melrose))

Breaking up concrete can be fun and not too hard with a couple of tricks. I just broke up a 14x14' driveway and 20' of sidewall.

The driveway was 6" thick which is normal for driveways and the sidewalk was 4" which is normal for sidewalks and patios. I use a 25 pound sledge hammer and a steel bar. It doesn't take much hitting if you lift the slab with the bar a little first. And it doesn't take much strength. You don't really want to hit it hard. Smaller hits make cracks, heavy hits make dust.

If you live within walking distance of 7th ave and Indian School I'll come over and break it up for nothing and/or show you how. If you're not too far away car wise I'll do it for $20 or trade for plants.

The only time it's a pain is when some genius used steel reinforcement. Code doesn't allow steel reinforcement for this very reason, to allow it to be broken up easily. But I've known lots of DIYer who think they're making it stronger by adding steel. Geniuses.

Haul it way I say. Its urban gold. I'm turning my broken concrete into a wall/planter.

OK, this part is time consuming. Takes me about 30 minute to set 1 chunk. But I'm wanting a certain look and I like taking my time. It's a hobby thing to me, not a chore. The cost so far for building the wall has been $10 for a bag of portland cement and I had some decomposed granite laying around to mix with the cement to make a mortar. It'll take one more bag to do use the rest of the concrete, so $20 total, but a lot of time. I work starting at sun up for a few hours so it's comfortable to me. Good exercise.

The concrete can be used other ways, can be stacked way faster if you're OK with that look. It can be dry stacked too so no mortar.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 5:11PM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

VERY impressive project, water bug! Thanks for posting it. Please let us see the final product too. Looks great! Happy gardening all, Grant.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 1:09PM
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We don't hear nearly enough from you waterbug! And that is a great demonstration of what I mean by urbanite. Make nice pathway stepping stones too. Greg Peterson ( turned his urbanite into an outdoor kitchen where the sink water drains into the tree beds.

The paint keeps the sun from significantly breaking down the plastic. (hattip: Dennis McClung,

This post was edited by Fascist_Nation on Wed, Sep 3, 14 at 19:44

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 7:38PM
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waterbug_guy(Phoenix AZ (Melrose))

Urbanite is a great term. Steele Indian School Park was my inspiration which is nearby and has concrete nicely made into different walls.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 11:22PM
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Waterbug, this is BEAUTIFUL!! What a wonderful idea!

I have. O news on the fig tree so far but I do on one of the concrete slabs. Today, after our massive rains, i decided to poke around and see if some bricks would come out. And yes they did! Turned out, one of the slabs only had concrete under the outer layer of bricks, but the rest of them were just laying on the sand. Being wet on wet sand, they came out easily. Score!
Well, unfortunately this area is probably still close to the pool to put a fig tree there... What do you think guys? About 10 feet from the edge of the pool (with lines being much closer) and and 12-15 feet from the foundation of the house. If I planted it there, it would have to be by the backyard wall . Would the roots damage the wall?
I was hoping to make a sand box for my daughter there but it will be a BIG one. Thinking of planting a tree there since we need some shade... Don't know which one to choose.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2014 at 8:27PM
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waterbug_guy(Phoenix AZ (Melrose))

Assuming a concrete pool I would not worry about being too close. Concrete pools are extremely strong. The top is 12"x12" solid concrete with 4 horizontal strands of rebar. I torn one out once. Would not do that again. I'd even plant right up next to if I wanted the fig there.

I've seen some good size figs here in Phoenix, but most aren't very big. So that decreases risk.

I also think people over worry root damage. Many people seem to think roots seek out foundations for the sole purpose of destruction. But really a foundation is the last place roots want to go because the soil under a foundation is suppose to be bone dry.

Where you get into trouble is when there's a cracked sewer line or leaky water line under the house. That can cause a foundation to settle and crack. The crack gives entry to roots which goes after the water and nutrients from a sewer line. At some point things get so bad the owner finally checks and sees a root growing thru a crack in a foundation or pipe and proclaims the roots were obviously responsible for the damage. Another urban legend is born.

In a home that's maintained there is no risk to foundation damage. At the first sign of any problem the root would be cut off or the tree removed. But more likely there would never be a problem. Plus you would get many years first. I often plant large trees in spots that shouldn't have a large tree. I just cut them down in 5-10 years. They gave me what I wanted and that's that. The only downside is having to listen to garden experts (who have never done any gardening) tell me over and over about the tree damaging something. That gets old and I have little patience for such learned advice.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2014 at 9:20AM
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