How fast do figs grow?

enigmamachine42January 22, 2009

I am considering getting some fig trees from I asked Giuseppe how fast his trees would grow and he said 1 to 1 1/2' per year depending on the variety, but I have no idea if this is good or bad. I am so inexperienced with figs that until last week, I thought they normally grew as bushes, rather than trees. The only fig I have any real experience was one that my grandfather got from Costa Rica. I think it is between 20 and 30 years old. It dies to the ground every year and grows back as a very large bush to a height of around 3 to 4'. It almost always fails to ripen any fruit, probably because he doesn't protect it from the cold. If anyone can set me straight on this, I would appreciate it. Also, if you are all pruning your trees regularly, how do you keep them from looking like bizarre, twisted bonzais after a few years?

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Enigmamachine42, its probably failing to get fruit as its using most energy to grow , if protected theres a very good chance to get fruit, how fast fig trees grow? Some fig trees grow at different rates depending on the variety.
Also you can prune to grow in tree form or bush form whichever you choose, when growing in tree form the trunk just gets thicker over the years, as you prune you get new branches as the fig tree keeps on growing except when dormant. Try to protect the one tree you speak of and it will reward you with fruit instead of using up its energy just to survive the following year. Hope this helps you some. Best Luck

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 11:43PM
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That tree isn't actually mine, but I'm wanting to get one of my own. I'm sure that my grandfather wouldn't take my advice if I told him how to get fruits just to spite me. Anyway, I'm just looking to get a good tree of my own, but I don't have enough experience or information to know what a good tree would be like. Can you get a little more specific? Thanks.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 11:30AM
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I am not sure what you are asking for.
If it is 'dwarf' fig you are looking for,
the Petite Negra is touted as such, though I see
no big difference between it and the (similar) VdB.
All figs respond very well to drastic pruning, and can
be kept as a small sized tree (think pots).

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 12:32PM
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I'm actually hoping to find something that I can let get big once I have a yard to plant it in. As long as I live in an apartment I can keep it pruned, but I don't plan to much longer, so bigger is probably better. I'm just trying to figure out how fast fig trees normally grow.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 1:31PM
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Your are in USDA zone 6. Figs need to be winter protected
there (not an easy task). Unless you plan to move in a
zone 8 (or better), I recommend that you think small
rather than big...

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 1:55PM
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I was planning to use the buried pot method that I've seen others on the forums using, so as long as I can get a friend or two to help out, it shouldn't be a problem.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 2:04PM
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I hope by now you have realized no one can really answer your question definitively. In zone 6 no fig tree will probably reach its maximum size, so I would suggest you concentrate on fruit type and cold hardiness.....

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 3:20PM
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I was starting to get that impression. Thank you.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 3:43PM
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Another factor is length of season. For example Elder's zone 6 gets as cold as Rhode Island's zone 6, but his growing season is longer and the duration of his colder weather is shorter. I've spoken to Joe at, and he says all his varieties ripen in Boston (short season).
If you get hooked on figs (very easy to do), check with growers in your general area for variety recommendations. No matter how good a fig is, if it won't ripen in the area where you are, it's a bad fig for you.
As for the pruning, a lot of figs require radical pruning - they are cut way back every year since the main crop figs are produced on new growth. They are pretty neat looking.
Other figs that produce an early (breba) crop and a second (main crop)are a little more difficult to prune. If you cut back radically you loose the brebas as they form on the previous year's wood. Brebas generally aren't as good as main crop figs, and some people sacrifice them to hurry the main crop along. If you don't prune at all, less and less new wood is produced. So you prune selectively, trying to balance production, and the tree can look - interesting, LOL.

Here is a link that might be useful: Interesting Fig Tree

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 5:03PM
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Enigmamachine42, i read your other post here and not to cinfuse you here are your options once you move into your own place.
Grow tree in ground not naturally and each late fall dig trench longer than hieght and width of tree, get some twine and bring bracnhes together like a freshly wrapped christmas tree, for added protection in our cold zones then wrap with burlap, dig around base of tree enough to push tree downwards into that trench, cover the tree with plywood on top (makes it easier to scoop up dirt with shovel and not damage tree in spring)then on top of that fill with enough dirt to make a nice mound op top yes it should look similar to a fresh buried body in cemetery after wards this is how my uncle buried his 1 tree for many many years in zone 5 a lot of work but he never lost it.

Other option grow inground naturally and mound some hay or something similar to insulate base of tree then again use twine to bring branches close together there very flexible and wrap it very well with burlap and other insulating type material to protect it from the brutal winter winds and cold.

My favorite and easiest option for me in zone 5 is grow in large containers and when after a couple of good frost in the 20s i simply wheel them in my attached garage and throw bed sheets to keep the sun off them that shines thru top panel of my garage they stay this way until good weather arrives.
The larger you want your tree the more work it is to bury and or wrap above ground and should be considered in your plans.
These are probably the 3 ways most use in the colder type zones.
If i remember correctly my relatives grew their tree somewhere between 10 to maybe 14 feet at the tallest and spent most of the morning and afternoon with my cousins preparing it for the winter to me thats just to much i can do so i use the garage method and large containers here is a picture of a few of them on my patio,
sorry for showing them again for those who have seen them recently, but this is to give you an idea of what they can look like growing this way in season and stored in garage.
Best of Luck.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 10:04PM
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steve_nj8(6a NJ)

Adding to Dieselers post on winter protection, see the attached for how I wrapped mine in Z6a for the winter.

Depending on the type (1 or 2 crops) you can also cut to the ground. Growing up, my family would cut their trees back to the main trunk and let it grow new growth each year. Those trees were a good 6" or bigger main trunk though.

Here is a link that might be useful: Winterizing

    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 6:25AM
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Those are some nice, big trees you guys have. From the pictures, it looks like you are using large, plastic pots. Where did you find them? I don't think I've seen any that large at Home Depot. In other news, I ordered a 6-7' Chicago Hardy, since that and Brown Turkey seem to be the two most popular varieties in my area. I figure that such a tough, fast-growing tree will be more forgiving of a beginner's mistakes.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2009 at 12:07PM
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I bought my containers at home depot but that was more than a few years back, they now have newer ones i recently seen that i like more as they are more stright sided and possibly will hold up better in our windy area, but of course they cost mnre as well.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2009 at 4:41PM
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