What kind of Fig Tree is this?

Dion MunkMay 18, 2012

I was wondering if anyone could help me identify a fig tree. I have a picture of it here: http://flic.kr/p/c1d9zu

I think this tree looks amazing and would like to grow one or two just like it in my own yard. If anyone could help me to identify this I would much appreciate it. Thanks!

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Hello Dionmunk,

Wow! What a tree! You are about to make all of us jealous.

For starters, nobody can tell what kind of fig tree that is based on such a distant photo. Please get a close up of the fruit and of the leaves. Many knowledgeable folk here in this forum, and some of them will certainly know what variety this tree might be.

You could of course surreptitiously take a foot long cutting from this mother-of-all-fig trees and take it home and grow it from a clipping.

But then again, you are in Utah, the building is bright white and high end, so my guesss is that it is a Mormon Temple building. They might frown on folks trimming their trees, so to speak.

But if you indeed wish for a legal clipping from the tree, stick around a bit and meet the groundskeepers. When you see them at work, let them see you taking pictures of the tree from different angles. Then ask them what kinD of fig tree it is. Ask them when they do the pruning, and if you can return that day to get a cutting which will certainly be thrown away. My guess is that one of them will just walk over and lop off a branch or two for you. TA DA!

And if this works, please post here in the forum what variety this tree really is. It is a beautiful tree indeed. We all will want a tree so nice!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 1:28PM
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Dion Munk

Thank you for the suggestions. I'll get a closer pic and also see about getting in touch with the groundskeepers.

I didn't think about getting some clippings from the tree but that is a great idea, I'll see if I can talk them into contacting me when they do trim it.

I appreciate the help budbackeast and I will be sure to post what type of tree it is.

And yes, it is on the grounds of the St. George, Utah Mormon Temple.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 1:36PM
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Ahah! I'd been there long long ago on an Easter day when I was a long haul trucker. The kindly ladies at the temple gave me a Book of Mormon and directed me over to the church, suggesting I go for Easter service. So, red flannel shirt and blue jeans, I did just that. Needless to say, it was very nice although I stuck out like a sore thumb.

Hmmm. Must have been about 15 years ago. If you go to that church, just ask the elders about the guy in the red flannel shirt. It was Easter. I'm sure they still laugh about it.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 3:14PM
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Just curious....

Besides a common, edible fig - Ficus carica - what other species of fig could live in Utah? What climate zone would this be? The tree looks like it has some age on it, and has probably grown there without protection from winter weather.

Are you absolutely sure it's a fig tree?

Talk to, and make friends with the gardeners, and offer to buy them lunch. They'll give you some cuttings. Propagate them. Send one to me please. : )


    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 3:17PM
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Dion Munk

@budbackeast - Haha, that is a great story. I won't lie, I am a Mormon(I'm not crazy, I have 1 wife, and I don't want to force my religion on you). But I do hope you had a good time at church.

@BronxFigs - I'm not sure what others live in Utah. The area where this tree is located is a desert and gets very hot in the summer, 100+. The winters in St. George are very mild. I am sure it is a fig tree, I saw some of the fruit still green in the tree and found some dried old fruit in the grass under it.

I did find a phone number and talked to the Temple Engineer who would get in touch with the grounds crew. He took my name and number and said he would get back with me. I'll give them a call next week and see if they found anything out. I'll also ask them about getting some clippings from the tree.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 7:02PM
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I didn't have any idea that Utah had that kind of hot/mild weather. I learn something new about this country every time I read postings on this forum. Honestly, I thought Utah had a much colder winter climate.

Thanks for the photo, and for the new information.


    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 7:15PM
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Hello again Frank,

St. George is very southern Utah. It is red-rock country and is a marvelous place to visit. Good for winter retirement too.

Lovely natural scenery, good solid folk, and I believe it has the finest looking of the Mormon Temples, period. As a former trucker, I've seen many of them.

Easy to believe that the Mormons would have such a healthy fig tree. They don't do anything in a shoddy fashion. Kudos to this lovely tree's caretakers!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 8:16PM
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Hello Dionmunk,

When you are growing your fig trees, don't forget about us here in the forum! Several good fig-lovin' folk will want to see how you do with this.

And if you meet anybody who recalls my red-flannel Easter visit, let me know. Good for a chuckle, even now.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 8:20PM
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When I was a kid, I would pass a big fig tree like the one in the photo, while on my walk to grade school. The trunk must've been 10" in diameter at the base, and the trunk was painted white. The tree grew for years, but when the original owners sold the house and land, the builders chopped down that beautiful fig tree, sub-divided the property, and now four houses were built on the property that originally had one house and a large back yard. Now the city collects four times the taxes, and everyone living on that block have homes that are jammed next to one another.

God only knows how old that tree must have been.

I wonder if the fruit is any good on that Utah/Mormon Temple tree?


    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 10:00PM
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Hi Frank,

You are the Bronx guy, but say you live in Zone 7B. Huh?

Where did you live as a kid? I cannot imagine spacious lots and fig trees in the Bronx. Been there. Didn't see figs or large lots.

You know, I really apprecicate your work here in the forums. You always have good information and a great attitude. Being so far north, your advice is sound and practical for fig tree growers who wish to do what nature otherwise denies.

Question for you... what soil are you using? Store bought stuff, peat moss mix, home composted? I'm stuck with sand here, and everything lives, but nothing really thrives. I need to kick my sand up a notch.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 5:47AM
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I just read your latest posting, and I thank you for your kind words.

I live now, in Throgg's Neck, but when I was a kid, I grew up in the Pelham Bay section of the North-East, Bronx. Both of these areas, especially, Throgg's Neck are within a mile of the Long Island Sound, and not very far from the Atlantic Ocean. I think the proximity to these large bodies of water tempers the coastal, winter-weather, and we don't seem to have the extreme conditions that other sections of NY State experience. In truth, the zonal maps have us at 7b, but it usually is much milder most of the time. We really don't get many days below the mid 20s. Sure, an occasional cold snap hits, where weather can dip into the teens, or, a little lower, but then, we warm right back up. Temps in the low 30s-40s are not unusual. January, and February are the two coldest months. These are the killers. My trees go into storage around Christmas, and come back out usually by the end of March.

Many years ago, when I walked to school, and "Little Anthony and the Imperials" were singing about some tears on his pillow, I passed many houses that had large fig trees, and one in particular, had a trunk at least 8" diameter, and it grew there for years, and years. It was far too large to cover with tar-paper, blankets, and such. The house was on the corner, and had two lots of property attached, and this very large, fig tree grew in the back yard. I still passed this tree, as a young man on my way to the train station. I worked for "Royal Dalton" China, and came home with $56.70, after taxes, for a 40 hour week. I was 16 years old, and I thought I was rich! About 10 years ago, the property sold, the original house was razed, and the fig tree was chopped down. There, one day, gone the next. Four houses were built on property that once had just one, single-family house. NYC grants the permits for builders to do this kind of thing. Why would The City care if the neighborhoods become overcrowded? They collect four times the taxes, and the builders get inflated prices, and then... disappear after the houses start falling apart after a few years.

The Bronx has changed, and I mean radically changed, over the last ten-fifteen years. Single-family homes are replaced with houses with 4-5 families, each family having 2-3 cars...there are fewer parking spaces, and some home-owners have become so desperate, that front yards are paved over, and turned into min-parking lots. It's disgusting to see whole neighborhoods raped for the tax revenues. Family obligations, and very elderly parents bind me here. I would move far away in a NY-second, if I had the chance. Hope this is not boring to read.

Now, "soil". I no longer use dirt. I recently, (a few weeks ago), did a root-pruning, and re-potting of all four trees into a very, quick-draining mix. The pine-bark fines, Turface-MVP, gravel mix. I decided to go soiless. I used to grow in composted, Home-Depot top-soil, right out of the bag, but found that the water just turned the containers into swamps, and took way too long to drain. I didn't really know ant better. So far the trees seem to love the quick-draining medium, and the extra air around the roots. The Turface-MVP retains moisture, without feeling wet. Growing in containers has some advantages, IF you keep up with the requirements of the trees. On a small scale, it's fine. I like the results, and it's easy to move my trees into storage when the weather cools.

Bud...do you grow in-ground? Why not grow in containers that are sunk half-way into the surrounding ground? Do you worry about nematodes infecting your Florida trees? Maybe a tree or two, in a new mix, and different fertilizers combos will give you some cultural clues that might prove better for your trees.

Happy growing.


    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 9:39AM
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noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)


I just got some cuttings from a guy in Brooklyn from a tree that has been there for, I think he said, 30 years. It got cut down a few years ago, very short and is now back up to 20'. It sure doesn't get covered and it lives on. I suspect it may be a BT, but who knows? He doesn't know what kind of tree it is, but that's his story on it.


    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 9:56PM
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Hello again Frank,

Wow! Thanks for the serious reply. Most folks on this forum go for brevity, and I have been chastised for over-posting. Whatever.

As a boy living in coastal NC, I do recall the moderating effect of the sea. It never once snowed where we lived (Camp Lejune USMC base). Fifty miles inland, they had snow on the ground every winter. So the Bronx/Atlantic proximity is a real plus for a fig guy like you.

You say that you have four trees. Which varieties? I presently have 2 black varieties, two white varieties, a large purple fellow and a brown turkey fig. The white ones are very sweet. I'm a diabetic, and nobody appreciates a sweet fig like a diabetic. I'm 'dying' for one right now.

If you ever wish for cuttings, they're yours. No idea how these would hold up in the Bronx, but you never know unless you try.

Did you ever look at MY RECENTLY COMPLETED FIG ORCHARD video? Yes, I have 6 trees in the sandy ground here. But I'm converting to a heavy-mulch based organic system. I've posted about that system elsewhere, invented by a very religious guy out in Washington state. He's way overboard, but - - - he's absolutely right about farming & gardening.

Yes, nematodes are a plague here in Florida, but if the BACK-TO-EDEN guy in Washington state is correct, my orchard will become increasingly inhositable to nematodes yet encouraging to earth worms. As a nerdy guy, I love to experiment with these sorts of things. If I lose a tree, I lose a tree, but I gain insight. Education is never free.

As for half-buried buckets, it is often tried here and always eventually fails, as the nematodes enter thru the drain holes.

But there is a really clever guy up in Minnesota who has figured out a better way to do container gardening. Next Sunday, time permitting, I am going to build his self-watering container growing system here in Florida. IT'S EASY AND CHEAP TO BUILD. It might be useful for you to see this.

I am going to research your soil information tonight. If the in-ground mulched orchard fails, I'll go with Larry Hall's container garden system and maybe with your soil to give me a fighting chance. Thanks for the useful info about your trees and your area. I used to deliver in the Bronx back when I used to be a long haul trucker. Before Guliani. Good times. Good times.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 10:26PM
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Thanks for the cudos. I have a few very quick thoughts, and I will just jot them down as they come to me...

What if you surround the sunken containers, - if you use the container-system of growing - with a nematode-proof material, like cinders, pumice, Perlite, Turface, coarse gravel, etc. I guess I'm asking if there anything that will inhibit, and act as a nematode-proof barrier between your containers, and the contaminated surrounding soil?

Fig varieties that I grow:
My very limited collection consists of two 6ft. "Atreano" trees, three, "Red-Sicilian" and a small treelet of, "Texas Blue Giant"...all but the TBG gives me delicious figs each year....by the dozens! I'm hoping the TBG will fruit this year. The "Red-Sicilian" was given to me by a very kind man living in Mount Vernon, NY, and when he gave me the three, rooted branchlets, he called them "Red-Italian" figs. In a recent thread, on the other fig forum, photos of a very similar tree/leaves/fruit were posted, and I believe that my "Red Italian" and the "Red-Sicilian" fig are the same. Very hardy...and has been in-ground since 2007 without any die-back at all. Sweet, red-brown figs. However, the "Atreano-Gold" is the star of my small collection. I also have been growing this variety since 2007, and it is a real joy. I trained both into tall, single-stem standards, and each one is planted into a 25 gallon container. Makes a great "Patio-Tree". They live on my back deck, in full, blazing, south-sun/heat, and produce a prolific number of golden-yellow figs by mid-August. Sometimes, I have to thin the crop because so many figs are growing in too small a section of the branch tips. Like all figs, the fruit must hang past the drooping stage for an extra day or two, so that sugars can concentrate. I am very stingy with watering the trees at this point, and only water if leaves start to flag. I also prevent rain from hitting the potting medium while ripening. If the roots get soaked, the figs might split, or, the flavors will be diluted by too much water. You can't control water when trees are in-ground. My former, in-ground, "Red-Sicilian" would split if it rained at the wrong time. This year, I dug them out, and planted them also, into containers for better controls.

Growing medium:
A forum member named Al, posting under "tapla" has suggested this growing medium for containerized plants, including figs. So far, my figs are thriving, but all nutrition must come from fertilizers. I use Dyna-Gro, Foliage-Pro 9-6-3, and Pro-TeKt, diluted in each watering. I used to water with fish emulsions, but the stench was terrible, and worse, it attracts House Flies. House Flies turn my stomach.

I did watch your very interesting video. Check out a site called "Bill's Figs". He grows in special containers. You may find some interest with his methods. But just one question: Water/rain dilutes the flavors of a ripening fig. If grown with these methods, how will you control the amount of water entering the ripening fig?

Time to end this posting, and, thanks for yours. Very informative.


    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 6:05AM
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Hello Frank,

Thanks for the great info. I think that this one thread is getting hijacked by us. Next time I see you in another forum, we can talk about it all again.

Your question about watering/overwatering is a good one. I am from very rainy New Orleans, and somehow, an old fig tree in our back yard produced very good figs in great abundance. Never fertilized, out in the sandy clay muck we call a yard. I don't worry much about overwatering here, as the rains just seep away in a few hours.

I won't necessarily put the figs in containers. Not sure yet. Will build the Larry Hall system just to see it work, and grow veggies. At first. Overwatering? Larry does not seem to be having any problems with his garden, and I'm an optimist.

More later, in a newer thread.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 9:00PM
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Go for it. If no one ever attempts anything that is new, or different, things become stagnant. If you fail...so what? you learned something not matter what happens.

Good luck with the figs.


    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 8:17AM
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Go for it. If no one ever attempts anything that is new, or different, things become stagnant. If you fail...so what? you learned something not matter what happens.

Good luck with the figs.


    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 8:18AM
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