Zumwalt Fig

ranger2692(7 Central NJ)July 4, 2012

I purchased this tree from eBay vender about 3 years ago its grown from a large 14 in cutting to about 4 1/2 ft tree that I have in a large pot. It has normally I kept it inside during winter and put it outside warm months. Right now it has very healthy large leaves (which initially turned yellow when I put it outside) I fertilized it once week but still haven't gotten any figs? Anyone help?

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Well somehow the fig embryos were killed from Oct.2011 to May 2012.
This fig is a San Pedro ,Breba fig and you have to take extra precaution to keep the embryos alive trough the Winter.
They appear late in the Fall like little round buds on old growth and any frost,or lack of water can kill them ,or warmth ,in the shelter can make them fall out,and after that the tree will have no fruits next Season.
There is a main crop,later in the Summer but they will fall out without pollination,or if they persist they will taste like cardboard when ripe.
I also leave in NJ and got rid of my San Pedro figs because it is just to hard to bring them to fruition,successfully,every year.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 4:35PM
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The Zumwalt is closely related to the Desert King which the breba don't require pollination. The breba are of high quality but the plant is not prolific as Herman indicated folks within the NorthEast will not get a viable main crop. If you have limited space and want fruit I would remove it from my collection. The foliage is rather nice and I have given all me Zumwalts to friends who want it as a exotic patio plant.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 5:31PM
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What Herman and Vinnie wrote encourages me not to give more than one more winter storage as one year extra trial for my three Desert Kings. Some how I had got beginners luck with my DKs for a couple of years and got good number of brebas. But the last two years were discouraging. I believe I did my best to store them in a celar but now I realize that the breba buds might have died during early fall when the plants are left out to shed leaves. Even a short duration temp dip of a few degrees below zero might be enough to kill the breba fruit buds. This year I have three breba on one branch of one of the three trees and 3 or 4 on one branch of another tree. Not much for the efforts.
This year I am bringing DKs at the first sign of fall much before the temp go just close to freezing.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 10:40PM
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Ottawan I really appreciate your tenacity. Herman and Gorgi have had significant influence on my perspective of plants to kept and which ones to make a hard decision about. Herman's Marseilles Black is a must have plant for any collector in a cooler environment and I am a huge fan of: Improved Celeste O'Rorke Not, Sicilian Black, Malta Purple Black, Dark Portuguese, Wuhan, LSU Gold, VdB, Hunt, Atreano, Sals (both Corleone and Genes), and Golden Celeste. I have over three hundred plants still in trail but the short list are the stars for growers in the North East. By the way the Zuwalt was the first plant I came off the side lines to buy and I paid about 100 dollars for it. I gave it to my youngest son who will not let it go. It is a towering tree the gives at least 20 great breba every year.

Sorry for rambling but I hope you can benefit from some of the information.

Good Luck

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 8:59PM
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Here in the Pacific Northwest of the US, Desert King is definitely king of figs. I inherited a mature DK tree when I moved to my current home a few years ago. I am thankful to the former owner who blessed us with this wonderful tree!

In my area, the breba crop forms in the spring on what was new growth the last spring/summer. The breba fig buds form at the same time the new leaves emerge. These figs are ripe in August.

Main crop figs do form on the new spring/summer growth each year, but these do not mature before fall and they wither and slough off over the winter or during the next spring/summer. In my area, at least, it is the spring buds that ripen and become a tiny bit of heaven on earth. If I understand correctly, the main crop _would_ ripen if we had a Mediterranean-style growing season here.

In the picture below, taken just yesterday, I have indicated some main crop figs by yellow arrows; note these are on new greeen growth. There are two almost-ripe breba figs indicated by blue arrows and several ripening brebas, some of which are indicated by strawberry-colored arrows. Note that the brebas are growing on last year's (brown) branches.

We fortunately have mild winters in my area with few freezing days and rarely below 10 degrees F. Summers here are also mild, with this week bringing us only the second string of over 80 degree F weather this year. (This has been a below-average temp summer in my experience, though.)

I hope my experience is helpful to others who want to grow Desert Kings.



    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 2:02AM
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My guess is you realize that the DK/Zumwalt main crop will not ripen in the Pacific Northwest unless you are lucky enough to have two things: a male ficus pollinator and the fig wasp. By the way I used to live in Olympia back in the late 80's. I miss Washington state.


    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 3:15PM
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Thanks, Vinnie. I wasn't sure about the viability of the main crop on the Desert King without pollination, so it's good to know.

I was born not far from Olympia, actually. I hope you have a chance to visit Washington again sometime.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 4:13PM
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I live in Zone 5a and there is no chance of having fig pollinating wasps here. However, some year I get some main crop Desert King fruit ripen here. The quality is not as good as the breba but sweet enough. I consider it as a bonus whatever causes it to ripen.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 5:54PM
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ranger2692(7 Central NJ)

Since posting my origin I now have figs on zumwalt for 1st time I am waiting to see if they ripen this tree is about 25 ft away from my other standard red fig I.believe to be turkey figs?

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 7:39AM
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