'LSU Improved' Celeste questions
Hi everyone --
I tried searching the forum to avoid asking questions already answered, but didn't see anything similar to this.
I purchased an "LSU Improved" Celeste earlier this year from Just Fruits & Exotics, and put it in the ground in April. It had leafed out well in the pot as I was waiting to put it in the ground, but a late frost in April caused most of the new leaves to shrivel, turn brown, and fall off. After putting it in the ground the tree has sulked all year long, putting out very little new growth, and just a few more leaves late summer/early fall. (VERY stinky -- I'm not looking forward to the cat pee smell when it grows larger!!)
That said, it has put out an impressive number of figs. I'm not sure I understand the difference between breba and regular crops, but I thought I understood that this variety would have ripe fruit sometime in the summer. Well, I've been sampling figs all year long as they ripen, and I can't describe any of them as being particularly "sweet". The "best" ones have been appearing over the past couple of weeks, and I've been allowing them to drop off the tree to the ground before eating them. Softer and slightly juicier, but not "sweet". They're also a bit smaller than I expected -- about an inch or 1-1/4" across. The fruit on the tree during the summer had eyes that opened early allowing ants to enter before completely ripe, although these later figs have maintained closed eyes even as the fruit shrivels. The neck area of the fruit is particularly bitter, so the bulbous part is the only portion worth eating.
The tree is about three feet tall with several branches (I plan to prune it so it grows taller with a single trunk), but only about a dozen leaves. Is this simply a matter of not enough "horsepower" in the tree itself to send "sweetness energy" to the fruit? Or are there "duds" when purchasing fig trees?
Should I have been removing figs like with my small citrus trees, so that fruit production doesn't slow green growth? Or do fig trees really care that much? Since the figs were green and there were so few leaves, I was even thinking that they might be photosynthesizing to a degree and helping provide some energy back to the plant before they began ripening. OK, silly logic, but there were so many that it didn't seem to matter if I cut them off or not -- more kept popping out.