Figs in Oklahoma

barton(z6b OK)March 11, 2007

I am in the Tulsa area.

Advice?

I am thinking on the south side of my brick house. There is some wind protection there too. It is a slope and fairly sandy. Would it be too dry? How far out from the house? I know they can get big, but how big can I expect here?

Gayle

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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Gayle,

I hope you hear from someone in the Tulsa area who is growing figs as their advice would be more meaningful.

Down here in southern Oklahoma, it is not hard at all to grow figs, but they will suffer from dieback sometimes when the weather goes into the teens or lower. Figs that are fully dormant can withstand cold more than those that still have green leaves. I think fully dormant fig trees can withstand low temps down to about 10 degrees, especially if they are well-mulched. If your tree should die back to the ground from freeze damage, it would probably resprout from the roots.

On the south side of the house sounds ideal, and since sandy soil drains well, I should think it would be great. If it is very sandy, you might want to add some organic material to the soil to improve its ability to hold water. Also, figs are very sucseptible to nematode damage and nematodes are often found in sandy soil. So, if you know you have nematodes in your soil....I don't know if the figs would do well.

Plant the fig only a few feet from the house. It needs to be fairly close to the house to benefit from the warmth/shelter that the house can give it in the winter time.

I think that Celeste is the most cold hardy of the figs grown around here, although Brown Turkey (aka Texas Everbearing) seems to recover better from freeze damage.

There is a fig grown in the eastern/northeastern U.S. called Hardy Chicago or Chicago Hardy that is supposed to be cold hardy in zone 6. However, I don't know of anyone who has grown it in the southern US, so I don't know if it can take our heat.

Did you know that there is a Fig forum here at Gardenweb? You might check there for advice, too.

Good luck,

Dawn

    Bookmark   March 12, 2007 at 9:10PM
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barton(z6b OK)

Dawn, thank you so much for the excellent information! I will give it a try. I have some compost that I can work in.

Is there any truth to the old thing about marigolds repelling nematodes? I always have a ton of volunteers that I can move there later this summer.

Gayle

    Bookmark   March 12, 2007 at 9:45PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

I suppose there is some truth to it, but I don't know if it has ever been scientifically verified through controlled studies. I think nematodes are one of the worst problems faced by gardeners, because there is no real effective way to deal with them, especially if you garden organically.

I think there used to be a chemical fumigant (Vapam?) that could be used to kill the nematodes.....of course, it killed every other life form existing in the soil, and it is was banned about 10 years ago.

I once planted a very tall marigold called "Nematicidal" marigold. I think I got it from Seed Savers Exchange or Seeds of Change. (I don't even have nematodes in my soil, but wanted to try these and see how they grew.) They were monsters and got about 4 or 5 feet tall. I let them self-seed and then spent another couple of years trying to get rid of them all.

The attached link discusses some marigolds and how they work on nematodes.

Dawn

Here is a link that might be useful: Nematode control

    Bookmark   March 12, 2007 at 10:28PM
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sweetannie4u(midOK_z6b/7a)

I have a Brown Turkey Fig.
So far, I have been growing it in a 5-gallon bucket. It actualy made fruit last year - its first year from a cutting
I got last Spring. Unreal! I am probably going to plant it out on the south side of my brick home too, but as was said, it is very hot and very dry there in the summer. I will have to mulch, mulch, mulch and judiciously irrigate it all summer to get fruit to set, especially with our current drought. Although they need good drainage, if they get too dry, they drop all their fruit. No figs! So, keep that in mind, too.

A MARIGOLD that KILLS Nematodes:
There is a Marigold that absolutely and scientifically kills Nematodes, but it is on the invasive and noxious weed list now in many states. Not in Okie yet, as far as I know. You should not plant it under legume-type trees or where you plan to plant legumes, including peanuts and alfalfa, as it inhibits their growth and can even kill them. But it does a topnotch job of killing Nematodes and is said to kill certain types of slugs.

This marigold is called Tagetes minuta. It is "The Marigold" listed back in the old 1970s Organic Gardening magazines that was acclaimed to rid your soil of nematodes. Many people believe that all the garden (annual flower) marigolds have this same ability, but they mostly drive away nematodes. Only Tagetes minuta kills them! If you could smell it you could definitely tell the difference. One of it's common names is "Stinking John". It's vry potent smelling.

Tagettes minuta is also reported to kill out perennial weeds such as Ground Elder, Couch Grass, Convolvulus (bindweed), ground ivy and other weeds.

I have very sandy soil and certain areas are/were just ridden with Nematodes. The first two years of gardening on this farm had horrible results in some areas. I had never seen such twisted, deformed roots like that! I planted regular marigolds everywhere and they really did help, but did not eliminate. In the areas I have grown Tagetes minuta the Nematodes has been eliminated completely. I've been growing it for the past three years and can tell you that the Nematodes in that spot are gone and the perennial weeds went bye-bye too. I grew the nicest, biggest Beefsteak tomatoes there that I ever grew - super sweet and juicy, and no diseases or Nematodes.

It is not the flowers of this Marigold for which it is grown anyway, but for its herbicidal and insecticidal root secretions, as well as medicinal and culinary uses. The root secretions which are produced by the plants about three to four months after sowing. The flowers are hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. I have to vigilantly deadhead the heck out of them as they makes a kazillion tiny seeds that have fuzzy fibers that make them airborn. EVERY seed grows wherever it hits the ground! It drops seeds soon after blooming and through fall & winter, so I keep the tiny flowers cut off by taking the scissors to it once a week and then burn the trimmings. So far I have not had any difficulty keeping it contained in one area, but as I said, I am vigillant - keeping a shovel and scissors handy all summer. Seedlings are easily kept in check with a garden hoe.

Like all Tagetes (Marigolds), Tagetes minuta is native of Mexico.
~Annie

    Bookmark   March 13, 2007 at 7:37AM
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prbphys

I have had a "brown turkey" fig planted on the south side of my Tulsa home for the last 15 years. It usually gains in height for several seasons until we get 5 degree or less temps, then it dies almost back to the ground. The tallest it has ever been was about 15 feet. Once it greens up in the spring,I just cut off all the dead wood. It has even survived the -10 degrees we had back in the mid1990's. I have never fertilised it, it grows in a clay/loam soil about 3 feet away from the south side of the house. I usually get two crops of fruit a year, although the second crop ( late fall) is not very much.
Phil

    Bookmark   March 17, 2007 at 10:58PM
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barton(z6b OK)

That's great news Phil.. Dawn was also very encouraging. I bought the "Hardy outdoor fig" from Gurney's. I couldn't tell from the catalog what variety but it's supposed to be hardy to zone 6, 0 degrees. I have it on the south side, like you said. I was surprised.. I had bought it almost as an afterthought with my seed order because I had a coupon. I figured it would be a weak pitiful little sprout for $12.95, but it's a good 2 feet tall, leaf buds, and the trunk is maybe an inch thick, with a good root system.

If it dies I can't blame the nursery.

Here is a link that might be useful: Gurney's Hardy Outdoor Fig

    Bookmark   March 19, 2007 at 9:48PM
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