Figs in Northern Virginia

charlieboringMarch 12, 2014

I did not get many figs this past year from my celeste and brown turkey plants which are growing in the ground in my backyard because the first frost arrived before they were ripe. So I wanted to plant some early producers and I traded cuttings with some friends. I received some fico nero, nero nobili and some Chicago Hardy cuttings for my celeste and brown turkey cuttings. I started my fig cuttings on 3/1/2014. Just took a look at my fig cuttings on 3/7/2014 and the fico nero buds had started to break out. Since the basement where the figs are located is about 63 degrees, I used a mini greenhouse (plastic bottle) to raise the temperature to an acceptable high and keep the humidity high around the cutting. The nero nobili has not yet started to break its buds out. I believe the nero nobili cutting that I initially planted did not have enough buds on it, so I put a new cutting in the same pot on 3/9/2014 to see if that one will do any better. The nero nobili cuttings may be too dry. I started all over with the chicago hardy cuttings. The dog got into the pot and chewed the one Chicago hardy cutting that I potted. I started three more chicago hardy cuttings on 3/9/2014. The mini-greenhouse keeps the humidity high around the cuttings; you can see droplets collecting on the bottle sides. Since the cuttings are under flourescent shop lights, the temperature is raised but not extremely so. I have not measured the temp but it looks like it is about 75 degress.

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I recently read on this forum about the fig pinching technique to induce an earlier production of figs in zones where an early freeze normally gets the figs before they have time to ripen. I understand that it is best used on younger trees since older ones will produce fruit without use of the technique. I am going to use it on my 2 year old celeste and brown turkey fig trees. As I understand the process, for new growth branches in zone 6/7 after six leaves have appeared you pinch off the end of the branch causing the plant to put more energy into fruit production on the limb vice limb extension and later, but more abundant fruits. In this way you get earlier, larger, but less figs. If you are in zone 5 you would apply the pinching after 4 or 5 leaves appear. I will let you know haw it works.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 1:29PM
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I have 30-year-old and 12-year-old Brown Turkey figs that look pretty bad after this past winter. Are anyone's in ground figs showing signs of life?

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 6:58PM
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madcosta(Zone6/7 NoVA)

My brown turkey fig tree, which has been in the ground uncovered for years, looks as if it's dead. This was a terrible winter...I am not giving up though.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 7:25PM
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My texas everbearing (rated for zone 8) appears to be budding from the ground up! I'm in the Richmond area.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 6:38PM
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Thank-you both for your replies. I forgot I'd posted here already and just queried again. My son reminded me that the new brown turkey was older than I thought and what about the nameless green? Probably a goner for sure!

I'll let you know what happens.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 11:12AM
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So it's June already and my two little fig trees (I'm honestly not sure what variety) are not showing any signs of life. I'm in Fairfax, and it's certainly been hot enough that they should have started budding. They're about 3ft tall and were grown from cuttings I took from my dad's tree two years ago. His trees had been going strong for years - even reaching the second story of his house! - up until now. Sadly, I think this crazy harsh winter killed both of ours :( Did yours ever come to life again??

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 3:19PM
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I'm down in Fredericksburg. I planted a brown turkey in a completely unprotected spot last mother's day. Died down to the roots this past winter, but started making a comeback. We first noticed new growth over a month ago.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 8:29AM
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I don't have a fig, but my neighbor has one (I think it is brown turkey) and it looked dead until about 2 weeks ago. Now there are shoot coming from the main trunk a small side sucker almost at ground level. The rest is definitely dead.

For reference his tree is on the NE side of the house, gets morning sun and is less than 3 feet from the house so has some protection.

I've seen a few others in the neighborhood that look about the same and completely dead.

We're in Arlington, VA.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 10:12PM
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My older Brown turkey is still sprouting off the larger trunks. In the last couple of days I've seen new growth about 5 feet off the ground.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 11:34AM
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I am in Fairfax. As an update, my celeste and my brown turkey fig trees were killed to the ground but sprouted new growth from the roots. I am going to use the pinch method to see if I can mature some fruit before the first frost. My texas everbearing that I had in pots and overwintered in an unheated shed were killed by the cold. Regarding my propogating efforts: All of my chicago fig cuttings died; my nero mission cuttings never sprouted (probably dead on arrival); I have transplanted two fico nero plants from their pots to the backyard and they are doing fine. I also planted on fico nero cutting directly into the soil and it seens to be growing.

This post was edited by CharlieBoring on Thu, Jun 19, 14 at 14:01

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 1:19PM
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