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Figs in SW Kentucky?

Posted by pyrocaniac 7a (My Page) on
Fri, Jan 11, 13 at 11:08

I'm new in my area in SW Kentucky. I'm thinking about growing a couple of fig trees here, but before trying, I'd like a better idea of my odds of success.

If I plant them at all, it will be in the ground - I'm very busy and will surely fail to water them sufficiently in pots. I can winterize them under leaves in a make-shift cage for a year or two, but I'm hoping they'll eventually be hardy enough to make it through winter (if they die back every winter but still produce fruit the next summer/fall, I would be happy). I'm thinking about one Hardy Chicago and one LSU Gold on the south side of my house, which gets good sun. Here are my questions:

Are my expectations realistic, or am I deluding myself?

How close to my house (in feet) can I plant the figs without fearing for the integrity of my foundation/basement -- I've read that figs do well planted near a (warm) house, but I don't know what that means for the house?

I'm pretty sure Chicago is as good a choice as I'll find (yes? no?). I've read one report that LSU Gold is relatively hardy. Right or wrong? Better ideas for varieties? Is early bearing more important than hardiness here? If so, suggestions for other early bearing varieties? I know that Brown Turkey and Celeste are commonly recommended around here, but that their flavor is ho-hum compared to some others -- agree/disagree?

Suggestions for making it work? Or given that I'm hoping for something pretty low maintenance here (pruning and winterizing is okay), should I give up and be looking at berry bushes or some other alternative?


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Figs in SW Kentucky?

Today I was thinking about winterizing fig trees too. There's wrapping the tree, burying it, potting and rolling it indoors, christmas lights, greenhouses... but I was juggling around the idea growing a fig in espalier form against a sunny wall and then creating a roll-down cover for it in winter so that it is shielded from the wind outside and is warmed by the radiant heat of the house. But again, how close to the house would it be safe to plant so the roots don't damage the foundation...? hmmmm. I pulled the photo from a blog,

RE: Figs in SW Kentucky?

I don't think Fig roots can harm a house foundation If the foundation is concrete roots do not penetrate concrete. As a matter of fact when roots hit a concrete spot they turn back looking for a softer moister spot. I have Fig trees at may be a foot from my house foundation and never had any prblem.

RE: Figs in SW Kentucky?

I'm new at this but I had good success in SW Kentucky with Chicago Hardy and Celeste last year. Celeste is also hardy in this area but I wrapped both trees for this winter to be safe. Warning! Tree ripened fresh Celeste figs are very addictive! One fig is all it takes.

RE: Figs in SW Kentucky?

Celeste is a very good tasting fig and excellent in preserves. It is also very cold hardy. It is a small fig and some will drop their figs if they dry out (mulch). Hardy Chicago is also excellent and a larger fig. Marseilles Black VS also is cold hardy and good tasting. All will need winter protection the first few years at least. Fig roots are fairly fine and fairly shallow, they won't damage a foundation and figs benefit from being close to a house.

RE: Figs in SW Kentucky?

"If the foundation is concrete roots do not penetrate concrete..."

Concrete cracks and roots penetrate the cracks. Roots expand and contract with changes in soil moisture levels, and larger roots are often responsible for movement of even well-designed (substantial) concrete foundations. I've seen many foundation damaged by tree roots. I've seen foundations pushed out from under houses by tree roots. I have never personally seen fig roots responsible for foundation damage, but I've also never seen a very large fig tree planted very near a foundation, that I can think of.

Here in Knoxville, I have Brown Turkey, Celeste, Chicago Hardy, and UCR143-36, all doing well in a very exposed area with no winter protection.

RE: Figs in SW Kentucky?

While accumulating a list of closed/small/honey/rosin eye figs, I kept a list of cold hardy too (I apologize in not keeping a reference to whomever compiled the majority of this list originally):

Cold Hardy Figs
Brown Turkey (Texas Everbearing)
Blue Celeste (all Celeste really)
Hardy Chicago
Violet De Bordeaux (Negronne) medium eye, down to zone 5
Desert King
Italian Honey (Lattarula)
Peter's Honey
Osborne Prolific (Neverella)
Texas Blue Giant
Golden Celeste
Black Mission
[there are others but they require either hot summers or a summer greenhouse to sweeten]

Alma - late ripening, honey fig, ugly fig, super flavor [female Allison X male Hamma Caprifig]
Bayenfeige Violetta
Brogiotto Nero (Briogiotto Fiorentino)
Genovese Nero
LSU Purple
Mademoiselle de deux Saisons
Malta (Sugar Fig)
Northland (Nordland Bergfeige)
Paradiso Bianco
Portuguese East Mountain
Ronde de Bordeaux
Sal's (Corleone)
Skardu Dark
Stela (honey fig) (aka Stella)
Tena (Bifere)

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