The Common Fig (Ficus carica), depending on the variety, can produce three crops a year.
|Black Genoa Breba fig growing near the pruning point|
As the Breba crop mature (usually in December/January/February - depending on the spring/summer weather and fig variety) you can see the Summer crop appearing. In Tasmania these will ripen, depending on variety and the season, from January or February.
|Breba fig on the left, two Summer figs on the right|
|Tray with this season's Breba Black Genoa figs|
|Tray with this season's Breba Brown Turkey figs - they were not good eating|
I suggested to remove extra figs or very small figs from branches in the hope that the trees will put more energy towards ripening of the larger figs.
I also suggested to remove some leaves and smaller branches to ensure sunlight and air can circulate throughout the interior of the tree.
That advice was based on observing an old Italian lady and how she managed her trees, but since then I have changed my mind on both these issues and I like to share this knowledge.
What I found, after removing lots of very small figs was that they, especially those on the tips of the new growth branches, simply regrew!
A stone fruit tree grows fruit from a blossom and once that fruit is removed it does not regrow, but a fig tree does not fruit in the same way.
I have no idea why a fig tree can replace a removed fig. It is something I need to research. I would love to hear from any readers who would like to comment. Will some of the Autumn figs grow in the same place where the Summer figs grew? I expect so but I will monitor several branches and photograph the results.
I have come to the conclusion that, with extreme weather events on the increase, it may be wise to leave the tree to its own defenses because the leaves protect the fruit from the sun and wind that can burn the skin of the fruit.
Last year (summer of 2015/2016 and autumn 2016) gave me the biggest quantity of ripe figs I have had in over 10 years of growing figs. Usually at the end of the season in June I remove hundreds of small figs that didn’t ripen, but there were only a couple of buckets of unripe figs. Phenomenal! Not because of anything special I did, but because of the milder spring and warm summer.
|Some ripe Black Genoa figs|
The Common Fig is drought tolerant. Fig trees do not like wet feet. In fact continuous wet feet can kill a fig tree. Fig trees need to have good drainage. If you want juicy and not mealy fruit, water regularly, but allow soil to dry out between watering.
Excess of nitrogen will cause excess limb growth and leaf growth. This can become stressful for to the tree and it will not form fruit or allow fruit to ripen (this can happen when a fig tree finds a sewage line or is planted in a position where it is continuously fed by a fertilized outflow).
Planting a fig tree where it is exposed to high winds or doesn’t have all day sun is a recipe for no ripe figs. Under these conditions the tree may grow and produce some figs, but usually they don’t ripen here in cool temperate Tasmania.
Hope your figs ripen this season,
For more info about fig trees click here: Getting the Best out of your Fig Tree - Part 1