London (change)
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7 messages
26/08/2012 at 11:10

I usually have a modest but pleasing crop of figs ... brown and white... from my two containered trees but this year is especially disappointing. Just when the fruit should begin to swell and ripen, nearly all have dropped off over the space of three days or so. Some I expect from non-pollination during the season but why such a sudden disaster? I understand that temperature drops can cause this (it did go cooler earlier this week) but my father-in-law's tree no more than a few hundred yards down the road has been unaffected. The trees are in a sheltered position and are reasonably well watered and fed.Anyone else suffering?

26/08/2012 at 13:42

Sorry, I've got a fine crop. You've nailed a couple of good possibilities with non-pollination and temperature fluctuations. Lack of water in warm weather or irregular watering are usually the other culprits. How does your watering compare with your FIL's?

26/08/2012 at 20:39

His is planted out, large and, annoyingly, he does nothing with it but prune back every few years. The hard winter before last nearly did for it, but it sprang back to life by May/June although didn't fruit of course. The puzzling thing about mine is that, seemingly, nothing out of the ordinary has happened to them which means I have no lessons to learn for next time. Just when you think you're in some control, nature has its way of biting you back in the nethers!

27/08/2012 at 07:12

That's one of the reasons that gardening is so good for us and we're such well-balanced people - nature stops us getting over-inflated egos! 

I'm planning to plant a fig in a pot on the terrace next spring, so will want to pick your brains, and those of anyone else with any experience 

27/08/2012 at 09:31

Figs in containers are usually fairly easy given some basics.

(1) Keep the roots well contained. Mine, now five years old, grown from a cutting, spent its first couple of years in a 25cm pot. It's now had three years in a 40cm pot and produces happily every year. I might step it up one size next year.

(2) It needs a very sunny spot in summer with protection from strong winds if they're around. Water daily if need be in hot weather. With our temps constantly in the high-30sC this summer I've been watering twice daily.

(3) If you get cold winters, it needs protection. I wrap the container in a couple of layers or bubble wrap, the tree itself in a couple of layers of heavy-duty fleece, and park it against a protected wall under the pergola on the terrace. Otherwise, indoors with plenty of light - and protection if need be - will do the job. The key is to monitor the moisture levels over winter. Mine gets at least a couple of good drinks of lukewarm water over the winter period.

(4) They're not big feeders even in containers. I give mine a dose of balanced fertiliser in spring and that's it.

(5) Once they're established in their final container home, give them a root prune every couple of years in spring. The pruning sounds brutal but it's (a) necessary and (b) the tree thrives afterwards. Remove the tree from its container - which can be hard work in itself - and use a sharp handsaw to cut wedges from the root ball as you would slices from a pie. It can be hard work, too, because the root ball is pretty solid. I usually take out about three good wedges. Return the tree to the container, filling in the newly-created space with whatever medium you're using. Pack the medium down well to get rid of any air pockets and water.

Easy-peasy!

27/08/2012 at 10:08

Mine enjoys a feed of seaweed solution from time to time. It is a container grown plant

29/08/2012 at 00:52

On a point of information, figs in the UK are not pollinated, that is why they do not have seeds,  A great advantage in my opinion.

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