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Growing Fig Trees

Fig trees are believed to be native to western Asia but they can also be found in abundance throughout Mediterranean countries where they can receive plenty of sun. The fig tree is also quite popular in Europe and in North America but they can be grown in virtually all parts of the world (although they do best where winters are mild). The fruit they produce comes in a variety of textures, colors, and tastes, all of which are delicious. Fresh figs are much tastier than the dried figs often sold in the market and the type of fig with which people are familiar. An added bonus with figs is that they are not only tasty, but are also quite healthful as they provide a great deal of fiber as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Fig trees are deciduous trees with wide, broad leafs and, in addition to producing a tasty fruit, make excellent shade trees when allowed to grow to their full capacity. When planting a fig tree, you must select a site that will give the tree full sunlight all day long. If sunlight is insufficient, the figs will not ripen properly. The site selected must have adequate space for the large root system that fig trees require.

Fruit trees, like any tree, require adequate water. Young fruit trees need to be watered frequently until they are fully established. Once well established, the tree need only be watered once every one or two weeks. Transplanted trees also require frequent watering until fully established in their new location. You will be able to tell if you are not watering your tree enough if the leaves start to turn yellow and fall. Under watered trees will also not produce fruit.

Fig trees do not require a great deal of pruning beyond the early years. The main rules to remember about pruning a fruit tree are to avoid heavy winter pruning and to prune the tree right after the main crop has been harvested.

Similar to pruning requirements, fig trees also do not require a great deal of fertilizing. Generally speaking, your fig tree needs to be fertilized if its branches grew less than a foot the previous year.

Keeping pests and disease at bay is a bit more problematic. Deer are not particularly attracted to figs, but gophers are. A simple, yet effective way of keeping gophers away is to plant the tree in an aviary wire basket. Birds are also problematic and can do a great deal of damage. They are particularly difficult to keep away. Harmful insects include nematodes, which attack the trees roots and stunt the tree, and dried fruit beetles. The beetles enter the ripening fruit through its eye and damage the try by introducing fungi and causing rot. They best way to protect your tree against these insects is by keeping your orchard clean and by planting your tree away from citrus fruits since the bugs tend to be attracted to and breed in fallen citrus fruits.

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