Figs, I want to grow some in nj

Does anyone have any advice? My uncle’s neighbor has a tree and he let’s us pick them. I would like to try it out but I am not sure where to start. The issue is his soil is very sandy and they seem to thrive. My soil is dirt.

When I lived in NNJ, my landlords had a stunning fig tree, which had been in their backyard (and moved multiple times) for 30+ years. I know other people who have purchased small fig trees in pots and done well with them outdoors in the summer months and then by moving them inside… I think you need to do some research to find out what will/won’t work here.

You could plant a small variety in a pot and move it to the garage for the winter. If you plant in the ground it may need to be protected for winter.

The NJ Cooperative Extension Office has this to say:

https://njaes.rutgers.edu/FS1198/

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So glad you mentioned protecting it for winter… The first year I lived in that house I looked out one day and they had basically chopped off most of the branches and wrapped the whole thing in burlap and then in a tarp with rope around it. They said it would bounce back in the spring, and wow, did it ever! Year after year…

FINALLY a topic I know something about!

I have a fig that my dad had started in a pot and gave to me several years ago that I planted. It had figs on it but I didn’t get it to produce for a couple more years. I tried various wrapping techniques in the winters and didn’t see any material impact. I didn’t wrap mine last year so fingers crossed I didn’t kill it. Here is what I did find that worked for me:

  • TONS OF WATER. I was watering every other day or every third day via soaker hose right to the roots.
  • Proper placement when planting. I planted mine where it is protected by the house and gets a lot of really good morning light.
  • Good pruning. This is important so the energy gets focused on the branches that have the best chance of producing fruit and not on tons of tiny branches out of the bottom. This is also your opportunity to get shaped into a tree or bush.
  • Patience and lots of it. I had a few years where I got nothing but leaves.

My dad has several figs that he keeps in enormous pots. He moves them into the barn for protection in the winter with a tractor.

I grew up with this guys daughter and my dad bought me one of his fig systems 2 years ago (it never really took off and died) but good information here: http://figs4fun.com/bills_figs.html

Good luck! Let me know if you have questions!

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This is what the landlord would tell me! And fwiw, their tree was huge–well over 15’. The last few years I lived there, the burlap/tarp-wrapped tree had the addition of an upside down (outdoor) garbage can on top, and damn if that tree wasn’t full of fruit every year (to the point where they had to put netting over it to discourage the birds and squirrels)!

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This is my 4th(?..maybe 5th?) season with my fig tree that I bought at Home Depot. While the tree itself is nice and healthy, get’s nice and bushy each summer, it has yet to yield any fruit. I also have 2 pear tree’s and a peach tree which are producing fruit.

I prune the hell out of mine in the fall, wrap it with Styrofoam around the branches that are left, then a cardboard box around that, then a burlap sack over the cardboard box and finally an all weather tarp over that. lol It works!!

I also have it placed in my front yard where it get’s all the morning / day sun. Hopefully this will be the year it give me some figs!!! (Maybe I should move my blessed Mary from the other side of the house to this side, next to my fig tree, I might need heavenly intervention)

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Are you watering it too? I got maybe 60 figs off mine the year I really watered it heavily. I have mine planted on a hill and my soil is sandy so drainage isn’t an issue for me.

I had wrapped mine for several winters but didn’t see any change in my fig producing. The watering seemed to be the key for me. I also had mice living in the base of my tree one year I had it wrapped. That could be an issue if they start chewing on the roots or tree itself.

I would absolutely move that blessed Mary too for extra insurance!

That’s crazy! My tree isn’t that big but wrapping was turning into a huge pain. I had a good system of chicken wire to make a cage around the branches then wrapped that with an old yoga matt and blankets. Filled the cage with straw or dry leaves then wrap the whole thing tightly with twine and cover with plastic and upside down bucket or can.

I may wrap it again this winter if I don’t get fruit this year.

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Do you have other things you are growing at your house? I have had tons of success with thornless raspberries. This variety is great. You get berries twice a year (if you net them to keep out all the birds and deer) and you can mow it right to the ground.

I also have a little garden that I tinker with regular things (tomatoes, eggplant, peppers etc).

I have 2 dwarf pears that produce fruit (not last year though). The year before had tons and the deer at all but one! Do you spray the peach? My in-laws have one but the fruit is really ugly.

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I water the sh*t out of it in the spring, then once it’s nice and full I leave it alone. I have seen remnants of squirrels seeking refuge in the the tree, not mice. All 3 of my fruit tree’s deliver fruit but the last 2 seasons my pears have “disappeared” , I think the deer have been getting to them. My security camera’s caught a dear standing on it’s hind legs to eat my hibiscus flowers and to roll a pumpkin off my drive way into the woods. I’m probably going to put a protective barrier around the pear tree’s once they start to flower.

We have an indoor hydroponic garden for the first time this winter. (it was a Christmas gift for my wife) she’s growing all kinds of crap in it, mostly lettuce’s and spices. Then we do a summer tomato garden as well, some peppers and such mixed in.

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99% sure this is how my husband would describe my garden too! :rofl:

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I don’t live in NJ, but own a fig tree in a big pot. I didn’t know that you need to do root pruning, thanks to your link. It’s a bit late now, as small figs and leaves are starting, but I need to repot it in a bigger pot.

Do you have good advice or sites for pruning of fig trees. My fig is in v shape. meaning main branches on grow left and right, no branch in the middle. I hope to “push” the plant will grow something in the middle.

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I would wait on re-potting. If you try it now, you may shock the plant and it will stop producing fruit.

As for pruning, I have read a lot online about it but usually end up trimming in a way that starts to focus energy on the largest and strongest limbs. I know what you are driving at but unfortunately, I don’t have advice on how to force the plant to grow in that area.

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Thanks for your advice, in this case, I will wait to do root pruning this winter. But repotting is a must though, the pot is too small, it has not enough soil and the plant is always thirsty.

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I don’t know about figs but some plants will put out a stem from an area which has been nicked. Might be worth a try.

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Do you grow in big pots, using the method of placing empty pots inside the big pot, as shown in the website?

From what I see, there used to be a branch coming out in the middle, but it was cut (before I bought the plant). And ever since, nothing comes out in the middle.

I had one in a pot (it died) and one in the ground that HOPEFULLY made it through the winter. No sign of life yet but it is usually a later starter.

If anyone does grow them, please let me know and I will buy some off you. My mom loves them. Her grandfather used to have a fig tree and she spent much of her childhood eating them right off the tree.

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold