I’ve never heard that before. I do know he rated different varieties for cold hardiness, the only way to judge that would be comparing die back.
Found a reference for Hanc Mathies using wilt pruf… But he was growing in Long Island, which has more mild temperatures due to the ocean. I met someone who never did a thing to their tree on LI and never had it die back until 2014 when the Polar Vortex came down for a visit.
Thanks for the summary Ross. I used wilt-pruf around ten years ago but recently I haven’t done it. I don’t know where I got the idea but someone over on Gardenweb was doing it. The plants didn’t die back but it was during a warmer stretch of winters if I recall. I also did the pinching once or twice and it didn’t do anything but the plants were young. Also the way I did it was to count leaves on a shoot and prune off some point like the 5th leaf, I think Herman over on GW advocated that approach.
Anyway I should get going on these things and see if it helps out.
Have some unsprayed branches for a control, please.
Thanks Brent, makes sense. Up goes the tent tomorrow.
My mistake it was indeed Hanc on Long Island.
You got it, Scott. According to my current count I’m putting 35 different fig varieties in ground come spring. That will put me at a total of ~45 that will get 0 protection each year other than Wilt Pruf & thermal mass. I’d have to be crazy if I didn’t think there was reasonable production from these trees. Oh wait…
Herman certainly knows his stuff. A lot of what I mentioned above is mimicking his yard. However, the # of leaves has nothing to do with it. It’s a great way of getting a complicated point across and most of the time succeeding, but pinching does not create fruit out of thin air, it has to already be there waiting dormant along the branch. Hell I’ve even pinched at 2 leaves and got fruit. I’ve also pinched at 10 and got nothing. You really gotta have good eyes and pay close attention to those buds.
@Ross Excellent info on pinching, thanks. Can you say more about “thinning shoots at bud break.”
You got it. The rule for potted figs is to limit the number of fruiting branches according to the number of gallons of soil you’re growing in. 1 fruiting branch per gallon of soil. Less is more and this is of course after you establish your permanent structure.
For in ground trees it’s all about feeling it out based on age, vigor and whether or not you’re starting over because of total dieback. Too many branches and they’ll be thinner & weaker around pinch time. I don’t fully understand it, but if that happens you’ll have less double nodes above the leaf stems. Maybe even none at all and you’ll be forced to delay pinching. This is also why many growers report earlier fruits on new growth that originates from the tips. That growth is usually stronger and more vigorous resulting in fruit that’s ~2 weeks earlier compared to a tree that was pruned or had its tips compromised by frost.
I would also suggest removing most of the lower growth points because those will have suppressed vigor and therefore fruit later or not at all. However, depending on the tree’s health, I’ve seen shoots from the base sprout up healthier and quicker and then fruit earlier in the season than some growth higher up that is heavily infected with FMV. Remove potential inward growth, crisscrossing branches and growth that will shade out others. That is especially important in humid climates to help prevent rust. Too much defoliation can lead to wood that isn’t fully hardened by that first hard freeze.
What are your top ten best tasting figs?
The ratings are on a scale of 1-10. A 6 is a decent breba and an 8 is a keeper. These were my tastiest in 2018:
Black Madeira (UCD) 10
Coll De Dama Blanc (Baud) 10
Azores Dark 9
Cavaliere (PB) 9
Coll De Dama Roja (MP) 9
Italian 258 9
Izmir “Not” 9
Noire de Barbentane 9
Smith (JF&E) 9
White Triana (JM) 9
I think my list of 9’s will double next year. There are a lot of varieties I need another year with. Problem with this list is that a lot of them won’t reliably ripen here. I need a GH in the beginning and at the end of the season for Black Madeira for example.
I am 3 short of your list. You got to hook me up with those three.
Ross- Does your White Triana have a closed eye? I’ve seen reports both open and closed. Michael at Edible Landscaping is trying it out.
You got it Tony. All of my cuts this year have been sold or traded away, but if you contact me in Nov, I’ll have anything you want.
I’m assuming you’ve got some season extension over there?
@hambone It’s pretty tight. That characteristic seems to vary slightly year to year. It IS one of my most rain/split resistant varieties. SWD seems to prefer others. It’s big downside is that it requires ~10 days of swelling before I’d consider it perfect, but the texture becomes very similar to CDDB. A thick and gooey jam. The flavor isn’t far off either. It’s like a mid season and super productive CDDB, which makes me think I should have something like 4 WT for every 1 CDDB.
I let the late producers wake up early in the Sunroom right about now. OK. We will trade in November. What are your thoughts on the Ben’s Golden Riverside. It looked so bold, super large, sweet, and good in Ben’s YouTube channel. I may cleft graft about 5 of B’s GR in a few years and call it good. Any fig that large, Mid season and beat out Black Madeira in taste is my kind of fig. I also want to compare it to Preto, BM, Craven’s Craving, Black Ischia UCD, CCD Blanc, BFF, MIB, GNAF, Socorro Black, CDDG, CDDN, CDD Rimada, CDD Roja, I-258, Ponte Tressa, and Moscatel Preto. Too many good tasting top tier figs to choose from.
Scott, do you think there’s any chance we’ve just had a cluster of really bad winters the last 5 or so years? I remember hearing several local people (near me) say that they had figs that hadn’t had major die-back in 25 years until about 5 years ago. I know prior to the last 5 or so years I had 5 years with no notable die-back on figs that had been in the ground at least a year or two. My plan is to go to more work – not sure how exactly – protecting one or two in-ground bushes for the winter and then hope to really cash in on the rest of my figs – I have about a dozen total in the ground now with plans to add a few more – following the historically more average or milder winters. It’s been a long time, but I can remember picking figs every other day and harvesting 4 quarts or more in one picking from a single bush. If I did it before, it’s seems reasonable to bet on it happening again doing nothing more than I did then.
Eric, that’s definitely the case here. For several years I assumed it was an anomaly but its been going on long enough that it seems like the new normal, thats why I am considering what steps to take.
On that topic, has anyone actually done an experiment with the Wilt-Pruf as in spraying some branches but not others? I have heard that idea talked about for years but its never been clear to me if it was actually working. Its a bit too cold now to spray but once it warms up a bit I might spray some.
2014 and 2015 were pretty brutal here in MD for winter cold. Lots of records set and old cool plants lost.
I think for my figs its been bad every year since then as well. Not the records but more wind and sudden cold snaps I expect. My pomegranates have been doing better than the figs for these most recent years, thats the opposite of the usual.
2016 has been the best out of the last 5 winters here, I did have one tree in a sheltered (and dry, like @Poorwolf mentioned) location next to a barn survive mostly intact. It was protected the previous year by bending and burying, so had less growth and more lignified branches too.