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Ingevald

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Reply with quote  #1 
I am impressed with the interest in the Japanese way of pruning figs.    I posted articles on this topic a few years ago and have seen some good postings about the topic, some of them very recent.    I thought that I would update you with my recent project.

I started training a couple of figs this way a few years ago, but lost both of them to voles.   (Most of my figs are grown in containers).    Two years ago I planted a fig in our community fruit tree orchard.    It froze to the ground due to our severe winter but came back very strongly this year.

It grew two long branches that I trained into the opposing lateral branches (see the photos) about a month and a half ago.   It has responded nicely.    After it goes dormant, I'll trim off any of the newly formed vertical branches, trim the end a bit and will cover it up for the winter.   Hopefully I'll get it covered well and that our weather won't be too extreme this winter.     If winter protection is successful, we may get some ripe figs before the end of the season next year.

Ingevald
_MG_4494 m.jpg  _MG_4493crp.jpg    

drphil69

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Reply with quote  #2 
Looks good!
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rcantor

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Reply with quote  #3 
Which variety did you plant?
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ascpete

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Reply with quote  #4 
Byron (Ingevald),
Thanks again for sharing the links of the Japanese pruning techniques.
Thanks for sharing the pictures and info on your espalier. I have the same question as Bob C, What Cultivar is it? : )
Good Luck. Hopefully my planned winter protection for the fig trees will be successful this year, It wasn't last year.

Since finding and reading your topic and links I've been trialing the Japanese fig pruning technique for the past 2 seasons in the Espalier, Tree and Bush form and I have nothing but praise for its use. It will produce more figs in a smaller canopy and planter and will also provide a smaller profile for winterization since most of the unproductive wood is removed at the end of the season.
Aaron4USA

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Reply with quote  #5 
Byron,
Thanks for the thread.
I am entertaining the idea of turning all my fig trees into espalier style. I always loved the idea of having low trimmed trees. Let them go horizontal then cut every other vertical away to get breba on old wood and main crop on young. 
GreenFin

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Reply with quote  #6 
Nice work, that's a great looking plant.  VdB?
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mgginva

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Reply with quote  #7 
Byron,
It looks good considering the short amount of time since the damage. I'm encouraged by the new found interest in this method. thx 4 info.

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Ingevald

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Reply with quote  #8 
Hello,
    Sorry for the delay.   Thanks for your comments and thanks Pete, for your experiments on this and for reporting them.  
     I had to find my records to make sure I remembered the variety correctly.    It is Conadria and was planted in June 2013 - a small plant in a one gallon container at the time.    Another local friend had good luck with one and I had an extra.  So, that is what got planted.   Originally I had planted an Atreano, but it wasn't strongly rooted at the time and did not make it.
    Anyway, I am looking forward to next year's results and hoping that voles don't find their way to this delicious morsel in the community fruit tree orchard.
Ingevald
KCMarie

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Reply with quote  #9 
Very interesting!  Especially since it's so close being in Lawrence!  Please do post the progress as next year unfolds.
Thank you!

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WillsC

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Reply with quote  #10 
Ingevald,

It looks great:)  It is tied down to stakes right?  Do you think that will be enough to hold it up as it gets larger?


Ingevald

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Reply with quote  #11 
Yes, right now it is just tied to some bamboo stakes with nylon cord - that was what was available.    I might move to something more permanent like rebar in the future.    Just a side note - I use rebar in my yard for garden hose guides along pathways.   For safety, I put a tennis ball on top in case someone trips.   I might do that or bend the top if I use it for the fig.    The sharp end just looks unsafe.
   It has been a while since I reviewed documents on the Japanese methods, but seem to remember that they would secure some sort of metal pipe (looks like conduit pipe) at a certain height and then tie the branches to that pipe.    For this small project, anything that secures it and does not strangle the lateral branches should work just fine.   I also think that the trunk will develop some strength over time but will still keep it secured since wind storms are inevitable around here and could tear things up.

Byron (aka Ingevald)
ascpete

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Reply with quote  #12 
Byron,
Thanks for the reply. I will also be trialing Conadria EL as a stepover espalier next season.

Last year I used 3/4" EMT (metal conduit tubing) wired to two 5' cast fence posts as the uprights. The fence posts can also be used as trellis supports for the verticals, if needed. It forms a 10' horizontal tiedown for the main cordons. My new trellis plan has the EMT conduits at 2" off the ground for easier winterization. Two fired clay bricks will be used as spacers under the EMT conduit.
JapaneseFigEspalier_BryantDark_2013.jpg JapaneseFigEspalier_BryantDark1_2013.jpg .

WillsC

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Reply with quote  #13 
I welded up a rebar runner for the stepovers to rest on.  The problem though is it was too long to move as one unit as it was 30' by 18' with a 90 degree bend so had to do the final assembly in place and my big welder could not be used as no way to power that far from the shop so had to buy a 110v cheap welder to do the final connections and tiny rods.  I bent the final 2' of the ends down and cemented them in.  If you go that route and need to connect two pieces of rebar the ends from leafsprings are the perfect size.  Took awhile to find something the right size for that job.

The stakes will work for now.  Eventually the weight and windload would I fear snap the horizontal at the trunk if not supported more firmly from side to side movement from the wind.
HarveyC

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Reply with quote  #14 
I hope my plans for T-posts and trellis wire for supports don't fall short.  They're adequate for very heavy grape crops so I believe they should be okay for my trellised figs.
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Rewton

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Reply with quote  #15 
Like Pete, I am considering using 3/4" EMT conduit with the horizontal piece about 6 feet long.  I am wondering how many vertical pieces of conduit anchored into the ground is needed.  Is one at each end enough, given that much of the weight will be supported by the single trunk situated in the middle of the horizontal span?  Or should it put in a couple more vertical supports in internal locations?  I'm also wondering whether anchoring in concrete is necessary in my instance since I will have a 6 feet high fence a couple feet to the west that will help break the wind.  I'm thinking that driving them directly into the soil 2 feet might be enough.

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Rob

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Reply with quote  #16 
Byron,

Thanks for posting this.  Looks like a good start.  What are you planning for winter protection?  Two ideas I had posted in a separate post were bales of straw or burying.

Any ideas for rodent protection?  I see there's a little bit of fencing around the base, I assume to protect against rodents.

Also possibly floating row covers/hoop houses in the spring to get things going faster. 

I figure I will worry about how to secure it later.  I would think that over time as the caliper of the horizontals increases it might not be necessary, but maybe that's naive.


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ascpete

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Reply with quote  #17 
Rob,
In one of the links that Ingevald provided... http://www.hawaiifruit.net/togofig/index.html , the espaliers are planted under hoop structures that could be covered with plastic.
[DSCN0007]  .

For rodent protection, proven remedies have been poison, traps or moth balls near the base of the trees. Good Luck.

For warmer zones the larger tree form espalier may be more appropriate... http://figs4funforum.websitetoolbox.com/post/show_single_post?pid=1273826329&postcount=151
[P1050372-S]
Charley

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Reply with quote  #18 
The high hoop structure is necessary as it is used to hang the support for the verticals.

In a smaller yard situation, a two foot high or so removeable hoop could be used for the winter protection, maybe just have the horizontals 6" above ground level.
I have space for only a short length of horizontals and , hence, only a modest number of verticals at a one foot spacing.
I plan to just use some of the six ft. tall green stakes from HD to support the verticals and keep them from breaking off in a breeze.
Not the plan for the most productive arrangement with larger space and good sunlight.  However in my situation it should allow me more varieties and good winter protection.

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ascpete

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Reply with quote  #19 
Charley,
Your planned staking is similar to that pictured on page 6 of the Prescriptive Espalier document, pdf japan-fig1.pdf     
JapanFig_Page6_640.png.
The translation was done with Google Translate... Good Luck.

Ingevald

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Reply with quote  #20 
Thanks for the sharing your thoughts and information.    This is inspiring me to think more about this project.     Having a better location (lots of sunshine and good airflow) at the community fruit tree orchard will definitely give me a chance to see how a fig plant can perform at its best when trained this way.    I am missing the micro-climate aspect though.   In this northern location (zone 5, although recently more like zone 6 except for last year), it would truly be most productive if it was planted on the south side of a wall.     Lacking my ideal greenhouse, this will be good enough for now.

   Rob asked a few questions above that I will try to answer.   For winter protection I have a basic plan.   After trimming off the vertical branches, I will likely pile mulch over the plant - will try to get a pile at least 6 inches or more above the laterals (this plan is evolving).   I'll put a tarp over the heap of mulch.   I'll use bricks to provide as good a seal to the ground as possible.

    Burying with soil is an option to consider.   Straw is also an option.   I am trying to be cautious due to the remote chance of attracting voles again.    I had used fiberglass in previous years to insulate my box covering one of the figs and did not have voles but when I filled the space with leaves, they apparently thrived in that medium.   I think that I read that mulch is a good option.   I am not sure about straw although a neighbor protects an older tree and uses straw for insulation. 
 
   You did notice the 1/2 inch hardware cloth correctly.    I made a cylinder of this wire mesh and buried it about 6 inches or so.    My only mistake with that is that I did not make the diameter large enough and will have to deal with it someday when the tree expands.    Live and learn...

   Another rodent protection idea might be for me to create a cavity inside with some baited traps.  I am not too keen on using poison, but that could be another option.    The thinking on this is also evolving.  

   The Japanese method seems to have been designed to accomplish the following:
1)  ease of harvest - keeps the fruit at an easy picking level
2)  pruning for production - in combination with other techniques we have discussed on the forums (pinching, etc), the design evolved in Japan to be very productive.   (see production possibilities below)
3)  efficient use of space - maximizing production within available space
4)  I heard or read somewhere that the low profile was favored because of resistance to typhoons - larger trees would sustain more damage or get ripped out.
5)  For northern growers - a low profile maks it easy to cover in the winter after removing the verticals.
6)  Have I missed anything??

   Production, from what I have learned, is very high using this efficient system in greenhouses or out in the open in warmer areas. (Remember that aside from meticulous pruning practices, they apply mulching, use chemicals to control bugs, carefully monitor temperature and very carefully monitor nutrient applications.)     Their primary fig, Masui Dauphine, is big, about 100 grams.   Production numbers are around 2.5 Kg of figs per square meter.    That is a lot of production!

  There are other ways to prune/shape the tree.   The photo that Pete posted is a good example of another espalier form that could work in a warmer climate.  One has to consider the options and and stick with a plan that is sensible and productive for your area.

   Thanks again for the discussion and will look forward to more postings and postings showing the results of our efforts.  

Byron (aka Ingevald)
Chivas

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Reply with quote  #21 
I tried it last year with clothes line wire and t posts, it worked very well, but they died due to bad winter protection on my part, I didn't repeat as I left the to grow up more and I planted more varieties as well in ground so it took up more space in the end.  RdB would be a great candidate for this in northern regions, it grows very vigorously.
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james

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Reply with quote  #22 
For all those using this method.

I was in plans on a horizontal espalier while in Texas.  I had a few issues which delayed it.  It doesn't seem like there is too much conversation about the main reason I wanted to try it... trialing new varieties by grafting them onto the vertical branches.  I estimated 8-10 varieties per 15' of horizontal length.  Once a variety is deemed desirable, it can be air-layered from the espalier.  For someone with limited space or not a lot of patience waiting to try a variety, this seems like a great way to go.  Any thoughts?

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ascpete

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Reply with quote  #23 
James,
My only concern with grafting is spreading FMV or creating plants that have a greater FMV cocktail in the rootstock or scion.
Ingevald

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Reply with quote  #24 
I agree with Pete's thoughts about introducing FMV (or some other agent of disease) to the rootstock.    This happened to me once on a few fig plants.  Years ago when I was not as successful rooting cuttings, I thought that I would graft them on another plant.   Two of my rootstocks soon displayed some vile FMV symptoms.   
   I'd say it would be a good experiment if you have enough material to experiment with.

Ingevald
aphahn

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Reply with quote  #25 
Byron and Pete, thanks for all you have posted on this topic.

Like Rob I'm planning on using a horizontal training method to help make winter protection easy. The attraction to a method like this for me is that in Colorado (along the front range anyway) while we do get very cold, it only lasts for a few hours. Because our winter weather is mostly mild, with a few cold snaps the ground never gets terribly cold. It seems like this would be a good way to use the heat stored in the ground to the benefit of the trees.
The one addition I'm considering is to plant the trees in a trench so that the cordons are below the frost line, not all that deep here. I would probably have the cordons six to twelve inches below the soil surface. This way the could be simply covered with wood chips or the trench covered with plywood and then mulch. The result would in ground trees that are stored in a root cellar for the winter, plus the benefit of a simple pit greenhouse if the spring.
Of course rodents would be a concern, but outside of that what do you think? Is it going to be easier than protecting trees grown at ground level, or too much extra work for little gain? I can see how it could work very well, but also ways it could go wrong. I'm interested to hear what others think.

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ascpete

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Reply with quote  #26 
Andy,
You're welcome.

IMO, your plan sounds good, I posted my current winterization plan in another topics, but will post it here also.

The attached diagram has been modified to include the winterization plan that I'll be using this year with my in ground bushes and step over espaliers. The  scaffold branches (cordons) will be spaced approximately 2" off the ground and will be covered with Pine Shavings. This past winter all branches that were below the pine shavings survived the cold. The scaffold branches of the fig bushes will be cut back to just below the top of the mounds. Both bushes and Espaliers will be planted deep, at ~ 3' below ground surface level. In the diagram the cordons are shown in a trench below the actual ground level, this is for additional ground heat in winter. To work properly the soil has to be relatively quick draining with out high ground water.
JapaneseStepoverEspalierWinterization..jpg  .

Chivas

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Reply with quote  #27 
How deep are you putting the pine shavings? 6 inches is my first thought.
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ascpete

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Reply with quote  #28 
Chivas,
Yes, 4 to 6 inches, but it may be as much as 12 inches, since its relatively inexpensive (and re-useable) and the cost in under $6.00 for 8 cu ft bag (compressed).
Rob

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Reply with quote  #29 
For those of you who have bent trunks down to form an espalier, does it have to be new growth, or can 2-3 year old growth be bent?  Do you do it gradually, over the course of several days?  I have one that is growing straight up and I already planted it in ground a couple months ago before I came up with this plan.  Now I am wishing it were growing low to the ground.  So I can either bend it or dig up and re-plant it. 

I think that almost anything can work for insulation when covering the horizontals.  It's all a tradeoff between labor, cost, and winter protection.  Obviously 3 feet of soil would protect almost anywhere, but be way too much labor.  And just a couple inches of mulch is near worthless anywhere.  So finding that sweet spot for your particular climate/microclimate is key.

Andy, if your cold spells really are that short lived, it seems to me your climate would be ideal for this type of setup.  Certainly it's going to take at least a handful of hours for the temperature of a few inches of soil or mulch to drop 10 or 15 degrees. 

Byron, I bet that a layer of a couple inches of straw, covered by a tarp, placed on top of the mound of soil or pine shavings or whatever, would provide even more insulation from radiative cooling.

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ascpete

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Reply with quote  #30 
Rob,
The espalier can be started with established branches, http://figs4funforum.websitetoolbox.com/post/show_single_post?pid=1277752017&postcount=10 , but starting the tree from a cutting will provide the easiest way to maintain the desired espalier form. Good Luck.

As a reference to materials that can be used for insulation... http://www.bae.uky.edu/publications/aees/aees-13.pdf
R-valueComparisons_AEES-13.png  .
From the table 3 feet (36 inches) of Sandy Clay (15% moisture)  is equivalent to 2.31 inches of fiber glass insulation (36 x 0.0641).

Rob

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Reply with quote  #31 
Pete,

Thanks for the links.  That's good info.

Regarding insulation, it seems like 1 or 2 inches of fiberglass laid on top of the mound would provide all the insulation from cold temperatures one could want, provided the cold is coming from above.  However, it seems to me the primary means of heat loss would be coming from the sides, i.e. from the ground all around. 

So the top insulation is to protect against short term fluctuations in temperature due to variances in day/night temperatures.  But you need to get low enough underground to access the non-frozen heat-sink in order to provide long term insulation.  In other words, you need to win the month-long tug of war in January/February between the relatively warm deep dirt temperatures and very cold temperatures of surface dirt.  Seems to me you actually want some thermal conductivity for that purpose, at least from the bottom. 



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ascpete

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Reply with quote  #32 
Rob,
Extending the insulation 1 - 2 feet past the cordons (Wing Insulation) is all that is needed in most locations to use the thermal mass of the soil for frost protection. The principle of Shallow Insulated foundations is explained in this document, http://www.cs.arizona.edu/people/jcropper/desguide.pdf
The cordon is treated like "the frost proofed area under an unheated slab"
Fig1.jpg  .
By placing 4" of waterproofed fiberglass insulation on the ground with a width of 3' to 4' (1-1/2' to 2' on either side of the cordon) you will essentially have created a mound of "Sandy Clay (15% moisture)" that's 5 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide.

pino

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Reply with quote  #33 
This is great stuff to plan winter protection!

Can leaf compost be used with or in lieu of wood chips to increase insulation value and to actually provide a source of heat as the compost decomposes?

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Pino, zone 6, Niagara
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ascpete

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Reply with quote  #34 
Pino,
All insulative material needs to be dry or it will cause rot, also heat and moisture from composting may damage the fig trees.
pino

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Reply with quote  #35 
Thanks Pete!

What about dry soil 3 mix type?  I am trying to get away from anything that will be attractive to mice and the like.

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Pino's Figs / Pino's Photos; 2017 Brebas / 2017 Main crop

ascpete

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Reply with quote  #36 
Pino,
I haven't tried "dry soil 3 mix type", but Ive used the Wood Shavings, Fiberglass and Extruded Foam (Pink and Blue board) with good results for protection. I plan on using wood shavings, but haven't formulated a plan as yet for rodent proofing.
pino

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Reply with quote  #37 
Thanks Pete Your plan sounds like it should work! 

Rodent control is a challenge.  I don't know of any one panacea.  Need to get them from all angles.  (preventive measures,  bait, traps, timing ..).  I hate to use bait since it tends to spread and pets and other wildlife can get into it.

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Wish List: Brogiotto Bianco, Fico Datto, Fiorone di Ruvo, Fracazzano Multicolore, Fiorone Oro, Popone, Rigato del Salento and other multi colour striped figs

Pino's Figs / Pino's Photos; 2017 Brebas / 2017 Main crop

Ingevald

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Reply with quote  #38 
Pete - thanks for the thoughts and link to the ground thermal insulation method.  Very interesting!    A few years ago I posted some information about the solar geothermal greenhouse design that I saw.   It was amazing and I still think about it, hoping to have one someday.    The insulation in the ground was absolutely essential for the success of that system and the document you posted really helps.

  So for the community garden, I may need to consider some insulation or put a pretty large heap of mulch on top and spread far?  

 I also appreciated the additional thoughts about rodent control.   It is essential.   Many of us have had rodent issues in our garages, storage sheds, etc.   I remember one posting that Bass made many years ago when rodents destroyed some of his stored plants.  That is a surprise none of us wants to encounter.   

Byron (Ingevald)
Rob

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Reply with quote  #39 
Pete,

That's great stuff, thanks.  Is there a quick answer to how to waterproof the insulation, so I don't have to read the 54 page document?  Is a tarp on top sufficient, or will water wick up from below? 


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pino

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Reply with quote  #40 

Has anyone considered training double trunks to provide a little more insurance against the unpredictable winter weather? 

There would be 2 main trunks and 4 horizontal branches similar to Pete's diagram. 

To maintain the desired separation for air and sun penetration shoots can be thinned as required or optionally once you know for sure that the branch has survived without winter damage (late June) you can then cut 2 of the 4 branches be left with the standard espalier but with 2 trunks rather than 1.

  


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Pino, zone 6, Niagara
Wish List: Brogiotto Bianco, Fico Datto, Fiorone di Ruvo, Fracazzano Multicolore, Fiorone Oro, Popone, Rigato del Salento and other multi colour striped figs

Pino's Figs / Pino's Photos; 2017 Brebas / 2017 Main crop

Rob

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Reply with quote  #41 
Pino,

Not a bad idea.  You could actually keep double horizontals, and alternate verticals as well.  That way if you lost one from each side, you'd still be OK and could maybe train a new vertical be a horizontal.  Although it's likely that any climate-related situation that would take out one of the horizontals would also take out the other. 

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ascpete

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Reply with quote  #42 
Byron,
You're welcome.
Thanks for posting the links in that topic about the Geothermal Greenhouse, I've actually implemented several of the projects in the attached links.
Leaves and shavings are actually cellulose, they are not as dense as cellulose insulation but they have worked for many people. The "pile" just has to be kept relatively dry to retain its insulative value.  For my fig bushes a circular cage of fence material filled with leaves or shavings and covered loosely with a tarp, 12 linear feet of fencing will almost form a 4' diameter circle and its all reuseable. Even Snow fencing could be used to form the desired "fenced area" and then filled in with mounded insulating material, it could then be covered loosely with a tarp. Again the only problem would be to provide some form of rodent protection and ensure drainage of water
BTW I had 12 stored trees last winter that had severe rodent damage, they were already killed by the cold, so I have to take some blame ; )


Rob,
The insulation, whatever is used has to be protected from the weather, usually its a tarp and or tar paper, but a simple box, cold frame, hoop house or any of the other posted methods will work.


Pino,
Your describe 4 cordon espalier is patented and was posted in a topic by Harvey C. , http://figs4funforum.websitetoolbox.com/post?id=6769908 It was developed in warmer zones due to the longer growing season, from the linked literature it seems to have been based on the Japanese espaliers.
pino

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Reply with quote  #43 
Pete,
Patented a 4 cordon espalier fig training system? ..LOL
When you think of it is just one of the many "best practices" in growing figs.  How can someone claim to own that?  Hopefully it doesn't apply north of the border.

Rob, you said "likely that any climate-related situation that would take out one of the horizontals would also take out the other."
It may be that 1 horizontal has more residual winter (or other) damage and can tolerate less.  In that case you luck out if you have the extra arm.                





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Pino, zone 6, Niagara
Wish List: Brogiotto Bianco, Fico Datto, Fiorone di Ruvo, Fracazzano Multicolore, Fiorone Oro, Popone, Rigato del Salento and other multi colour striped figs

Pino's Figs / Pino's Photos; 2017 Brebas / 2017 Main crop

ascpete

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Reply with quote  #44 
Pino,
In the linked discussion on the patent, I posted Ken Love's description of the fig espalier procedure that had been practiced in Japan for decades.
It bears mentioning here because it gives an over view of the procedure and does mention a 4 cordon espalier...
Quote:
http://www.hawaiifruit.net/Figs-Japan.htm ,
Tree Shaping and Care
Young trees are allowed to grow to about 2 meters in height before being slowly lowered over a period of ten days to reduce stress and breakage. They are fastened to supports about 40 cm above ground. The one vertical becomes a horizontal. In same cases two verticals will be encouraged and tied in opposite directions. Older trees can be found with 4 main horizontal arms in an X pattern. All the arms are tied to supports. Over a few years when the desired length is reached, 2.5 to 5 meters, the tips are routinely cut.

From these long horizontal limbs, new shoots for the years growth  and production sprout. These are cut to keep the new uprights 50 cm apart. In some locations 30cm or 40cm are common but new verticals at 50cm have shown to produce more consistent production and keep leaves from touching. The spread of virus is a serious concern. Each year the new vertical will produce 18 to 20 fruit before the season ends.

The verticals are cut each year leaving about  7cm or 8cm of old growth, or 2 or 3 nodes.  The following seasons new growth appears on the ends of the cut nodes. When new shoots appear, only the most outer one is left for the production. This is usually the strongest.  During the growing season, the verticals will reach a height of more than one meter and produce 18 to 20 figs. These verticals are always supported either by framework or by plastic strapping that hangs from an overhead frame.

Occasional side shoots are cut off. The average tree produces 220 figs in a 2 x 9 foot space.
pino

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Reply with quote  #45 
Thanks for the link Pete!  I like this training for figs.  I need to read it carefully.
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Pino, zone 6, Niagara
Wish List: Brogiotto Bianco, Fico Datto, Fiorone di Ruvo, Fracazzano Multicolore, Fiorone Oro, Popone, Rigato del Salento and other multi colour striped figs

Pino's Figs / Pino's Photos; 2017 Brebas / 2017 Main crop

Rob

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Reply with quote  #46 
One thing I don't fully understand is the pruning of the verticals.  I understand you want to space them every 1 foot or 2 feet, or whatever you choose.  Then you let them grow for the year.  Then you cut most of it off.  But in all of the Japanese photos they have these mostly horizontal branches sticking out from the main horizontals.  Is that because each year you need to leave a little bit of the current growth vertical so that the vertical has somewhere to sprout the next year?  Or some other reason?  Anybody know?  Does my question make sense?
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Rob
Maryland Zone 7
http://rbfigs.webs.com/




ascpete

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Reply with quote  #47 
Rob,
If you look at page # 14 and #15 of the PDF document linked in post #19 there are diagrams that show that the verticals which are spaced 8" apart (on alternate sides of the horizontal) are trained to be 4" to 6" off the main horizontal before they are trained vertical, this is to create 2 rows on alternating sides above the cordon with enough space for vegetative growth. On page #15 which is the 1st year for pruning the verticals, the vertical pruning detail is instructing to "prune back to an outward facing bud , while leaving 2 -3 buds off the horizontal cordon". And yes, the stubs are caused by the yearly pruning.
aphahn

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Reply with quote  #48 
Thanks Pete, somehow I missed/forgot you are growing the cordons below ground level for added protection. I can't wait to see how yours do, I will be starting my planting in the spring.

Rob, Your question makes perfect sense. I spent a good deal of time last winter trying to figure out what was being done from the photos in the links posted by Byron and Pete. I'm betting that like training grapes, you won't really understand it until you do it for a few years.
You have the gist of it as far as I understand it. If you look at the diagram pete posted, the spurs are trained vertically, while the Japanese photos seem to show the spurs being trained more horizontally. Each year the verticals (would they be called canes?) are grown from the spurs and then cut back to one or two nodes of the current seasons growth after going dormant. In this way the spurs get one or two nodes longer each year.
I assume that at some point the cordons or spurs may need to be renewed. I hope I get to the point where I have to figure that out. The post about the Kadota espalier eludes to this some what, but doesn't really give specifics if I remember correctly. One would hope that it would be easy to do with figs.

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Andy - Zone 6a Lat 39.9º N, Alt 5390' Westminster CO ⚘ Scion List
smithmal

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Reply with quote  #49 
Anyone have any idea the trunk caliper size of a fully mature fig tree?  It would make sense to ensure you have enough height of your horizontals to accomadate a full mature size horizontal trunk(s).

I'm reading people considering training their horizontals at 6" for the height of the surrounding soil.  Is this high enough when dealing with a fully mature trunk size?

Also, regarding the waterproof insulation idea, was their a product in mind that would be optimal for this?  I found a product called Insul-tarp which seems like it might do the trick...

smithmal

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Malcolm - MD - Zone 6B

Varieties growing (Received 2014): Beale, Col de Dame Blanc, Danny's Delight, Desert King, JH Adriatic, Lemon, Longue d'Aout, Marseilles Black VS, Olympian, Ronde de Bordeaux, Strawberry Verte, Vista, UCR-184-15s, Violette de Bordeaux, White King

ascpete

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Reply with quote  #50 
Malcolm,
In NYC I haven't see any fig tree with a trunk caliper greater than 8". In cold zones the main trunk should not get large enough to be a major concern. If you follow the prescribe espalier dimensions, the main cordon is @ 16" from the ground with enough clearance between verticals 8", 12" and 16" for future growth. As mentioned by Aphahn in the previous post " you won't really understand it until you do". I now realize that the prescribed dimensions are given for specific reasons... http://figs4funforum.websitetoolbox.com/post/show_single_post?pid=1281309326&postcount=37 


BTW, in my case I will be looking to test "Earth Coupling" the main trunk (with coarse sand) for added winter protection. That's one reason to keep the main horizontal as low as possible. If the caliper of the horizontal becomes too large, removing the soil below the cordon would be an option.
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