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Subject: First Georgiafig White Hybrid Unknown Replies: 10
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,083
Shah8, I have no idea what it may or may not be. Early on, the leaves and growth habit seemed indistinguishable from the Conadria growing next to it; I floated that idea past Georgiafig and he assured me it was different. He was certainly correct. There are so many varieties of figs out there that I don't think I'll even try to match it to something else. "Unknown" works for me.

Pete, here are some current shots, now that the tree has matured a little more:

Subject: Today's harvest Replies: 10
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 571
I like the Excel but don't think it's as good as my Black Mission, Black Mission NL, or Violette de Bordeaux. The unknown is quite good and the largest variety to ripen so far this year, although LSU Gold may rival it later in the season. The unknown took a few years to start bearing but looks like it will be prolific. The skins are very soft and easily damaged; even the newspaper wrap seems to bruise them.

Subject: Today's harvest Replies: 10
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 571
Bob, I have a big cage that keeps out most of the big birds, but I still have to wrap each fig in newspaper to foil the little birds.

I'm not wild about the Tena, although they're better this year than last. They're prone to sunburn and splitting, but they're quite productive.

Subject: Today's harvest Replies: 10
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 571
Now that several of my trees have had a few years to grow, the fruit of some varieties is getting larger. Left to right in pan are Tena, Black Mission, Georgiafig's White Hybrid Unknown, LSU Purple (4 small dark), Excel, and LSU Improved Celeste (small brown in lower right corner). In plastic box are Conadria and a single Kadota. For scale, the tablecloth grid is 3" x 3".

Attached Images
jpeg figs_2013-07-11_rdc.jpg (72.76 KB, 123 views)

Subject: Ripe Black Madeira Pics Replies: 13
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 869
Very nice, Joe. Mine grew a fair bit last year (maybe 3 feet or so) but this year it's only grown a few inches, and all the leaves shoe heavy FMV symptoms. It has quite a few figs, but there's no sign that they're starting to ripen yet.

Subject: simple step-by-step grafting Replies: 26
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 3,037

I continue to have good success with the modified bark graft, and have not noticed a problem with die-back of the rootstock wood at the union. Axier—are you completely wrapping the entire union (including the end of the cut stub) and scion with Parafilm so it doesn’t dry out?


Timing appears to be the critical factor for me—three of four grafts that I tried after the recipient tree had already leafed-out didn’t do much throughout the season, and then died over the winter. However, the ones I grafted just after the rootstock tree broke dormancy grew very well, and quickly produced strong unions. They also produced fruit the same season. I don’t see any advantage to grafting figs other than as a means of producing material to air-layer, but it seems to work well for that.


I’ve had 100% success using this method for persimmons, and it also worked on two out of four avocados I tried in the middle of winter, when a band of bark at the base of a small branch died and I wanted to experiment and see if I could salvage the growing tips. The scions were very thin—from toothpick diameter to about 1/8 inch, and the survivors are currently doing great on grocery store seedling rootstock.

Subject: The Visitor Replies: 26
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,180
Gorgeous little corn snake--one of the prettiest snake species in the US, and very popular as pets. I wish they lived in Tucson. When I was a kid and kept a variety of pet snakes, I always wanted a corn but never had one. This one is lucky to have wandered into a friendly yard.

Subject: milk jug air layer Replies: 23
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,890
Wow--three gallons? That will be one big air layer!

Subject: Mullberries Replies: 12
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 987
Dave, on Thanksgiving a forum member gave me a rooted cutting of a dwarf, weeping mulberry, so if I can manage to keep from killing it I'll let you know how it likes the climate in Tucson.

Subject: Intro Replies: 16
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 838
Welcome--enjoyed the intro. Best of luck to you.

Subject: Is it Marseilles Black VS? Plus others. Replies: 12
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,357
It looks a lot like mine, Jason, so I wouldn't sweat it. I have a small tree from vickitucson, which she told me originally came from Encanto. I didn't take a shot of the insides, but it looked like yours as well. The thing that continually impresses me about figs is how variable they are.

Attached Images
jpeg Marseilles_VS.jpg (36.97 KB, 22 views)

Subject: Winding down, but still coming Replies: 2
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 347
It's as close as I get to dancing--two left feet and a greenish thumb.

Subject: Winding down, but still coming Replies: 2
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 347
Just picked these a few minutes ago, but I expect that's about it for the year since I've turned off the irrigation. I don't want to be caught with green leaves in a surprise freeze.

Attached Images
jpeg Figs_13_Nov_2012.jpg (80.05 KB, 31 views)

Subject: Look what I found! Replies: 13
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 763
Nice find--congrats!

Subject: Fig Tree - living bridges Replies: 9
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 889
Very cool.

Subject: What is the Organic Solution to Gophers? Replies: 43
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,323
A neighbor across the wash from my house said great horned owls tore through a shade cloth roof on her chicken enclosure to get two of her chickens. She did not actually see them, but found what was left of one chicken up in a tree, and assumed owls were the culprits because they live in the neighborhood. We also have bobcats, which seem just as likely to be responsible--but owls can certainly do the job. You might be okay if you can train the chickens to go into a protected area at night, but I would still expect to lose some chickens to predators, if they are free-ranging.

Subject: What is the Organic Solution to Gophers? Replies: 43
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,323
The Rodenator is funny, but it's definitely no joke-- If you can find a burrow, you can kill the occupant instantly and humanely without having to wait for it to stick its head up and be shot, or enter a trap. It also destroys the burrow system so another gopher or whatever can't  just move in and take over. Trouble is, it's not cheap!

Subject: First Georgiafig White Hybrid Unknown Replies: 10
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,083
Pete, here's a post about it. Scroll down till you see GeorgiaFig's post:

In addition, here's an email he sent me:

"Hi Ken.  That fig doesn't have any impressive history or even a name that I know of, but it's a really good fig nonetheless.  It's a strong, healthy grower, and produces good crops of large white (kind of yellow/green actually) with an amber interior.  Very sweet, good flavor, and good for fresh eating, preserves or drying.  I get more of these than any other fig I have.  Vasile (Herman) said it was a modern hybrid selected for the production of fig paste.  I bought it at a nursery here labeled as a "Celeste" about 10 years ago.  It is definitely NOT a Celeste.  I got lucky that time as it is much, much better, so I am very happy to share my good luck with you and others.  It is very healthy (no FMV), quick growing, and pretty enough to grow in the front yard (see my posts on "Yellow Unknown" for pictures).  It has a few very large brebas, but the main crop is quite large and early (by the middle of July here in North Georgia which is pretty early here).  Hope it will do as well for you as it has for us.  I'm pretty sure the already rooted sucker from around the base will take right off.  If the cuttings start you can share them with others, and if for whatever reason none of them grow; not a problem, I am happy to send more in the Spring."

Subject: First Georgiafig White Hybrid Unknown Replies: 10
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,083
I received this tree as a rooted sucker last year and it's grown very enthusiastically without fruiting, until just recently. I picked the first ripe fig this morning and can see why "georgiafig" is so enthusiastic about this variety--sweet, juicy, soft skin, good size, and delicious. It also seems completely unfazed by the desert climate. Next year I will try pruning it way back to see if I can encourage more fruiting rather than vegetative growth.

Attached Images
jpeg GFWHU_side.jpg (69.30 KB, 53 views)
jpeg GFWHU_eye.jpg (65.72 KB, 64 views)
jpeg GFWHU_cut.jpg (74.45 KB, 81 views)
jpeg GFWHU_on_tree.jpg (72.13 KB, 64 views)

Subject: Off topic--Looking for Lula avocado seeds Replies: 0
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 420
Does anybody know of a source for Lula avocado seeds? I would like to get 5-10 seeds to grow as rootstocks. There's supposedly a place called Ciomperlik Farms in San Juan, Texas that sells them, but the phone is never answered.

Fig-wise, I'm still getting Violette de Bordeaux, LSU Purple, Tena and a smattering of others. However, it's supposed to dip below 40 degrees for the next couple of nights, so it won't be long before the season's over.

I'm also looking forward to my first ripe "Georgiafig White Hybrid Unknown", which is almost ready. The tree has grown vigorously all year but hasn't produced but a handful of figs until recently. The almost-ripe one is very large (for my yard, anyway); I'll post photos once I see how it tastes--probably tomorrow.

Subject: What is the Organic Solution to Gophers? Replies: 43
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,323
Here's what you need for whatever the predators don't get:

Quick, easy, no toxins left for other critters to ingest, and acceptable for organic growing. Boom.

Subject: best bird deterrent Replies: 32
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,849
He might also cause your figs to turn sour. Sounds like too big a risk.

Subject: EXTREME Propagation fIGS Replies: 51
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 2,979
Very nice! I assume you did not remove any bark when starting your air layers?

Subject: Cuttings Replies: 43
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 2,073
Great looking cuttings, Joe--I'd say you've got it down.

Subject: First LSU Gold Replies: 8
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,148
The LSU Gold finally got totally ripe, so I split it three ways with my wife & son. Absolutely scrumptious! As I've mentioned in other posts, most of the ripe figs from my yard seem kind of small and dried out compared t other people's descriptions, but not this one. Maybe it was due to the ant protection, but this is the first time I've seen syrup actually dripping from the eye, as I've often heard described by other forum members.

Danny K, you're right about the size--even in its first year, this was considerably larger than all my other  2012 figs. I'll be interested to see if they're even bigger next year. It was also right up there with the best of them in flavor--not as complex as some, but the thin skin and juiciness more than made up for it.

I also sampled my first full-sized Marseilles VS today--very good--along with a few other varieties. VdB is still among the best in terms of flavor, but compared to LSU Gold the skin is like sandpaper. Here's a shot of today's figs, along with some ripe persimmons. (Left to right, in front of the four Hachiya Persimmons: LSU Gold, 2 VdBs, Marseilles VS, Black Madeira, 3 Tena, LSU Improved Celeste.) Teh first Hardy Chicago ripened a few days ago, and was delicious; the first LSU Scott's Black is nearly ready to pick. I'm still getting LSU Purple and a few others.

Alan, I'm glad the masking tape tip helped. It wasn't my idea--I read it in somebody else's post on this forum, and found it to work really well. Thanks, whoever first posted it!

Attached Images
jpeg hp,lsug,vdb,mvs,bm,tena,lsuic.jpg (84.22 KB, 37 views)

Subject: First LSU Gold Replies: 8
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,148

This tree has continued to grow like crazy (over 9' tall from a small 1 gal planted this spring) and has put out several more figs. So, I got out the Tanglefoot to keep the ants from ruining them. Works like a charm! The ants seem to avoid it completely, but gnats and other little winged bugs get trapped.

Although this topic has been covered before, I'll add my thoughts and photos to the mix. I had a young pear tree die shortly after applying a band of Tanglefoot directly to the trunk (after it died, it snapped right where had I applied it), so I don't let it touch my trees any more. (It says right on the label not to apply it to young or thin-barked trees, but I missed that the first time. Of course, it also says not to apply it to fruiting trees, but since that's the whole point, I do it anyway.)

First, I wrap the trunk or branch with masking tape, sticky side out. Then I use an old artist brush to paint a thin band of goo on the tape. Super simple, and no mess!

Attached Images
jpeg LSU_Gold,_ant-free.jpg (79.75 KB, 39 views)
jpeg Tanglefoot_label.jpg (77.75 KB, 35 views)
jpeg Tanglefoot_(open).jpg (67.97 KB, 40 views)
jpeg Tanglefoot_on_LSU_Gold.jpg (224.22 KB, 58 views)

Subject: Off topic - Persimmon time - Fuyu ! Replies: 18
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,485
That's a great little tree, Dennis!

My Fuyus are bird-pecked and sunburned, but they still taste good. My favorite persimmon so far is Hachiya. I didn't get them covered with netting this year, so I had to armor them with berry boxes. I prefer them fresh, but also like to dry them when they're squishy soft--peeled and sliced. I tried drying sliced (& unpeeled) Fuyus but they weren't as good. The peel got tough, they turned kind of gray and the taste was pretty bland. The dried Hachiyas, on the other hand, stayed a bright, translucent orange and were delicious!

Attached Images
jpeg Fuyu.jpg (142.31 KB, 53 views)
jpeg Hachiyas_in_armor.jpg (183.97 KB, 53 views)

Subject: Off topic shopping story Replies: 24
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,366
I don't often laugh out loud at something I read, but you got me!

Subject: homemade rodent repellant Replies: 17
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,344
You might consider trying Ropel:

Subject: Young fig plants mowed down - seeking culprit Replies: 25
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,332
We had a packrat go through our recently-planted tomatoes, biting off several stems at about 4 inches high and just leaving the chopped-off piece on the ground. They also began nipping off several inches of the growing tips of our citrus twigs, which I suppose they ate, but don't know. This went on for a couple of years (it took me a while to figure out what was doing the damage), as the trees actually got smaller. Then, it was Havahart to the rescue. I keep a felt-tip tally on top of the trap, and a few days ago sent #109 to rat heaven. I haven't seen any rat damage now for at least a year and a half.

Subject: Ant swarm Replies: 25
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,430
You might double-check at Home Depot; I've purchased it this year at HD in Tucson.

Subject: milk jug air layer Replies: 23
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,890
Gene, glad you made it home safe and that your air layer survived as well. It was fun to meet you and Linda. I was getting some wilting this afternoon, so mine may follow suit and drop all its leaves before rebounding. Time will tell--but the root system looks healthy enough that I have no concerns about it dying.

Slingha, I'm not sure what to say--we get strong winds but they haven't been a problem My best guess would be that, since I throw whatever I can find into the jug (these were pretty much all compost with a little bit of used potting soil mixed in), maybe it was dense enough that it kept the branch from moving and tearing the roots. That's only a guess though--I really don't know.

You could try putting a tall, stout stake into the ground next to the branch with the air layer pot, taping the pot securely to the stake, and then also tying the branch (above the pot) to the stake as well, in two or three locations so the stake would act like a splint and keep the branch from moving inside the pot.

I did something similar on another, smaller air layer I cut loose today--it was on a grafted branch that I had planned from the very start to remove from the recipient tree. To keep the weight of the rooting medium from breaking the graft union, I taped the air layer pot to a stake, but didn't need to do anything to secure the part above the pot. I took pictures of the process from making the graft to removal of the air layer, so one of these days I'll do a post about it.

Subject: milk jug air layer Replies: 23
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,890
Figfinatic, it usually takes about five weeks, but it varies and I don't know why. The two side-by-side Black Missions were started on the same day around mid-August; one is packed with roots and the other has almost none (neither has been cut loose yet, but the one with all the roots is more than 5 feet tall from the top of the jug, and needs to be removed soon). The LSU Purple was started at the same time (a week after I cut yours loose) and it literally had roots coming out of the soil and into the damp tee-shirt I used to shade the jug. I think big, vigorous branches tend to root fastest, but not always. 

With all that foliage, it will have a hard time sucking up enough water to keep from wilting. If it loses some leaves, that's fine--I may even snip a few if it looks necessary. For a week or two after I first cut them loose, I stand the jug in a pan of water, about two inches deep, so there's a constant supply of moisture to the roots.

figsrus, I don't know whether pruning in the fall is okay. It probably depends on your climate, how much you prune, and the health of the tree.

Subject: milk jug air layer Replies: 23
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,890
For large air layers, milk jugs work nicely. They're free, easy to cut, transparent enough to check development, and they provide a decent sized root ball. I prefer the open-topped approach with periodic watering rather than trying to seal it water-tight, but either approach works fine. If the jug is shaded it doesn't need any additional covering, but if it's in the sun I throw a rag over it.

Attached Images
jpeg Blk_Mission_air_layers_25_Sep_2012.jpg (118.13 KB, 343 views)
jpeg LSUP_air_layer_12-9-25.jpg (105.41 KB, 347 views)
jpeg LSUP_air_layer_(full)_12-9-25.jpg (133.18 KB, 305 views)

Subject: Fig Taste? Replies: 26
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 2,343
My trees are still pretty young and none of the fruit has bowled me over to the point that I'm falling to my knees in ecstasy, but there have been some clear taste differences. On the other hand, it's so dry here most of the time that my figs are usually kind of shriveled and sunburned, with tough skins. I'm hoping that as the trees mature, the figs will get larger and juicier. So for me, taste matters but size is really important also. The bigger the fig, the better the ratio between juicy flesh and dry skin. I noticed a big improvement in size, texture and flavor during our humid summer rainy season--when it wasn't so wet the figs were splitting.

As good as some of my new varieties are, I don't know that I would trade any them for my deceased Brown Turkey, if it could have stayed just as it was back in the days before beetles started ruining the fruit. I think the combination of high heat and large fruit size brought out optimum flavor and texture--whereas the same tree in a cooler, moister climate would probably yield the watery, tasteless fruit that sounds typical for a BT in most areas. So I'm with Joe and others--try growing a bunch of different varieties and keep what works best in your own yard. What tastes great in one place may not be so great elsewhere.

Subject: First LSU Gold Replies: 8
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,148
The first LSU Gold was ripe today. I had been worried about letting it fruit its first year in the ground, but since it's now by far my tallest fig tree I probably shouldn't have worried. At any rate I had removed the tiny figs as soon as they appeared, but left two as a sample. Unfortunately, the ants discovered the ripe one before I did, and had entered through the eye to enjoy the feast. I trimmed off the part they had been eating and the fig was still delicious, so I'm very pleased. Next year I'll be ready with Tanglefoot to foil the ants.

Attached Images
jpeg LSU_Gold_cut_22_Sep_2012.JPG (66.38 KB, 101 views)
jpeg LSU_Gold_22_Sep_2012.JPG (83.49 KB, 73 views)
jpeg LSU_Gold_ants_22_Sep_2012.JPG (65.80 KB, 61 views)

Subject: Best tasting figs 2012 Replies: 39
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 8,372
Black Madeira ripened yesterday, and although it was smaller and uglier than the BMNL mentioned above, the taste was clearly better. I'll be looking forward to seeing how it does next year.

Subject: Best tasting figs 2012 Replies: 39
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 8,372
Best so far this year was Black Mission NL. Black Madeira is ripening, so we'll see how it compares.

Subject: "Just a little off the top and sides"... Replies: 18
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,470
Good tip, Ruben--thanks.

Subject: List of figs that split with rainfall Replies: 29
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 2,065
Add Tena and Excel to the list.

Subject: "Just a little off the top and sides"... Replies: 18
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,470
Suzi, I hope they work out. Tucson really isn't the right place for them, although my neighbor had a couple of huge Zutanos until last year, when he decided to cut them down (they were declining). Sounds like you're in Avocado heaven!

BLB, I'm not interested in battling beetles either (I keep trying, but for some fruits it's a lost cause). I hope there aren't any around here that eat avocados!

Gina, I knew there had to be a word for it, so I googled "snake phobia", and it sounded so esoteric I couldn't resist using it. Glad your case of it sounds particularly mild. When I was a kid my mom took a very dim view of my interest in snakes, and certainly had no desire to even touch one--but eventually she became quite fond of a pet kingsnake and reached the point that she even enjoyed holding it. You never know!

Ruben, that's certainly bad news! I hunted all over before settling on these, and they sounded like the perfect solution! I sure hope I have better luck, and maybe I will  because it rarely even drops below 28F in my yard--but it can happen. I intend to use a trick I read about, where you plant them in a very deep hole and then gradually (over three years) raise the soil level until the graft is a few inches below grade. The idea is that if the tree does get killed in a hard freeze, when (and if) it resprouts, it will be from the grafted part. Sounds good anyway! Have you gotten any fruit from the Lula rootstock growth? If so, how is it?

I'll wait until spring to put them in the ground so they'll have a full season of growth before the cold weather hits. They'll be a few feet out from a south-facing wall, but it's free-standing (not part of the house) and won't hold much heat. Guess I'd better take advantage of your misfortune and rig up a cover and heat source for those cold nights--just in case.

Subject: "Just a little off the top and sides"... Replies: 18
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,470
I hooked up the come-along and yanked the former brown turkey out of the ground this morning. Now that it has been laid to rest, the area where it once grew has been spaded, leveled, and mulched--all ready for the new avocado trees. As I was scooping mulch out of the pile, I uncovered a fairly recently-hatched kingsnake, which I moved to a safer location in the mulch under a plum tree. Now, admit it, you ophidiophobic types; that is one cute little baby snake!

Attached Images
jpeg Lgc_from_mulch_12-9-15.jpg (139.50 KB, 62 views)

Subject: Many faces of Celeste Replies: 7
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 732
Very nice!

Subject: Green Ischia Replies: 10
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,295
I noticed the first one starting to ripen on my little tree today, so I'm excited to give it a try!

Subject: Harris’ antelope squirrel Replies: 15
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 652
I often see the remains of barrel cactus fruit that they've chewed open to get the seeds. I haven't seen any antelope squirrels in my neighborhood so I can't say whether they would eat your figs, but given a choice between cactus seeds and fresh figs I know what I'd choose.

Several years ago I watched one straining to pull a not-quite-ready fruit off a small barrel cactus and was able to get several photos, from which I did a little painting. Unfortunately, I found that art collectors were more into bull elk and other critters with antlers. Maybe I should have exercised my artistic license and doctored him up like rcantor's "jackalope"!

Attached Images
jpeg 041100a_stuck_over_a_barrel_12x9.jpg (46.18 KB, 40 views)

Subject: Fig cage visitor Replies: 6
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 678
I found this two-legged critter sampling a ripe Excel in my fig cage this afternoon, but unlike the usual feathered visitors this one was more than welcome. While migrating from Louisiana's bayou country en route to visit Fig Paradise in San Diego, Gene and Linda Collins stopped by for a break in Tucson. Gene and I discussed figs and alligators, and our better halves demonstrated the patience that comes from years of exposure to such conversations. There really ought to be a support group for F4F spouses!

I always enjoy connecting a face with a name and figured you would too--so here's Gene.

Attached Images
jpeg Gene_Collins_9-10-12.jpg (133.51 KB, 74 views)

Subject: Fig folk Replies: 9
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 791
Hey, it was my pleasure--but I probably wouldn't have responded so quickly if my tree didn't need pruning! ;-)

Thanks, yourself, for the mulberry cuttings. I've managed to kill most of them, but I'm still optimistic that I'll end up with at least one that roots. Now you know why I like doing air layers--I can't kill them!

Subject: Notes from the cage Replies: 12
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 959
Thanks Jon, that's encouraging. I had mentioned recently in another post that I didn't think I'd have any problems with splitting in Tucson, and then we got some more rain and my Exel and Tena figs started splitting wide open--so I got worried. As I look again at the BMNL, I guess it's just superficial skin cracking at the eye rather than splitting, so if the bugs stay out I should be in good shape.

Subject: Notes from the cage Replies: 12
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 959
I'm sure he would like to be on his snakey way. If you can get a clear photo of at least part of him (preferably the head), I can probably tell you what he is, or at least what he isn't.

Subject: Notes from the cage Replies: 12
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 959
Yes, I planted it in the ground last spring. It got some cold damage over the winter but seems to be doing okay. It isn't growing as fast this year as last--I think it needs a better basin around it so it gets more water.


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