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Subject: What is the next step for my cuttings? Replies: 5
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 736
 
I rooted my cuttings last year in bags, and when they had been growing well for a while outdoors, in filtered shade under a tree, I potted them up to one-gallons. Most did very well, but several crashed soon afterward. They'd start to wilt, and almost always died within a few days.

A number of people have cautioned about potting up too soon, and it's probably good advice--although what works for one person doesn't always work for someone else. Good luck, whichever way you decide to go.

Subject: Fig Orchard complete....well almost Replies: 55
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 4,307
 
Wow! I am amazed! Great job!

Subject: bird netting enclosure Replies: 45
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 4,745
 
Hi JD--

I had posted photos back in October but they disappeared, so here are some that should illustrate it pretty well.

First, I drilled holes in the EMT to thread the wires through. Then I flared them (if that's the right word) with a nailset to make it easy to fit the wire through the hole by feeding it into the open end of the EMT. At this point, all the poles are lying on the ground--I simply measured and cut the wires, and then made a sharp little bend where I wanted it to meet the top of the tube. The whole grid of wires was laid out and connected at ground level. To secure the wires to the EMT, I wrapped each wire once around a hog-ring (positioned to act as a "stop" to prevent the wire from pulling back through the hole), and then crimped the hog-ring to secure it. (I would advise clipping the loose wire ends off at a couple of inches rather than leaving them long the way I did, and that way the ends won't catch in the netting as you're installing it.)

I connected the end of each perimeter wire to the perimeter fence and then raised the poles up one by one, just like pushing up a tent pole. The grid of wires, anchored at the edges to the fence, is all that holds the tops of the poles in position, and the bottoms just rest on the surface of the ground (or on bricks, rather, which prevent the poles from sinking into the ground when it rains). So, there's no "shear" force on the poles at all--it's strictly a very small compressive load consisting of just enough tension on the wires to hold things in place, and the negligible weight/wind resistance of the netting.

It's especially convenient if you need to reach up to the netting or the top of a pole for some reason, because all you have to do is lift the bottom of the pole a few inches off the ground and swing it out, which drops the top down to where you can reach it, and then put it back in position. Easy to build, and easy to maintain. I was able to erect the whole framework right over my existing trees, and then pull the netting up over the top with almost no need for a ladder.

Attached Images
jpeg flared_holes.jpg (66.97 KB, 65 views)
jpeg flaring_holes.jpg (71.49 KB, 68 views)
jpeg hog-ring_wire-stops2.jpg (345.95 KB, 82 views)


Subject: bird netting enclosure Replies: 45
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 4,745
 
Noss--I found a local awning manufacturer willing to reel off three hundred feet of UV resistant, high-density polyethylene thread--basically the same material and thickness as the netting.

Subject: bird netting enclosure Replies: 45
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 4,745
 
Thanks Joe. If you ever decide to build one, I'd be happy to share any info or give you a rough idea of materials cost based on the size you want. I think it could be easily adapted to most any scale.

LosLunas--it's actually just mulch that a local landscape service delivers at no cost if he's working in the area and it happens to be my turn (there's a long waiting list), along with my own prunings that I run through a little cheapo electric chipper-shredder from Harbour Freight.

Subject: bird netting enclosure Replies: 45
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 4,745
 
UPDATE 4 April 2011

Finally! A bird-free zone!

I still have a few minor details to wrap up, but the "anti-aviary" is virtually finished--just in time to save most of the apricots, as well as all the peaches, apples, plums, and persimmons. My feathered freeloaders start pecking the green apricots when they're only about the size of my finger tip, so they've already gotten a few, but hopefully that's the last they'll get from now on!

After the low, chicken wire, perimeter fence was in place, but before installing the bird netting, I noticed little hoof prints in the dirt along with signs that a javelina had been rooting around for melon rinds in the compost under the Fuyu--evidently it shoved the top of the wire down just far enough to topple into the enclosure. Fortunately, it didn't bother my figs. I reinforced the fence here and there but it kept getting in, night after night, so I resurrected my old "Fido-Shock" electric fence charger and added a series of four hot wires, just outside the chicken wire, as a little extra deterrent. So far, so good.

If I had it to do over again, I'd scrape up the money and buy new chicken wire, or better yet, 1/2" galvanized hardware cloth, for the perimeter fence. I also think I should have used 3/4 inch conduit instead of 1/2 inch, although it's already made it through some strong winds with no problem. I also wish I had rigged the netting support with the same 17 gauge galvanized wire I used for the electric fence--but the tie wire should still be fine. Splicing the netting together was a much bigger job than I had anticipated (two long seams for a total of approximately 260 feet of hand "stitching"), but 14 feet is as wide as it comes, so there was no way around it.

I had been thinking of keeping chickens inside the cage as well, but I also want to use it for growing squash, tomatoes, and other vegetables. My wife pointed out that chickens would gobble the veggies as fast as I could plant them, so I guess the chickens won't work out after all. Too bad--I was looking forward to having some.

The newly-planted figs seem to be growing nicely, although leaf-cutter ants (another plague for Tucson gardeners) attacked my Black Madeira. They couldn't snip through the thick petioles like they do on most trees, but they still managed to chew up all the leaf edges. Oh well--no real harm done.

All in all it has been a very cost-effective and fun project, and I'm optimistic it will work out quite well. I'm really looking forward to eating a lot of figs in a few years!

Attached Images
jpeg anti-aviary_w_netting.jpg (202.33 KB, 139 views)
jpeg anti-aviary,_east.jpg (178.09 KB, 128 views)
jpeg anti-aviary_interior.jpg (170.33 KB, 121 views)
jpeg figs_in-ground.jpg (179.85 KB, 121 views)


Subject: Chickens? Replies: 24
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,632
 
One afternoon, several years ago when I worked at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, I was driving home from work and saw a bunch of parked cars and people gathered around a huge tortoise at the side of the road. It was far too big to be one of our native tortoises, so I stopped to have a look. That was my introduction to the African spur-thigh tortoise, which I had never heard of. Evidently someone had gotten tired of dealing with their ever-growing pet and had dumped it in the desert to fend for itself. It didn't belong there, so I took it home and put it in the back yard for a few days while I looked for someone to adopt it. My kids loved it and the boys would ride on its back (it weighed 80 lbs and didn't even seem to notice them). I found a guy at work who had one and wanted another, so the problem was solved--except for consoling my little tortoise-jockeys, who wanted to keep their slo-mo steed.

Subject: Possible overwatering? Replies: 4
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 2,723
 
And, adding to Dan's advice, a good layer of mulch will help keep the soil moist right to the surface.

Subject: Chickens? Replies: 24
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,632
 
Great tortoise. I grew up with desert tortoises as pets in southern Cal, and loved them.

Guinea hens might make more ruckus than I could stand--they're constantly grumbling about something!

Subject: Not recommending this, but... Replies: 20
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,902
 
Yes, I certainly wouldn't move a newly-rooted cutting to full sun if it already had leaves, but at least on these, when the leaves opened in bright sun they seemed to stay small, so maybe they transpired less? I don't know. It just seems that gradual transitions are harder on my trees than growing in harsh conditions from the start--but there may be other factors I'm overlooking.

However, even well-established figs that have been growing in some degree of shade get shocked when I move them to full sun. For example, I bought a one-gallon Black Mission NL from Jon--perfectly healthy, but with big, thin leaves because it had grown in the shady, sheltered microclimate under his inground trees. When I brought it home, even in filtered shade, those lush leaves couldn't handle the harsher desert conditions and quickly got tattered, curled, and then fell off. The new leaves, in full sun, grew in smaller, thicker, tougher, and with much shorter internodes, and had no problem.

That said, later in the summer when it gets really hot, I'll probably have to provide my small trees with a little shade to avoid sunburn. Until they get some size, June and July in Tucson can be pretty rough on young figs.

Subject: Chickens? Replies: 24
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,632
 
Thanks, everybody, for sharing your experience; chickens sound like an ideal addition to the "fig farm" if I can protect them from the predators (coyotes, bobcats & great horned owls). I don't think there's any law against chickens in my neighborhood--at any rate, I frequently hear a rooster crowing one street over, so evidently nobody cares if you keep them.

Subject: Chickens? Replies: 24
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,632
 
I'm wondering about trying to keep chickens in the bird-netting enclosure around my fruit trees, for the fertilizer and to eat the bugs. However, as a "city-boy", I don't know whether they'll get up into the trees and eat my figs and other fruit. Can any of you poultry experts advise me on this? Thanks.

Subject: Not recommending this, but... Replies: 20
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,902
 
I'm updating this sooner than I had planned, because I gave my neighbor the larger of the two cuttings this morning after taking the photo. I'll try to remember to post another progress shot of the little one at some future date.

In my opinion (again with the caveat that I have very limited experience and don't recommend this approach for any cutting you're not willing to put at risk), this suggests that if a newly-rooted cutting gets full, outdoor sun from the moment its first leaf buds start to swell, it will immediately acclimate to those conditions and won't need to go through a lengthy transition from shade, to filtered sun, to full sun. However, at least in Tucson it's probably critical to keep the clear plastic pot shaded to avoid cooking the roots.

These were rooted in a mixture of perlite and naturally composted organic material that I rake up from under the desert trees in my yard. They were kept in shallow basins of water to insure they never got thirsty (the water was usually gone within 24 hours, probably mostly wicked away by the cardboard/paper shading the roots).

Attached Images
jpeg White_hybrid_cuttings_21_April_2011.jpg (163.68 KB, 84 views)


Subject: Fig Hedge Replies: 54
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 5,500
 
Congratulations--it looks like a great set-up!

Subject: My 2011 cuttings progress .... Replies: 84
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 5,324
 
Yes, it's nice to track your cuttings' progress. Thanks for keeping us posted, and good luck figuring out how to root Hardy Chicago.

Subject: UCR 135-15s Replies: 9
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,370
 
Looks very interesting--thanks again.

Subject: UCR 135-15s Replies: 9
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,370
 
Hmmm--I didn't see LSU Gold on the list. Is it listed under another name, or is there another page somewhere that I missed?

Subject: UCR 135-15s Replies: 9
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,370
 
Dan--Thanks very much. Great info, particularly the second link, which is a table comparing various characteristics for all (or many; I didn't check them one by one) of the UCD varieties. I wish I had seen it last year, before ordering! Was this rating based on figs that had actually been grown in Hawaii, or were they from the trees at UCD? I know such ratings are very subjective, and figs will taste different in different years or locations, but this seems like a very good place to start.

Based on this table, the UCR135-15s rates just barely below Black Madeira and just above Violette de Bordeaux, but with substantially larger fruit than either of the other two. Although mine is growing well (it's the tallest of last year's cuttings) I hadn't planned to plant it in the ground, but on the strength of this info I will certainly do so. I'm hoping the one Bass sampled was having a less-than-stellar year, and that the one I have will like Tucson's heat.

I had been thinking that I had all the varieties I wanted, but the Ischia White, Panachee, and UCR 153-17 all look very tempting. I had ordered Panachee last year but neither cutting survived, so it looks like I'd better try again next year. Where does it all end!?!

Subject: UCR 135-15s Replies: 9
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,370
 
Bass--Thanks for the information.

Subject: UCR 135-15s Replies: 9
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,370
 
Can anybody offer any info about UCR 135-15s?

Subject: Not recommending this, but... Replies: 20
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,902
 
I like your close-packing strategy too; the tight grouping of plants helps shade each other's pots. I also pile mulch against the west side of the jugs for the same reason.

The main reason I use milk jugs is that we drink a lot of milk, so the pots are free. I use a soldering iron to make holes all over, which probably also helps prevent over-heating and ensure the good oxygenation that Dan "Semper Fi-cus" has been posting about. I usually put each jug inside a plastic ice cream tub (we eat a lot of that too!) with a couple of drain hole in the sides, about an inch up from the bottom. The tub gives a little more shade to the rootball and that inch of water in the bottom seems to help get them through the hot, dry weather.

While the milk jugs seem to work well in the short term, I think once very many roots are visible against the plastic it's probably best to transplant them into the ground, or at least cover the jugs with something more opaque. 

Subject: Not recommending this, but... Replies: 20
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,902
 
Yes, every place has its problems, but Tucson seems to have a pretty good climate for growing figs. It's normally very dry and the soil drains quickly, so excess rain never seems to be a problem except occasionally during our summer "monsoon". Today, however, it's unseasonably chilly and rainy so I moved the cuttings to where they'll have full sun as soon as the weather clears. I sleeved a paper lunch sack around the clear container to keep sun from baking the roots.

It sounds like your uncle's climate is pretty ideal; good luck with your own figs. Whether in containers or in the ground, they're sure a lot of fun!

Subject: How Life Has Changed Replies: 2
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 557
 
Sounds like good things are happening in your life. Best wishes for the new season!

Subject: Grub Replies: 2
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 560
 
Paraphrasing King Agrippa, "Almost thou persuadest me to be a vegetarian."

Subject: Grub Replies: 2
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 560
 
This morning while digging a planting hole for a fig my shovel hit a big mesquite root. I pulled it out of the ground with a "come-along", and this big grub came up with it (the larva of some kind of root-boring beetle). I hope it doesn't have any close relatives with a taste for fig roots!

Attached Images
jpeg grub_1.jpg (126.99 KB, 22 views)
jpeg grub_2.jpg (67.42 KB, 25 views)


Subject: Not recommending this, but... Replies: 20
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,902
 
The ones in the clear bottles don't get much direct sun yet--certainly not enough to overheat the pots. I just moved them out of their normal spot in order to take the pictures. However, the one in the semi-transparent milk jug, which already had some roots (but no leaves) when I received it, went directly into a full sun, all day, situation, and loves it. I'm sure you're correct about that early warmth stimulating faster root growth. These days it's already getting pretty hot here, so I'm working to keep the root zones shaded by piling mulch on the west sides of the pots, or getting them planted in the ground as I find time.

Subject: Not recommending this, but... Replies: 20
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,902
 
In mid-February, a generous forum member sent me a couple of cuttings and a fully-dormant but rooted sucker from his white hybrid unknown. I know many cuttings need a gradual transition from the high humidity rooting environment to harsher outdoor conditions, and I also realize that many of you have started more cuttings in a single afternoon than I have in my entire life, but after seeing the vigor of this rooted sucker (I planted it in a one-gallon container in full sun, and it's growing like mad), I decided to experiment with the cuttings.

I placed both cuttings directly in the 2-liter bottles as you see them, inside a mostly-closed plastic bread bag, indoors. As soon as the first one showed any green I started watching for roots, and within a couple of days it had two root tips showing against the bottle. At that point, since the leaf buds hadn't really opened, I took it out of the bag, moved it outdoors into filtered sunlight, and watered it once a day like my other figs. It hasn't shown any signs of shock. This morning I saw a root and some green on the other, so it's now out with the other one. I'll post a follow-up shot in a month or so.

I'm guessing that, at least for this variety, when the leaves initially open in a bright, dry environment, they'll immediately acclimate to those conditions and the plant will never have to experience the shock of being moved from high humidity to low, or from full shade to filtered sun. It seems like these leaves should stay fairly small and lose less moisture, while photosynthesizing and pumping nutrients down to strengthen the growing roots. We'll see.

Attached Images
jpeg Georgiafig_white_hubrid_unknown.jpg (129.10 KB, 143 views)
jpeg Georgiafig_white_hubrid_unknown_cuttings.jpg (83.96 KB, 134 views)


Subject: squirrel damage Replies: 30
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,335
 
Maybe the squirrels have been reading the forum and realized you're serious about this!

Subject: Freeze recovery Replies: 0
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 541
 
As this Brown Turkey leafs out following a hard freeze, I thought it was interesting to see how the damage is less severe where it had some protection from the house, wall, and a larger tree (to the left), while the more exposed branches were killed.

Attached Images
jpeg BT_frost_damage.jpg (132.36 KB, 38 views)


Subject: Black Madeira Replies: 50
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 4,521
 
Maybe it's just one of the susceptible few, but I'm guessing my UCD Black Madeira has a major case of FMV. But, other than distorted leaves and patchy pigment, it seems quite healthy and vigorous, and I'm optimistic it will outgrow the symptoms, or at least that its fruit production won't be affected much. It will go into the ground soon, which I'm also hoping will give it a boost.

Attached Images
jpeg Black_Madeira_FMV.jpg (123.01 KB, 57 views)


Subject: squirrel damage Replies: 30
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,335
 
In your situation, I'd say get 'em any way you can and debate the merits of your solution once their little carcases have assumed room temperature. They sound too sneaky to count on them showing up when you're ready and waiting with your pellet gun, but I wish you the best of luck!

Subject: Air-Layering Replies: 70
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 7,717
 
I started the air layer in mid-July of 2010, but unfortunately, didn't record the date when I cut it loose. I'm guessing it was late November or into December. I don't think there's been much, if any, branch growth since starting it--just that little bit of new green in the last few weeks. I'm probably not out of the woods yet, since as it continues leafing out it might begin to transpire more moisture than it can take up through its new roots, but I'll keep a close eye on it and it it starts looking stressed I can always move it into some filtered shade. Right now it's in full sun, which seems to make the new leaves grow in a little smaller and thicker, so maybe it will be able to acclimate okay right from the start.

Subject: Air-Layering Replies: 70
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 7,717
 
Thanks Jason--it's always exciting when you try something new and it works!

Subject: Air-Layering Replies: 70
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 7,717
 
Odd--it was there when I posted, and now it's gone. I wonder if it vanished because I went back to edit a typo?? I'll try again.

Attached Images
jpeg 2010_mission_airlayer.jpg (76.47 KB, 120 views)


Subject: Air-Layering Replies: 70
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 7,717
 
FYI, here's a follow-up shot of last year's Black Mission air layer that I was initially worried might have been too big to root successfully. I cut it from the mother tree as soon as the leaves fell, and planted it in this Costco pretzel jar. Normally the transparent plastic is shaded by a layer of corrugated cardboard, and it sits in a shallow tray filled with an inch and a half of water to keep the young root system from drying out. New root growth is already spreading out against the sides of the "pot".

Great fun--nearly instant gratification, compared to waiting for cuttings! Thanks Jon and others for the great info about air layering. I'm looking forward to trying it again on some of my little figs (last year's UCD cuttings) later in the season, once they're in the ground and better established.

Subject: New member Replies: 54
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 3,426
 
Thanks Noss, you're sweet. If you had half as much fun reading it as I had writing it, it was time well spent--although if coaxed, my wife might be willing to voice a contrary opinion. Nothing quite enhances the fun of posting on F4F as much as postponing the umpteen other tasks I should be working on....

I'm acquainted with a couple of local fruit-growers of the Havahart persuasion--one gives post-incarceration swimming lessons and the other provides shooting lessons, so I asked myself, "Why not offer flying lessons?" They've been very popular with the students--judging by the tally marks on the waiting room roof, even more popular than the courses available from my competitors.

Subject: New member Replies: 54
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 3,426
 
Sue--to humanely kill something caught in a live trap:
1) Slip a double-loaf plastic bread bag (i.e., Costco size) inside a cloth sack to form a double-layered bag.
2) Fit it over one end of the trap and gather any excess so there's no room for your critter to squeeze through and make a break for it.
3) Feeling through the bag, lift up the little locking bar so you can open the door.
4) Push down the correct (this is crucial) lever to swing open the door at the bag end of the trap.
5) If it doesn't immediately run into the bag on its own, usually you can provide the needed encouragement by blowing a puff of air at it through the side of the trap.
6) Shut the door behind it, squeeze the neck of the bags shut, slip it free from the trap, and shake the critter down into the bottom.
7) Gripping the double-layer sack firmly by the gathered neck, swing it, fast and hard, in an overhead arc (like swinging a flail) and slam it onto a concrete sidewalk. The critter dies instantly. Remove plastic bag with dead critter inside, drop bag and all in the trash, get a new plastic bag, and reset your trap. Marking "notches" on top of the trap with a Sharpie is optional, but I like to keep track of how many rodents I've escorted to that big orchard in the sky (or, perhaps it's considerably further south so they can torment deceased fig-fanciers who falsified their E-bay offerings).

I started using the cloth outer bag when centrifugal force caused a particularly portly pack rat to rip through the bag at the zenith of my swing and wing its wide-eyed way towards the sun. A palo verde tree slowed its re-entry sufficiently to let it come to rest, disoriented but uninjured, in front of my garage, and doubting my ability coax it back into a new bag for a repeat performance, I opted for the pellet gun before it had a chance to regain its equilibrium and scamper for the high hills.

Subject: New member Replies: 54
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 3,426
 
I definitely sympathize with anybody who is battling critters for their fruit. While I try to find ways to insure they don't suffer when I kill them, my first concern is protecting the fruit. I don't enjoy killing things, but for anybody who grows plants it's usually a necessity--whether they're fighting bugs, squirrels, birds, or whatever. I would be willing to sacrifice a reasonable portion of my crop to the animals, but it almost never works that way--with them, "it's all er nuthin."

The real problem is that most pests seem to come in a never-ending supply. As soon as you kill one, two more take its place. If I staked out my trees with a pellet gun and shot every bird that wanted a beakfull of fruit, I'd have a pile of dead birds and still probably wouldn't get much fruit. That's one reason I chose to use netting--if it's installed properly, it's truly effective--but only against things that can't gnaw. I'm sure it's humanly possible to build a squirrel-proof, wire cage around a few small fig trees, but it would probably cost an arm and a leg, look ugly, and collapse under the first heavy snow. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do.


Subject: New member Replies: 54
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 3,426
 
I've opted not to use poison because I worry that it may cause a painful or lingering death for the intended victims, or that it might kill unintended victims. Having accidently killed things I didn't want to kill when using lethal traps, I now use a Havahart trap and then humanely kill the unwanted critters (pack rats) and release anybody else who blunders in. It eliminates the accidents and transportation problems. I'll occasionally use a pellet gun as well, but there's always the risk of a badly-placed shot. The trap is fool-proof.

Subject: New rooting experiment going well Replies: 8
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,094
 
Interesting approach--thanks for taking time to explain it! It sounds like I'm still keeping things too wet; maybe I'd better concentrate on air-layers instead of cuttings.

Subject: Cactus pears Replies: 108
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 8,116
 
Based on what happens in my yard, it should work to plant the pad but not the fruit (you might be able to germinate seeds from the fruit, but you'd wait a long time for them to grow big enough to bear any fruit of their own). However, unless you're certain that the pads they're selling are of the same variety as the fruit, then there wouldn't be much point in planting the pads--you'd be better off to find another source where you know you're getting a variety that produces good fruit.

Our native prickly pears (as well as some non-native Opuntias) seem to do best with plenty of neglect. If I pull up a plant and leave it lying on the ground, or even drop just a single pad on the ground, it will almost always root in and start growing during the summer rains. But--if you break off a pad and lovingly plant it without first letting the "break zone" dry out and callous over, it will often rot. And if you plant it, and then immediately water it without letting it callous first, it will almost certainly rot.

Subject: irrigation Replies: 19
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,178
 
Jon--good info; thanks. Do you happen to know any specifics about the avocado orchard sprayers, or the ones they're using at UCD? I assume they would work on a drip-style set-up, i.e., 5/8" poly line and relatively low pressure, rather than PVC without a pressure regulator?

Subject: irrigation Replies: 19
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,178
 
Thanks All, for your responses. I should have mentioned that I'm interested in sprayers primarily for my larger trees; drip seems to work just fine on the little ones, and yes, I've used a variety of emitter styles to apply the water. It's only when there are 6-10 emitters around a single tree, and still lots of dry areas, that it seems to be a problem. The trees don't seem to mind, but I think they would do better with a more uniformly-moist rooting zone.

Tim, your set-up looks more along the line of what would likely work for me. I was thinking of spraying out away from the trunk, but maybe that's not necessary. You haven't had any problems from water hitting the leaves/trunks? If you could post a closeup of one of your micro-sprayer heads, or provide a product name/number I would appreciate it. Thanks much!

Subject: irrigation Replies: 19
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,178
 
I'm currently using drip irrigation for all my in-ground fruit trees, but I'm not satisfied with the spotty coverage. Flooding individual basins with a hose works great, but it takes too much time and I often get side-tracked--so I end up washing out berms and wasting a lot of water.

It seems as if a series of low-profile sprinklers (maybe three 180 degree spray heads per tree, aimed away from the trunk) would give much better coverage, but I haven't come up with an economical and effective system. I experimented with some micro-sprayers that screw into a 5/8" poly line, but even a slight breeze carries most of the water away. Is anybody irrigating their figs with a sprinkler system that they're happy with? Or, have you found some other automated way to achieve uniform coverage?

Subject: I had good intentions! Replies: 7
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 899
 
Are you sure it was due to pruning? Kind of looks like tornado damage to me....

Subject: I'm quiting Replies: 46
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 2,363
 
Rabbits squeezed under some chicken wire and nearly girdled a loquat tree in my yard--they only missed a few narrow strips of bark in places they couldn't quite reach. It didn't even seem to phase the tree, so hopefully your chewed figs will do just fine as well.

Subject: Fig Hedge Replies: 54
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 5,500
 
Lots of work John, but it sounds like it will be well worth the effort! Thanks for posting the photos.

Subject: Big Ficus (not carica) Replies: 0
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 530
 
The "Figs in Mexico" post triggered a memory of this gigantic Ficus I saw a couple of years ago near the Rio Cuchujaqui in Sonora, Mexico. (I was tagging along on a field trip, shooting reference photos for a painting.) I don't recall the variety, but it doesn't produce edible fruit and is obviously not a Ficus carica.

It's difficult to get a sense of how huge this thing is until you spot the two people up in the tree in the close-up shot (they're in the long shot as well, but very difficult to pick out at this low resolution).

Attached Images
jpeg big_ficus_1.jpg (140.69 KB, 38 views)
jpeg big_ficus_2.jpg (126.39 KB, 34 views)


Subject: Cactus pears Replies: 108
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 8,116
 
Around here, the prickly pear fruit is often called by its Spanish name--"tuna." That caused me a little confusion when I first arrived. The wild fruit is collected locally to make syrup and jelly, but I've never been that enthused about it--without all the added sugar, it wouldn't amount to much. I've never tried one of the "domesticated" varieties like Bass showed us--those look delicious!

Saguaro fruit, on the other hand, is delicious--if you can get any before the birds do. When it has a chance to get pretty dried out, it reminds me a little of Fig Newton filling, with the same sort of figgy seed crunch.

Watch out for those "thornless" varieties--all the ones I've ever seen have tiny, rust-colored, fuzzy-looking spines called glochids, which are worse than the big spines. I made the mistake of touching them with bare hands before I knew any better. Bad idea.

Subject: Recent Experiences In Sharing Cuttings Replies: 36
Posted By: TucsonKen Views: 1,972
 
A couple of forum members have been kind enough to share with me as well--undoubtedly some of the same generous people referred to above! Thanks very much!

 

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