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 Starts for dwarf fig to espalier 
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Joined: Sat May 21, 2011 9:54 am
Posts: 2
Post Starts for dwarf fig to espalier
I just discovered your website--love it--but see that I missed an event which would have helped me immensely: your annual fruit propagation fair! I have a newly created space in my backyard where I'd like to espalier a fig.
Is there a place where I can get a fig on a dwarf rootstock, without waiting until next year? I'd really like to get it in the ground now.

Sat May 21, 2011 10:00 am

Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1186
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: Starts for dwarf fig to espalier
Welcome :wink: At the Propagation Fair you’d have left with only a fig cutting, which you’d have had to lay in the ground to promote root growth. Figs are not grafted onto rootstock; they’re simply propagated from ‘their own’ cuttings, which is usually pretty easy. So there’s no ‘dwarfing’ effect… but if you’d like a great variety for our region I’d suggest Brown Turkey, mine are about half the size of our other NW mainstay, Desert King.

…espaliered figs are a bit tricky, if not impossible… They fruit on their last season’s growth so must constantly generate ‘new growth’ to produce figs. Espaliered trees are generally trees with ‘fruit spurs’ that will remain active for many years while located on a stationary branch, such as an apple or pear tree.

My method for keeping figs in check is to let them grow as a ‘clump’ – allowing their ‘root suckers’ to develop, instead of hacking them off to encourage a ‘trunked tree.’ With a constant ‘rotating’ crop of new suckers / productive ‘limbs,’ I simply cut out the tallest when they become too high or leggy. Fig trees are also quite pliable and those ‘straight up limbs’ can be bent over and ‘walked down’ to be harvested.

So – find a potted fig tree at a reputable nursery …Portland Nursery should have some… nothing’s cheap anymore, but you’d know what you were getting and have at least a two year jump on the project. But personally, I’d forget the espalier plan for the figs, they don’t take well to confinement. Have fun.

Temperate Orchard Convservancy:

Mon May 23, 2011 9:34 pm

Joined: Sat May 21, 2011 9:54 am
Posts: 2
Post Re: Starts for dwarf fig to espalier
Thanks for the info, this was really helpful!

Tue May 24, 2011 7:15 am

Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:19 am
Posts: 1
Post Re: Starts for dwarf fig to espalier
Thanks Viron. I have been searching for this advice for some time. The climate here in my part of Australia is similar to the Treasure Valley in Idaho, without the snow. I have been successful in growing many citrus trees, but have failed with figs miserably. You have given me hope.

Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:26 am
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