Saturday, June 02, 2012

Backyard Orchard Culture: Stimulate fig crop

This is how you stimulate fig trees to initiate fall crop. It's very easy. If I don't do this, I barely get any fall figs. If I do, the trees are stimulated to make lots of figs - then it's a matter of weather permitting. I think the growing tip produces hormones that prevent figs from growing at the leaf nodes. By snapping off the growing tip, the hormonal inhibition is stopped, and soon a fig will start to form at each leaf node. I do this when the new branches are at 4 or 5 leaves. I try to do it early, so I get figs before the weather is too cool and days too short in the fall to sweeten the figs. I used to use a scissors for this, but they snap so easily, scissors are not necessary. Some references refer to this as pinching", but I don't pinch, I bend the tip and it easily snaps off.

This tree is Hardy Chicago. Almost all of the breba figs fell off. That doesn't bother me too much, because several other fig trees promise a big breba crop this year. Since it's not making figs now, the branches are growing fast, and it's time to plan for the fall crop.
Find the branch growing tips.
The place to snap off the growth is just below the little leaf forming at the end. Just bend over the tip, and it snaps off. No cutting or pinching is needed - just snap.
The tip will ooze white latex sap for a few hours. I don't think that hurts anything. Some people have allergic reactions to the latex, so I wouldn't get carried away until after snapping one or two and waiting a day to see if there is a reaction. I don't worry about it, and have never had a problem, so I snap all of the tips that I see, that have 3 or 4 or 5 leaves. This technique limits tree size, and stimulates compact branching, as well as stimulating a crop. It works for the fall crop (main crop) if snapping is done in early summer. I don't do it for the spring (breba) crop because I don't want figs to form before winter rains and frost.

Iris Final

It's been raining for most of the last week, so the flower forms are not the greatest. These are the last couple to open up.
"Kissed by the Sun" This was a new planting - noted in previous blog entry. I bought it in bud. The timing and size of the flower are probably affected by the fact that I just planted it. This one did better than the companion iris, "American Classic" which had such a puny flower I didn't take a photo. I hope that's a temporary issue due to being freshly planted.
I would like to give it the name "Rescue me" since this is the one Ning rescued from an illegal yard waste pile a few years ago. It didn't bloom as well this year due to weeds. I've been pollinating the pistols with pollen from "Immortality" and "China Moon". We'll see if they take.
No ID variety. I'm not even sure where it came from - maybe a rescue as well. I don't have a record of this one, and it doesn't look like one I would buy.
I've been taking pollen from stamens of blooming iris around the yard, and pollinating other flowers. It's the first time I've done that. If they take, then I'll try to grow them and see what happens. I like Immortality for size and form, and it's pure white, so should mix OK with any of the others. I thought especially interesting if the antique is pollinated by Immortality. They may not all have the same chromosome number, and some may be sterile, so it's just a semi-random experiment.