The fig tree is native to east Asia and grows in warm and temperate regions. Growers cultivate it for its fruit, which people enjoyed raw, preserved, and in baked goods. As with most trees, figs can suffer from infestations, and preventing infestation is the best way to protect this beautiful tree.
Planting and Cultivating Fig Trees
When planting ornamental or flowering fig trees, it is important to be sure the trees have enough room to grow. Stunted roots cause the trees to be unhealthy and can lower their natural resistance to infestations. Fig trees can grow up to 10 metres in height and have strong branches that reach out, spreading the trees over wide areas, shading anything beneath them. You want to be sure your fig tree has enough room to grow and thrive, so an area free of other root systems is a good place for a fig tree. You can grow dwarf fruit trees, like dwarf figs, in containers.
Identifying an Infestation
The fig tree can suffer several different types of infestation. Nematodes commonly attack fig-tree roots and these stem and fig borers destroy the bark and inner wood on the trees and lay larvae that bore into the plant material. Scale insects remove important liquids such as glucose, and beetles also commonly attach fig trees. If you are not sure which type of infestation is causing damage to your fig tree, you can photograph the tree close up and request help from the Royal Horticultural Society. Fig plants are also subject to the same types of infestation.
Expert horticulturists suggest using an integrated approach to managing pests in fig trees. Home spray methods to control infestations are not practical for large trees and may be against local council rules and regulations. One solution is to replant fig trees in less favourable spots for insects. Proper mulching and fertilisation help to maintain the health of the trees. In addition, introducing natural predators can control infestations. Planting next to abutments or walls and allowing the trees roots to grow under buildings or concrete is another way to prevent root infestations. Keeping the plant in the healthiest condition possible is the best way to prevent pest and diseases common to fig trees.
Once the tree matures and begins to bear fruit, it is important to harvest the fruit as soon as it ripens. Not only does frequent harvesting encourage more fruit growth, harvesting helps the tree to resist disease and infection. Do not allow fruit to fall to the ground and remain. Rotting fruit from fig or other fruit trees encourages insects that can infect your tree. You can make several different products from figs, including candles, fig oil, and jams.