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Fig and Cherry Trees

I am here in MIchigan and wanting to plant a fig tree and a cherry tree (BING).
1. Do I need two cherry trees to get fruit?
2. For a fig tree, I have a small 2 ft tree. How quickly do they grow and how long will it take before I get fruit?

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  1. For your fig, depending on the variety it could be this year---I've seen them fruit at around one foot tall. The main problem will be if they ripen in time for you to harvest because they do come late in the year, always a problem in Chicago which is pretty close weather-wise.

    I'm not sure about the bing cherry but my grandma had a sour cherry tree and it did not require a second tree.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Sally599

      Sour cherries are self-pollinating. Almost all sweet cherries require a second tree, usually of a second variety.

    2. Bing cherry trees require cross-pollination in order to produce fruit. Bing cherry trees can cross-pollinate with just about any other sweet cherry. We live in the Pacific NW and the only ripe figs we get are from a Desert King which sets fruit in June.

      1. My Black Mission fig tree growing in SoCal took 4 years to fruit. I was just about to give up on it. Six years later I can't use up the figs I get once or even twice a year.

        2 Replies
        1. re: rainey

          Oh my heck. I would kill for fresh figs. Craigslist those suckers.

          1. re: LauraGrace

            Pretty much anywhere in the country, you could grow them.

        2. The cherry situation is interesting and thought provoking. I will keep reading and hope others will chime in. It has been unusually cold here this year and everything is at least a month behind.

            1. re: itryalot

              I don't know much about this stuff, but my cherry tree (Rainier) is all by its lonesome and fruits every year. I have a lone blueberry bush, same thing. There must be enough pollen in the wind from other plants or something.

              1. re: watercress

                I have a single Bing cherry tree and it fruits very well. (Just ask the robins, blue jays, etc.) As far as I know there are no other cherry trees in the neighborhood.

                1. re: watercress

                  You may have a tree that sports a graft of another variety (usually a sour/wild cherry type) as this is common with sweet cherries. Our family's farm has many old cherry trees where the stronger sour cherry eventually took over from the weaker, disease-prone sweet variety. Watch in spring for a branch or two that blooms differently (color/size/timing).

              2. 1. You can always graft if you need to cross pollinate.
                2. You're too far north for figs.

                7 Replies
                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                  I live on long Island and have a fig tree that has grown to be, in three years, a unruly behemoth. I really should not complain, because I get many tasty figs from the tree twice during the year, usually in September for the established branches and in late October for the new growth.
                  The thing is about 10 feet high and keeps getting thicker and thicker; the only thing that stops part of it from growing is that two sides of it have run out of room since they are against my house.
                  My question is should I be trimming it back, and when? And how do I get the bottom of it to fill in? Any help would be greatly appreciated

                  1. re: imhungryletseat

                    I worked in the figs in Califiornia in the worst job in the world in the summer of 67. Wasn't around when they were pruned. Anyway prune in the late fall - early winter when all is going dormant. We pruned the peach orchard in the winter - the best job having to do with peaches. Cold and clean, the valley fog rolling in and out. Nice smells. Shoot the occasional jack rabbit or dove or quail or pheasant. Of course, my Dad would now and then at any time of the year would cut the mulberry tree back so much that one day there was a huge, dense tree and the next there would be a trunk with a few spikes sticking out at the top. Your tree has already gone leggy - probably too late to shape it round and low. Anyone who prunes and shapes trees can take a look and let you know, however.

                    1. re: imhungryletseat

                      Picked about 20 of my October figs yesterday (can't remember exactly, since I ate some while I was picking) boy,are they good! There are at least another 75 left on the tree; a few more good weeks and they should also be ready.

                    2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                      Grandparents used to bring indoors and overwinter. When the tree got too large, built a frame around it, carpeted and plastic for winter insulation making sure nothing touched the tree. High maintenance but worth it for the figs and for the nostalgia/

                        1. re: itryalot

                          the bark's the fig's weakness. if you keep it covered, it should be good to something pretty low....

                      1. I just got a fig tree, "English Brown Turkey" cultivar, that is reputed to fruit well in Long Island, NY and is recommended for zones 6-9. As you know I'm in zone 6A-B depending on which map you look at. The nurseryman recommended planting it against the south wall of my house where it will get plenty of sun and extra warmth radiating from the brick, and to mulch and cover it with plastic in the winter. I intend to espalier it.

                        This link provides good info for care in colder regions: http://www.ediblelandscaping.com/plan...

                        Other zone 6-9 cultivars are Celeste, Hardy Chicago, and St. Anthony Marseilles.

                        We have tons of wild cherry trees growing around here so there's no plans to add them to our little orchard. The birds scarcely put a dent in them when they fruit.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: morwen

                          Lucky you; I am in an even colder area. Here are some other helpful links re:fig trees

                          Look at this guy near Toronto Ontario, Canada!

                          1. re: itryalot

                            Dang! So now I'm thinking I should have got the Hardy Chicago. If it grows well in Canada, it should do fine here!

                            So while I'm zone 6a-b, 20 minutes northeast of me (Roanoke City) is zone 7. That's the difference living on top of a Blue Ridge mountain compared to the valley at it's foot. My friends in the valley are about 2 weeks ahead of me for their last frost dates.

                            1. re: morwen

                              The little fig (about 3' tall) that we got in July from Edible Landscaping has fruit on it already! I wasn't expecting anything from it until next fall at the earliest and more likely the fall after that. I've been really impressed with both the fig and the bay laural we got from them so we're driving up to the nursery in 2 weeks for their open house and to pick up several of their patio peaches. http://www.ediblelandscaping.com/inde...

                        2. One fo the great things about figs is that you can cut them back as far as you need and assuming the roots don't freeze, they'll come back. We have a fig tree at the hospital where I work that has to be over 50 years old- the base of the trunk is at least three feet across- and routinely throws suckers out right down to the ground. I've cut some off when the tree was dormant and rooted them, now the cuttings are bearing fruit.
                          I don't have cold enough weather here to have to protect the trunk and roots, so I can't help with the frost knowledge, but mulching and protecting the base and the roots should be helpful.

                          And I sure WISH I could grow cherries here.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: EWSflash

                            Starting getting the first batch of figs over the last week. Can't keep track of how many I picked already because of the amount I eat while picking them. nothing like a sun warmed juice laden fig!
                            The rainy cool rainy weather we had on LI this summer (up until the current heatwave) created havoc on my tomatoes, but these figs are so-o-o-o-o good!!!!

                            1. re: imhungryletseat

                              I know what you mean- I odn't think I've had any figs make it into the house, ever. My trees are fairly stunted, though.

                          2. I am in the Boston area and the old Italians wrap heavy plastic around and around their fig trees to protect them during the winter. I would imagine in Michigan you would have to do something to protect them, too.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: pemma

                              2010 update...
                              picked the first 20 or so figs the end of July/beginning of August, a full two weeks early this year. My fig behemoth (explained in a different thread!) is enjoying the hottest July we had in 25 years on LI. About another 20 ready in a couple of days and many more after that.

                            2. Can figs be grown in pots? I'm in Southern Ca.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: sparkareno

                                I have three fig trees in large pots in Orange Cty. They do fine and produce great fruit but require daily water and frequent organic fertilization. Go for it!