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White Marseilles Fig aka Lemon Fig aka Figues De Marseille Options Explained
80cm+ : Bush, usually delivered in 18 L pot and over 80cm tall.
150cm+ : Bush, usually delivered in 50 L pot and 150-200cm tall.
200cm+ : Bush, usually delivered in 70 L pot and 200-250cm tall.
250cm+ : Bush, usually delivered in 110-130 L pot and 250-300cm tall.
06-08cm Girth: Half Standard, delivered in a 15L pot and around 200-240cm high.
08-10cm Girth: Half Standard, delivered in a 15L pot.
10-12cm Girth: Half Standard, delivered in a 18-25L pot.
12-14cm Girth: Half Standard, delivered in a 50-70L pot.
14-16cm Girth: Half Standard, delivered in a 70L pot .
16-18cm Girth: Half Standard, delivered in a 80L pot.
18-20cm Girth: Half Standard, delivered in a 80-110L pot.
20-25cm Girth: Half Standard, delivered in a 150L pot.
White Marseilles Fig Tree Girth Explained
Once you get over around 200cm in height, a more accurate measurement of maturity is girth; a measurement taken around the trunk of the tree. Each step up represents around 12-18 months of growth which means larger root system i.e. larger pot, a larger canopy and thicker branches to support more fruit.
The heights seem to work differently with fig trees than they do with ornamental trees whereby 1cm girth roughly represents 30cm of growth. The nursery keep them between 2-3.5m tall for all girth sizes so although you may get the same or similar height than the next girth size down, you are definitely getting more of a tree.
Expect a final mature height of around 4m and the same in width.
There may seem a discrepancy in price between bush and Half Standard but remember a multi-stem fig tree will grow slower than a single stem.
A Half Standard is a conventional tree shape e.g. like a lollipop. Considered to be very ornamental.
The White Marseilles fig is a good choice for outdoor growing and it will provide you with large, round pale green fruit with translucent white flesh and is early to ripen.
For best results plant somewhere warm. This generally means parts of the UK and not next to your hot water cylinder.
The White Marseilles fig is thought to be one of the very first planted here by Cardinal Pole who later became Archbishop of Canterbury. We suspect he was promoted because of reasons other than him popping off to Europe, possibly Italy, getting a fig tree or a cutting of one and sticking it in some general purpose compost from the local superstore. The tree was planted in 1555 and is still alive and maintained as of 2012 in the grounds of Lambeth Palace grounds.
Quick Fruit Tree Links
Take a look at our TOP SELLING FRUIT TREES, Wet ground issues then choose a PEAR TREE first, followed by APPLE TREES. For more information on pollination please look at POLLINATION EXPLAINED or choosing the CORRECT POLLINATION PARTNER
Fruit Tree Life Expectancy
Most fruit trees will give you AT LEAST 40 years of fruit. Pears can go to 70. Records of 200 year old trees exist but this is the exception, not the rule.
Do I Need To Stake My Bare Root Fruit Tree?
9 out of 10 times the answer will be no, especially if under 200cm tall. However our article on Tree Staking should help guide you.
Growing Our Trees In The UK
To date, we have checked the passports of our trees and none seem to have sneaked off for non UK holidays so all are UK grown.
Warm and wet conditions from Climate Change have increased aesthetic foliage issues such as Powdery Mildew, Shothole, Rust etc These are not terminal issues and will usually last a season. All trees are inspected before being sent out to ensure they are fundamentally healthy.
Planting In The Corner Of A Garden
Air and light is reduced in this location which could promote fungus and bacterial issues. If the corner is of the house and a fence then you also have leeching issues to contend with from cement and wood preservatives. Also when it rains, that area would experience higher water levels so we advise against it unless the plant is very hardy.
Fruit Tree Heights
Taller does not mean more value for money. A 1 year old fruit tree can easily be substantially higher than a 2 year old, this is because they are hard pruned at 1 year old to create the desired shape. Some trees have over 100cm of height removed. They can then have another pruning at 2 years old to increase fruit growing real estate. Most fruit trees will benefit from having a third to half of the seasons new growth cut back in the Autumn to prevent long whippy branches which break easily. Age and pruning completed determine real value.
Fig Tree Appearance On Arrival
We experience the same issues on the nursery as you will at home. Caterpillars and fig tree rust are two common issues. Manual removal or spraying with an insecticide is one option and a natural remedy is soapy water which doesn't kill them.
Brown marks on the leaves are nothing to worry about, this is when wet and warm conditions exist. It is purely an aesthetic issue and you will see it regularly. Water the roots, not the leaves and try to keep moisture levels down in the garden e.g. short grass. Prune to allow as much air and light into the canopy as possible. New growth coming through that doesn't have any marks also tells you the tree is fine.
Fig Tree Planting
Most fig trees thrive better in a sheltered but full sun position i.e. facing South or South West. For larger crops of figs, contain the roots because if allowed to grow uncontrolled, the tree will do a "Prescott" (Put all efforts into getting bigger). Fig tree roots are known to be wanderers and can travel quite a distance. Keep in a 45cm (18 inch pot) or more, which can also be buried for a conventional look. Do not fill with soil, leave at least 10 cm (4 inches) for compost which will be required every year or other form of feeding.
You can vary the size of the pot or other root restriction e.g a hole surrounded with buried paving slabs and broken brick on the bottom, the rule of thumb is the smaller the pot or confined area, the smaller the tree will be but pruning can also be used to restrict final size. We put ours in 80 litres containers and may take them up to 150-200 depending on their progress.
No need to worry so much about soil quality, Fig trees will thrive in most conditions, especially chalky. For legal reasons we should point out that a nuclear winter, meteorite strike and agent orange do not come under "most conditions".
White Marsaille, Bayernfeige Violetta, Ice Crystal and Brown Turkey are best for outdoor growing, most others would benefit from some form of shelter.
Planting Fig Trees Near Brick Or Concrete Walls
Generally this can be a good thing as they retain the heat in the soil which figs like. Be aware that brick and concrete walls can leach calcium into the ground making the soil more alkaline. Figs will grow in most soils but prefer a range of 6.0 to 8.0 PH, so If your fig is not performing as expected, check the soil PH. The warmth from the wall dries the soil out quicker so make sure your watering takes that into account.
Fig Tree Root Stock
Fig trees are one of the few fruit trees we sell that are not grafted (grown as Mother Nature intended)
If don't have enough friends to give them away to then try preserving figs in the drying cupboard. Rotate them daily and in 6-8 weeks you will have dried figs and possibly a lot of wet washing.
Not Sure Which Fig To Buy Online
Go for the Brown Turkey. Very popular and particularly suitable for UK climate.
Fig Tree Aftercare
As with all other restricted root growth or containerised trees, ensure you water regularly, especially in summer when 3 times a week in very warm weather maybe required. If potted, the smaller the pot, the quicker it will dry out. Although fig trees can cope with drought, it will cause the figs to drop prematurely and too much water will cause the fruits to split. As a guide, if the top 4-6 inches of soil are dry then time to water. Little and often in the mornings or evenings is easier and better than a lot in one go however we all have a life so don't loose any sleep over it. A mulch will reduce evaporation and therefore the need to water as much. We are experimenting by growing Red Clover at the base of our containerised trees. They are a green manure and should reduce the need for watering.
If the Fig tree is young, in a container or struggling e.g. leaves not so healthy, fruit production poor, our of breath when it climbs the stairs, then feed with compost/well rotted manure or fertiliser. In early Spring you want to feed with high Nitrogen for the foliage. When the fruits start to show use one high in Phosphorous and feed again as the fruits start to ripen. Feed as per instructions or around every 2 weeks.
Some Figs are hardy down to -10 centigrade but the tips are vulnerable to frost and this is where the fruits will be made. If you live in a particularly harsh frost area or your potted Fig tree is the equivalent to Wilson the ball from Castaway and you take it on Polar expeditions with you then you might want to wrap it in fleece if planted during the frost season or move to a warmer environment if potted e.g. greenhouse or conservatory, even a shed or garage.
Fig Tree Pruning
Be wary of the white sap when pruning as it can be a skin irritant. If your fig tree is looking a little sorry for itself, hard prune and leave, it will produce new growth and recover. Try not to take more than 25% off if possible.
The best time to prune a fig tree is in Spring although removing dead or diseased branches can be done at any time. Cut out any branches that are crossing with others.
In early summer, shorten the new growth to 5-6 leaves to encourage new tips formation which increases fruit yield.
You can train your tree as a fan shape or as a standard "lollipop" shape.
When pruning your fig tree, aim for an open crown. This is when you allow the light and air into the centre of the fig tree. If you are going to remove a branch, ensure you leave a 2 inch or 5 cm stub.
Fig Tree Fruits
When the fruits start to appear, cover with a net to deter birds. The fruits are ready when they start to droop on the stalk with well coloured skin or the skin cracks.
In very warm climates and some greenhouses depending on location, you get up to three flushes of fruits.
Only the small embryonic fruits forming on last years growth will turn in to ripe fruits. A second embryonic crop may appear in the summer and if they survive the winter should ripen the next year. In November, any figs larger than little embryos (about pea sized) should be picked off as they are unlikely to ripen or survive the winter. So in summary, leave the small pea sized fruits alone all year but in Autumn pick off all those larger than that.
Unripe Figs will not mature after they have been picked unlike some other fruits.
General Fig Tree Information
If you do not know what type of fig tree you have, give it a sunny and sheltered spot. If you have one of the hardy varieties e.g. White Marsailles, Brown Turkey, Ice Crystal and Bayernfeige then a sunny spot will do. If containerised, bring it into a greenhouse, conservatory or other protected environment (armoured vehicle?) during Winter. Planting close to a south facing wall will help but fan training it against a south facing wall will be even better.
Most fig trees can spread up to 3m if left to grow unchecked.
All cuttings will grow into female trees and bear fruit.
Figs are apparently good for treating warts!
Figs can be used as a laxative and are good for diabetics as they are high in sugar.
It is thought figs originated from Asia.
A maintained fig tree can crop for centuries if looked after.