Scientific Name: Ficus carica L.
Climate: Hot, template, cold
Plant Description: It is a small deciduous tree resembling a bush. Its bark is gray, smooth, and soft. It can measure from seven to ten meters. The trunk has wide, curved, and not too thick wooden branches. Deciduous and fragrant leaves have three to seven lobes of bright green color. Its fruits are commonly called figs.
In fact fig is not a "fruit", but a syconium - a fleshy and hollow receptacle with a small opening at the apex partially closed by small scales.1 Its shape can be ovoid, turbinate or like a pear, and 2.5-10 cm long. It can be green, brown, or purple. Figs are sets of fruits that come from the ovaries of flowers.2 These small flowers grow on the bottom wall of the figs. It has feminine flowers with 5 petals and a single pink or white carpel that is at the bottom of the syconium, and the male flower with 3 sepals and 3 stamens, at the entrance of the syconium. The ripe fruits have a slightly hard skin and the meat is soft and sweet in flavor. That's where various seeds are found.
Cultivation: To reproduce, divide the rhizomes and leave each one with at least three sprouts. When planting the rhizomes, space them between 45-60 cm apart. It is not recommended to plant the seeds because the It is a tree that needs full sun, however it can tolerate partial shade. It grows best in climates with warm winters, and dry and cool summers. But adapts to different zones growing at low and high temperatures, dry places and temperate climates with not very strong winters. On the other hand, climates with high rainfall and high humidity affect negatively the quality of the fruit.
The temperature during its development should be between 15 to 28 ° C. And the annual average temperature of 17 to 19 ° C. Temperatures below 7 degrees below zero cause loss of fruit and below -12 ° C the tree can die.3
It prefers fresh, permeable, rich, deep, well-drained, calcium-rich soils. It can also develop without problems in salty, stony, shallow and nutrient-poor soils.
Propagation by seed or stake. It is not recommended to sow the seed, as it takes 10 years to fructify, and produces slow-growing, regressive fruit trees.
Propagation by stake or cuttings. For best root development the best planting season is at the end of November. The tree is commonly propagated by mature wood cuttings 2 to 3 years old, 1.25 - 2 cm thick and 20-30 cm long. Planting must be done within 24 hours. But before that, the upper and inclined cutting end should be treated with a sealant to protect it from disease, and the lower flat end should be treated with a root-promoting hormone.
It is better to put the cuttings first in the nursery. After planting you need to ensure proper watering on the young trees so they can become established. The 12-15 month old trees can be transplanted into the field. At the time of transplanting, it is recommended to perform a bottom fertilization, with organic matter (compost) in a dose of 1.5 to 2.5 kilograms per tree. Depending on the amount of production and soil fertility the trees can be spaced from 1.8 to 7.5 m apart. A 4x4 m space allows 260 trees / ha. The incorporation of organic matter is suggested to be carried out twice a year.
During the off-season (late fall or winter), be sure to remove all dead, diseased, or weak branches to stimulate growth. You can also apply a layer of mulch around the tree to help prevent weeds and keep the roots moist.
They bear fruit in a year but the fruits are acidic. It is better to start the harvest at 2 years of age. It should be harvested when the fruits are almost fully ripe, they must be colored and slightly soft to the touch. When picking figs, wear gloves or long sleeves because the tree sap can irritate your skin.
Uses: Figs can be eaten fresh or dried. They are used in candy making, baking and converted into jams. They contain a large amount of nutrients including vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, calcium, iron, phosphorus, manganese, sodium, and potassium. Dried figs are high in antioxidants. The amount of fiber helps control cholesterol and glucose levels in the blood. Figs contain significant amounts of omega 3 and 6 that, together with potassium, allow to combat different health problems related to the cardiovascular system. The fig leaves help with asthma and problems related to bronchitis.
Pests and Diseases: Root rot. Soil aeration is essential as the roots are very sensitive to soil moisture thus susceptible to root rot
Nematodes. (root). Root knots. Nematode. Tree development is abnormal. It grows very slowly and becomes dwarf. Knots or swellings appear at the roots.
Damage from viruses (leaves). Fig mosaic virus. The leaves have greenish-yellow areas. When viewed against the light, oil-like stains are observed. The way to prevent its spread is to acquire a healthy plant and be aware of vector insects.
Fungi (leaf, stem, wood, fruit). Anthracnose caused by a saprophytic fungus. Attacks leaves and fruits causing dark brown spots on the underside of the leaves and small blackish pustules on the fruit.
Insects (root, pulp, bark). Wormy figs fruit fly. Also sucking insects. Use of mineral oil is recommended in the young stage of development of the pest.
The miner of the fig tree Sinoxylon exoentatum, makes galleries under the bark and causes the death of the branches.
En español: Higuera