Three of our Moreton Bay fig trees have been in the ground for 3 years now in their Western Australian home about 100km north of Perth and it is time for an update on their progress.
My Quest for a Moreton Bay fig began in 2014 when I finally sourced four healthy Ficus macrophylla tubestock plants from Daleys Fruit Tree Nursery in Kyogle, NSW. At my last update in May 2016, I talked about the challenges we faced, including protecting them from the cattle, some early frost damage and a lack of rain…
Fig report June 2017
Happily all seem to be progressing quite well in their cattle/kangaroo proof cages. We were very lucky this year to have some good summer rain (120.5ml in late Jan / early Feb and 77.7ml about a week later) and a cooler summer than normal and this seems to have allowed the figs to thrive.
I also noted the advice of Colin who commented that I needed to remove the grass around the base of the trees. The grass is mostly couch and it is a constant battle to keep it at bay. I haven’t managed to do exactly what Colin suggested but I did find these tree mats** (Bunnings) and they have certainly helped. They don’t stop the grass completely but they do slow it down and make it easier to remove. I also think they helped to keep some moisture in over the summer.
The mornings are quite cool and as frost is possible we have covered the figs with frost cloth again this year. We decided to cover them this year because the foliage is still pretty young and soft (and because they look good and it would be sad to see all that new growth frost damaged). The days, on the other hand, are quite warm as we are having above average temperatures and a distinct lack of rain. I was a bit concerned that the frost cloth, whilst necessary to protect them from frost, might be detrimental during the warm days but so far, so good. Hopefully we will get some decent rain soon to set us up for a good summer.
Fig # 4 is still languishing, very happily, in a large pot in Perth. It really needs to go into the ground and this is on my ‘to do’ list.
[** The tree mats are Fiskars brand and I found them at Bunnings – small $16.90 and large $26.55. I’m guessing they are recycled rubber but neither Bunnings nor Fiskars are specifying (or not that I can find).]