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Plants

Our Moreton Bay figs, three years on

Amanda Commins

Amanda Commins

June 21, 2017

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.

Fig #1 – the biggest and healthiest

 

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.

 

Fig # 1: The most advanced of the three at 1.3m tall

Fig # 2: Less dense foliage and a bit paler leaf – may be lacking some nutrients

Fig # 3: Has struggled the most but now looking promising.  This one is planted in much poorer soil / sand.

 

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 grass still grows under the mat but it is much less vigorous and much easier to remove

 

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).]

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derynwrites
6 years ago

a good read Amanda

Kerrie Stewart
Kerrie Stewart
6 years ago

Huge trees but beautiful, my favourite. I hope they grow well for you.
Kerrie in Sydney

Gail Ward
Gail Ward
5 years ago

is it possible to grow a Morton Bay Fig in Skipton Victoria?

David P
David P
5 years ago

Amanda, wonderful hearing about your Morton Bay Fig trees. You have inspired me and I have just ordered five small seedlings on eBay from Queensland to be sent to my farm right on the coast south of Adelaide. I know its a bit late to be planting in August but there is no risk of frost here just the possibility of big winds from the SW or NW and a pretty dry hot summer. I thinking lots of mulch and good deep watering over summer will be essential. I really enjoy reading your updates. Thank you very much

Woody
Woody
5 years ago

Hi Amanda, I’ve really loved reading about the growth of your fig trees. I have just received a Moreton Bay seedling as well as a Small Leaved Fig seedling and am very excited to watch their development. Hoping to see another update from you at some stage as I have loved seeing what the trees look like in their early years. I hope yours are doing well! Thank you!

Amanda
Amanda
5 years ago
Reply to  Woody

Hi Woody and many thanks for your feedback. I am planning another update soon. I hope your fig seedlings are thriving. I have 5 figs on the go now – the extra one is not a Moreton Bay but it was in danger of ending up on a rubbish heap & needed rescue. I’ll explain more in my next update!