Yes Figs Grow Around Fort Smith!


Work closely with the River Valley Master Gardeners on a five-to-ten year Fig growing trial to determine what varieties are suitable for our climate gardening zone. We are seeking information on local Fig trees which have survived multiple years either with or without winter protection.

Document and show as many growing Fig trees in our area as possible so people will know what varieties to choose from when they search about Figs and possibly want to grow them, in and around Fort Smith.

Most people think about California or perhaps farther South and into Florida when growing Figs comes to mind but in truth, we can grow just about any variety of Fig as can be grown anywhere, depending on how much effort we want to put into it, to ensure survival of the tree(s).

There are many varieties of Fig, some considered more "cold hardy" than others and so, more suitable to growing here if we simply want to plant them out in the yard as we might any other fruit tree suitable for our climate, while others will require protection of some sort during our cold winters that will kill most fig varieties.

Ok Charlie, what Fig varieties can I grow in and around Fort Smith? If it is listed in the right column blog archive below, then it is a good variety choice. More will be continually added as they are found locally or resulting from the Learning Fields at Chaffee Crossing Fig Trial.

We can grow even the pickiest of Fig if we want to have them in containers we can move into a garage or other suitable enclosure during the winter to protect them from killing temperatures and others may suffice in a greenhouse but these are not really the ones we want to focus on in this blog. Most people simply want to plant a tree and not go to a whole lot of effort.

It is advised that any Fig variety grown here be given some protection during Winter while young and until they are well established with woody bark. Even then there are no guarantees they will survive. Our purpose here is to help you decide which are the best choices according to known survivors in our area.

Variety topics are always in the Blog Archive.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Hardy Chicago Fig a Winner for Fort Smith Area

Spotted three more fig trees today, perhaps to be added here at some point.  The focus of this post is the Fig variety known as Hardy Chicago.  I'm not quite sure how cold hardy this variety is but it has been told to me, it would survive a -70 cold winter and come back.

Leading this variety topic, a massive, 15 years old Hardy Chicago Fig tree, owned by the friendly folks at The Squash Blossom in Dora.  Here's John, dwarfed by the giant fig tree!

This tree has not been specifically winter protected, meaning not wrapped or ever covered but is planted in a somewhat protective location.  A home wall to the West and an outdoor shed mostly blocking winds from the North.  Look how well this tree has done in partial sunlight!  

John picked a sample for me!  

Trying not to shake with anticipation.  Hardy Chicago tops my previous fig tasting experience.  I just know it's going to be delicious...

This is what hooked me on figs, without ever even having tasted one.

Yeah, it was as good as it looks!  You just have to have a ripe fig to understand.

Estimating this tree is 16-18 ft tall and about 12 ft wide.  

It's a gorgeous specimen.  A single main trunk of 4-5 inches diameter with three main branches that John trims back to periodically.  If you go sweet talk him just right, he  might set you up with a cutting.  :)      


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