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Garden dectective: Fig trees

Published: Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 11CALIFORNIA LIFE

I have two fig trees that produce figs profusely – figs galore! But I can't eat any of them because they never get ripe.

I put a bucket of manure on the trees in the fall, but still not one ripe fig. Why?

– John Mello, Elk Grove

Figs that do not ripen are usually produced on seedling trees, according to the UC master gardeners. Trees purchased at nurseries are grown from cuttings, not seeds.

If you know someone with a producing fig tree, get a few cuttings from them. They should be 12 to 15 inches long. Plant them in the garden where you want the new trees to grow or in pots, filled with a 50-50 mixture of peat moss and sand. Place the pots in a shady area and keep the soil mix damp. After the cuttings begin to leaf out, gradually move them to full sun.

Figs require very little winter chilling. Most varieties do not need cross-pollination. But a great deal of heat is necessary to mature the fruit properly.

When is the best month to kill crabgrass in a lawn? I have tried in January, February, March … but haven't had success.

– Mrs. J. Ward, Sacramento

According to the UC master gardeners, crabgrass spreads primarily by seed. Crowd out the potential for crabgrass by increasing the vigor of your lawn.

The UC Guide to Healthy Lawns, available at, has detailed advice on lawn care. Mulching, hoeing and hand-pulling when plants are young are all effective cultural methods to control crabgrass invasion.

Pre-emergent herbicides for crabgrass control in turf areas need to be applied during the last week of February or first week of March. To be effective, the herbicide must be applied before the crabgrass germinates.

If you have a heavy infestation of this pesky weed, it might be advisable to re- apply the pre-emergent again in late June.

If you still have crabgrass during the summer and fall, you can spot-treat it with Monterey Weed-Hoe, manufactured by Monterey Lawn and Garden Products of Fresno. Ortho has a similar product. These herbicides will kill only the crabgrass, not the lawn grasses. If you use these products, make sure to apply it before the crabgrass forms seed.


Questions are answered by master gardeners at the UC Cooperative Extension services in Sacramento and Placer counties.

Send questions to Garden Detective, P.O. Box 15779, Sacramento, CA 95852. Send email to h& Please put "Garden Detective" in the subject field and include your postal address. To contact your UC Extension directly, call:

• Sacramento: (916) 875-6913; 9 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m. weekdays

• Amador: (209) 223-6838; 10 a.m.-noon Monday through Thursday; email

• Butte: (530) 538-7201; 8 a.m.-noon and 1-5 p.m. weekdays

• El Dorado: (530) 621-5512; 9 a.m.-noon weekdays

• Placer: (530) 889-7388; 9 a.m.-noon on Tuesdays, Wednesday and Thursdays, or leave a message and calls will be returned

• Nevada: (530) 273-0919; 9 a.m.-noon Tuesdays through Thursday or leave a message

• Shasta, Tehama, Trinity: (530) 225-4605

• Solano: (707) 784-1322; leave a message and calls will be returned

• Sutter, Yuba:(530) 822-7515; 9 a.m.-noon Mondays and Tuesdays and 1-4 p.m. Thursdays

• Yolo: (530) 666-8737; 9-11 a.m. Tuesdays and Fridays, or leave a message and calls will be returned

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