We love our fig trees! Over the last few years we've been working on building our own mini-orchard on our homestead with over 20 different varieties. We like having many different varieties because they'll each produce figs at different times, providing a constant supply throughout the warmer months.
We also like the wide variety of flavor profiles and fruit sizes that all these different varieties offer. Some of the figs taste like honey while others have a tart berry flavor. Some of them are the size of a quarter and some can produce fruits larger than a half dollar.
Although it's usually not an issue in the spring months, the heat of our south Georgia summers can take their toll on a fig tree and reduce the fruit production. During the summer, we can go an entire month without rainfall. When you combine that with high humidity and daytime temps over 95°F, that can be tough on any plant. The trees will survive, but the fruit production tends to decline.
Additionally, planting new trees is a bit of a struggle because they require so much water initially. Once they establish roots in their new soil, they're usually okay. But during that first month after planting, we would have to water new trees every 1-2 days. And hand watering fruit trees every afternoon becomes very time-consuming.
So we recently decided to install a new irrigation system for our fig orchard to make things easier on ourselves and the fig trees. This system would not only allow us to keep the trees happy during the warmer months, but it would also make it easier to expand our orchard and plant more new trees. Thirdly, it would provide the capability to easily fertilize our trees through the irrigation system.
We purchased all the pieces for our new irrigation system from Drip Depot. They had everything we needed and it was all easy to find on their website. Although we have approximately 30 trees in our fig orchard, the installation only took a couple hours and it has been well worth it. Below we've listed the parts (with links) for our new fig tree irrigation system.
Fig Tree Irrigation Parts
Mainline Tubing - This 1/2" tubing forms the backbone of the irrigation system. Using a variety of mainline fittings, you can alter the direction of the mainline tubing manifold to fit the size and shape of any fruit tree orchard.
Mainline Tees - These allow us to split the mainline in two directions. We use these to connect the mainline between our separate rows of fig trees.
Mainline Elbows - These allow you to make a 90 degree turn with the mainline tubing.
Flush Valves - These are installed at the end of each mainline tubing section and allow any excess water to drain from the tubing after watering is completed. This prevents any excess algal buildup in the mainline tubing over time.
Filter - It's always a good idea to have a filter at the beginning of any irrigation system. This fine mesh filter will catch any hard minerals that might be in your water. It will also catch any particulate matter that might be in the fertilizer you're running through the irrigation system.
Drip Emitters - These connect into the mainline tubing and provide a regulated water output. We chose the 1 gallon per hour emitters, but Drip Depot has a wide variety of options of water outputs per emitter.
Micro Tubing - This 1/4" tubing connects the drip emitters and the angle stakes listed below. It can easily be cut to length to accommodate for the distance between your mainline and your trees.
Angle Stake - While not completely necessary, these angled stakes make it easy to put the water exactly where you want it. They also allow you to move the water output farther away from the tree as it grows, promoting a wider and better root system.
Watch the Irrigation System Installation
If you'd like to see the irrigation system installed from start to finish, you can see that on this video. As mentioned above, it only took about 2 hours to install the entire system.
And the great thing about this system is that it allows you to easily expand your orchard size whenever you want. You can plug additional emitters into the mainline at any time, and you can also use couplings to extend the length of the mainline.
We're so excited to see the new growth of our orchard now that we can keep the plants well-watered and fertilized. If you don't have any fig trees on your homestead, we'd highly recommend adding a few. Fig trees can usually tolerate temps down to the lows 20s, but would need to be covered if it gets colder than that. Besides that, they're one of the easiest fruit trees to grow!