Germinating and Growing

Common African Indigenous Trees

 

 

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Sycamore Fig

Ficus sycamorus
 

 

 

 

 

1/ As viable seed is difficult to obtain, itis preferable to cultivate this tree either from cuttings or truncheons. Truncheons must be left in the shade for a few days to dry before planting. Failing this, the tips of the truncheons will rot. Branches with a diameter of 50-150 mm are the best to use for truncheons. Make sure you remove most of the leaves before planting. Plant in a hole 1 m deep with some sand at the bottom. This prevents rotting of the truncheon and helps to stimulate root formation. Cuttings can be made from either hardwood or softwood. The sycamore fig is sensitive to frost but can withstand some cold and it is best to protect young plants until they reach a height of 1 m or more. This will also protect them from browsers defoliating the plant. The growth rate is fairly fast, 1-1.5 m per year in frost-free areas.

 

 

2/ Viable seed is extremely scarce, but can be obtained by drying an uninfested fig and rubbing it between the fingers to separate the seeds. Germination period is 3-4 weeks. A much easier method is the use of cuttings (+/- 1 x 15cm). Truncheons (branches of 10cm x 2-3m) grow very easily. The species grows fairly quickly, but not as fast as Ficus thonningii. Extremely sensitive to frost. A warm region, close proximity to water and enough space are the basic requirements. It makes an excellent shade tree and attracts a great number of birds. It has been used successfully as a stock for grafting the common cultivated fig.

 

 

 

 

 

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This web page was last updated on: 07 August, 2012