Everything You Want To Know About The Kadota Fig Tree

The kadota fig, often referred to as nature's candy, comes from a tree in the Ficus family.  Exotic fruits are always a treat to have, especially when they are growing right in your very own backyard.  The tree generally matures between 10 and 30 feet tall but on occasion it can be substantially taller.


The branches of the kadota fig tree are twisting and muscular and usually spread out wider than the tree is tall.  The trunk often has large nodal tumors present where branches have either been removed or shed.  The twigs of the tree are pithy and fig wood is usually quite weak and can decay rapidly.  The sap of the kadota fig tree contains a milky latex that some people will find quite irritating.

Fig leaves are single, large and a vibrant bright green shade and they are deeply lobed with anywhere from one to five sinuses with rough hairs on the top surface and very soft hairs on the underside.  In the summer, the leaves have an exotic, tropical look to them.  The tiny flowers are clustered inside the fruit so to pollinate, insects must enter the fruit's apex to access the flower.

Generally, the tree will bear a first crop in the spring from last season's growth and then in the fall, the main crop arrives.  In colder climates, the first crop is almost always destroyed due to spring frosts.  When the fruit matures, it has a tough peel that will usually crack when it is ripe, exposing the pulp which is why they need to be harvested immediately when they become ripe or they will quickly dry out.  The interior of the fruit is made of an inner rind that is white and contains a jelly-like flesh full of seeds.  These seeds are usually hollow unless they have been pollinated and are edible.  Seeds that are pollinated offer a nutty taste similar to dried figs.

Growing A Kadota Fig Tree

Your kadota fig must have full sun in order to ripen palatable fruit.  The trees will often become quite large on top and will shade anything that is trying to grow underneath it.  If you prune the tree to try to control the size or shape you will lose crop.  The trunk and branches are extremely sensitive to sun and heat damage so if exposed, they should be white-washed.  The roots of the kadota fig tree are rather greedy and will extend far beyond the canopy of the tree.  This tree requires room and should not be grown in a small area.  In coastal climates they should be grown in a heat trap, against a sunny wall or in the warmest location of the property. 

Young kadota fig trees need to be watered regularly, at least until they are completely established and you should mulch the soil to conserve moisture.  If adequate amounts of water are not provided to the tree, the leaves will yellow and eventually drop.  Additionally, trees that are stressed from drought will not produce fruit.

It is only essential to prune your kadota fig tree during the initial years.  Since the spring crop is borne on the terminals from the wood of the previous year, winter pruning should be avoided.  The best time to prune is immediately after the main crop in the fall.

If you reside in borderline climates, your kadota fig will need frost protection.  The tree should be planted near some type of structure that will radiate heat.  You need to try to keep the roots dry in the winter by shoveling away snow before it has a chance to melt.

Pests And Diseases

Gophers love the kadota fig tree and they can easily kill your tree and birds will also do considerable damage to the fruit so it is best to plant the tree with an aviary wire basked around it.  Dried fruit beetles are also an issue by entering the fruit and introducing rots and fungi.  Keep your orchard clean and do not plant these trees next to citrus trees.  Be careful to not purchase infected trees and always check to make sure it is not plagued with mosaic virus that causes a crop reduction.


You must allow the figs to fully ripen before you pick them.  If you pick the fruit when they are immature, they will not ripen.  Be gentle when you harvest to avoid bruising and fresh figs can only be refrigerated for up to three days.  Dried figs from your kadota fig tree will last up to eight months.



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