Ants love figs, so harvest promptly

Garden Q&A

October 05, 1997

My 3-year-old fig tree is finally producing ripe figs. I'm a little upset, however, by the ants that crawl into the opening that appears on the bottom of the ripe fruits.

Is there anything I can do about this?

The small opening, referred to as the "eye," is common on most fig varieties. Ants find the sweet interior irresistible. But they do crawl out when you disturb them, and they don't usually affect the eating quality of the figs.

You may be leaving your figs on the tree too long. Try to harvesting them as soon as they are fully colored and begin to droop a bit.

By the way, Celeste is one of the fig varieties that is well adapted to our area. It has a very small eye.

I grew hop plants to cover a trellis this summer and they grew beautifully. I even harvested a bagful of aromatic cones to make my own beer. What do I do now? Should I leave the vines?

Cut the vines down to the ground and mulch the crowns after a hard freeze. New shoots will emerge in the spring. Remove all but two or three shoots, or your planting may become overcrowded.

Garden tips are provided by the Home and Garden Information Center of the Cooperative Extension Service of the University of Maryland. For more information on these questions, or if you have questions of your own, call the center's hot line at 800-342-2507 or visit its Web site at http: // www.agnr.umd.edu/hgic.

Checklist

* Water landscape plants regularly during dry weather this fall.

* Test the soil of garden beds and turf areas that have not been tested in the past three years.

* Remove large dead branches and entire dead trees promptly if their location could cause them to become hazardous to people, structures or other plants.

Pub Date: 10/05/97

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