Brown Turkey Fig Tree: Easy Guide for Successful Growing

The abundance and diversity of fruit trees on Earth is vast, but only a handful of species are able to captivate one’s attention as much as the Brown Turkey fig tree.

This remarkable tree, known for its luscious fruit and striking appearance, is a testament to nature’s bounty.

Whether you’re looking to diversify your orchard or seeking a low-maintenance yet rewarding tree, the Brown Turkey fig tree is an excellent choice.

How long does it take for a Brown Turkey fig tree to produce fruit? Brown Turkey fig trees typically begin producing 2 to 4 years after planting. However, this can vary depending on the tree’s growing conditions and care. With optimal sunlight, soil, and watering, the tree might bear fruit in its second year, but less-than-ideal conditions could delay fruiting.

In the following sections, we’ll explore the Brown Turkey fig tree in more detail, including its growth rate, fruit production, and much more.

Whether you’re considering planting one in your backyard or recently acquired this fantastic tree, there’s plenty to learn and discover.

Key Takeaways

  • The Brown Turkey fig tree is a medium-sized tree that produces delicious, sweet figs. 
  • This tree is suitable for USDA Hardiness Zones 7-9 and prefers full sun to partial shade and well-drained, loamy soil.
  • Care for the tree includes regular watering, mulching, occasional fertilization, and pruning. The tree is relatively resistant to pests and diseases.
  • The figs are typically ready to harvest from late summer to early fall. They’re ripe when they’re soft to the touch, have a deep color, and are slightly drooping on their stems.

There’s no doubt that the Brown Turkey fig tree is a great choice, but there are many other options to consider. Be sure to read my article Best Fig Tree Varieties to learn about the most popular fig varieties.

Brown Turkey Fig Tree

Before we go deeper into the specifics of the Brown Turkey fig tree, let’s take a look at its basic botanical characteristics:

Botanical NameFicus carica ‘Brown Turkey’
Grow Zones7-9
Mature Height15-25 feet
Mature Width15-25 feet
Growth RateMedium
Light PreferencesFull sun to partial shade
Ideal SoilWell-drained, loamy soil
Watering NeedsModerate, more frequent in dry conditions
Years to Bear2-4 years
Fruit SizeMedium, 2-3 inches in diameter
Fruit TasteSweet with a hint of honey

General Appearance

The Brown Turkey fig tree’s large, deeply lobed leaves create a dense canopy, providing ample shade during hot summer days.

The bark is smooth and silvery-grey, adding a touch of elegance to any landscape.

However, the real showstopper is the fruit — the figs are a beautiful shade of brownish-purple with a succulent pink interior that’s as tender and tasty as it is attractive.

Growth Rate & Mature Size

The Brown Turkey fig tree is known for its medium growth rate. This means that under optimal conditions, you can expect it to grow several feet per year.

However, the exact growth rate can vary depending on the tree’s environment and care. With proper planting and maintenance, the tree can reach a mature height and width of 15-25 feet.

This makes it a versatile choice for various landscape settings. It can serve as a standalone specimen in a backyard, a fruit-producing tree in an orchard, or a decorative tree in a large pot on a patio.

Fruits

The fruits of the Brown Turkey fig tree are a garden treasure. They are medium in size, typically 2-3 inches in diameter, and have beautiful brownish-purple skin that hints at the sweet delights within.

The figs start appearing in late spring to early summer, depending on the local climate. They ripen over time, usually ready for harvest in late summer to early fall.

The exact ripening time can vary, so it’s essential to keep an eye on your tree during these periods.

Two almost-ripe Brown Turkey figs on a healthy tree.

Brown Turkey Fig Taste

The taste of a Brown Turkey fig is a delightful experience. The fruit’s interior is a succulent, vibrant pink flesh that’s sweet and rich.

Many describe the flavor as a perfect balance of sweetness with a hint of honey and subtle nutty notes. This makes them an excellent choice for fresh eating, baking, or making preserves.

The figs’ texture is smooth and chewy, with a slight crunch from the tiny, edible seeds inside, which adds another layer of sensory delight.

Pollination

One of the advantages of the Brown Turkey fig tree is that it doesn’t require another tree to produce fruit.

The tree’s tiny flowers are actually inside the fig, and a specialized wasp, the fig wasp, typically does the pollination.

However, Brown Turkey figs are of the common fig type, which means they can produce fruit without pollination.

This is a significant advantage for home gardeners as it ensures reliable fruit production without the need for additional trees or pollinators.

Hardiness

The Brown Turkey fig tree is notably hardy. It’s suitable for USDA Hardiness Zones 7-9, meaning it can withstand winter temperatures down to 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

This hardiness, combined with its resistance to common pests and diseases, makes it a robust and resilient choice for a wide range of climates and conditions.

However, the Brown Turkey fig tree benefits from care and attention to ensure it stays healthy and productive.

Several young, green fruits growing on a Brown Turkey fig tree.

Brown Turkey Fig Tree Growing Conditions

Growing a Brown Turkey fig tree can be a rewarding experience, especially when you see it flourish and bear fruit. However, like all plants, it has specific growing conditions that it prefers.

Understanding these conditions can help you provide the best care for your tree and ensure it thrives.

Grow Zones

The Brown Turkey fig tree is suitable for USDA Hardiness Zones 7-9. This means it can thrive in regions where the minimum winter temperature ranges from 0 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you’re unsure of your Hardiness Zone, you can find it by entering your zip code into the USDA’s online tool.

It’s important to note that while this tree is quite hardy, it may require some protection in the colder end of this range during harsh winter conditions.

Sun Requirements

Sunlight is a crucial factor in the growth and fruit production of the Brown Turkey fig tree.

This tree prefers full sun to partial shade. Full sun means at least six hours of direct sunlight each day.

However, it can also tolerate partial shade, especially in hotter climates where afternoon shade can prevent overheating.

Soil Preferences

The Brown Turkey fig tree is not overly picky about soil, but it does have its preferences. It thrives best in well-drained, loamy soil.

Loam is a type of soil that combines sand, silt, and clay in a way that promotes good drainage while retaining enough moisture and nutrients for the tree.

The tree also prefers a soil pH that is slightly acidic to neutral (6.0-7.0). You can test your soil’s pH using a soil test kit (like this one) or through your county extension office.

If your soil is too alkaline, you can lower the pH by adding organic matter like compost or peat moss.

Planting Tips

When planting your Brown Turkey fig tree, choose a location that meets its sunlight and soil requirements.

Dig a hole that’s twice as wide and just as deep as the tree’s root ball. Place the tree in the hole, ensuring that the top of the root ball is level with or slightly above the surrounding soil.

This helps prevent water from pooling around the base of the tree, which can lead to root rot.

Backfill the hole with the excavated soil, and water thoroughly. After planting, apply a layer of mulch around the base of the tree to conserve moisture and suppress weeds.

Brown Turkey Fig Tree Care

Once you’ve planted your Brown Turkey fig tree, it’s essential to provide it with the care it needs to grow and produce fruit. Here are some key aspects of tree care to consider:

Watering

Proper watering is crucial for the health of your Brown Turkey fig tree. While the tree is tolerant of drought once established, it’s best to water it regularly, especially during dry periods.

The soil should be kept moderately moist but not waterlogged. A good rule of thumb is to water deeply once a week during dry weather.

However, you may need to adjust this based on your local climate and soil conditions. If the leaves of the tree start to wilt or turn yellow, it may be a sign of overwatering or underwatering.

Mulching

Mulching is a beneficial practice for your Brown Turkey fig tree. It helps conserve soil moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature.

Apply a 2-3 inch layer of organic mulch, such as wood chips or shredded bark, around the base of the tree.

Be sure to leave a gap around the trunk to prevent moisture from accumulating against the bark, which can lead to rot.

Fertilization

While the Brown Turkey fig tree isn’t a heavy feeder, it can benefit from occasional fertilization.

A balanced, slow-release granular fertilizer applied in early spring can provide the nutrients the tree needs for healthy growth and fruit production. This one is excellent.

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when applying fertilizer, and avoid overfertilization, which can lead to excessive leaf growth at the expense of fruit production.

If your soil is rich in organic matter, additional fertilization may not be necessary.

Pruning

Pruning helps maintain the tree’s shape, remove dead or diseased wood, and promote better air circulation and light penetration within the canopy, which can enhance fruit production.

The best time to prune a Brown Turkey fig tree is in late winter when the tree is dormant. Remove any dead, diseased, or crossing branches, and thin out the canopy if it’s overly dense.

Always make clean cuts at a 45-degree angle just above a bud or branch.

Harvesting

Harvesting is the reward for all your hard work. Brown Turkey figs are typically ready for harvest in late summer to early fall.

The figs are ripe when they are soft to the touch, have a rich and deep color, and are slightly drooping on their stems.

To harvest, simply twist the ripe figs off the tree or cut them off with a pair of pruners. Be sure to handle the ripe figs gently to avoid bruising them.

Pests & Diseases

The Brown Turkey fig tree is relatively resistant to pests and diseases. However, it can sometimes be affected by common fig tree issues like fig rust, blight, leaf spot, and fig mosaic virus.

Regularly inspect your tree for signs of these problems, and take action as necessary. If you’re unsure, consult with a local extension service or a professional arborist.

Potential pests include root-knot nematodes, scale insects, beetles, spider mites, and aphids. Netting can help protect your harvest from birds.

Companion Plants

Companion planting can be a great way to enhance your garden’s overall health and appearance.

Select plants that thrive in similar conditions to those of the fig tree and can help attract beneficial insects to your garden.

Plants that do well with the Brown Turkey fig tree include:

  • Lavender
  • Comfrey
  • Thyme
  • Marigolds
  • Mint
  • Strawberries
  • Rue
  • Nasturtium
  • Daisies
  • Sweet William
  • Bee balm
  • Echinacea
  • Black-eyed Susan
  • Sage

Where To Buy

Ready to add a Brown Turkey fig tree to your garden? You can find them at local nurseries, garden centers, or online. Some reliable online sources that I personally recommend include:

Conclusion

The Brown Turkey fig tree is a wonderful addition to any garden. With its beautiful appearance, delicious fruit, and relatively easy care, it’s a tree that offers multiple rewards.

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just a beginner, this tree can bring a touch of Mediterranean charm to your landscape.

Eager to explore more fig tree varieties? Learn all about these amazing options next: