Fig production in subtropical south-western Saudi Arabia
This report explores the cultivation of fig tree (Ficus carica L.) in the South-west of Saudi Arabia. This part of the country is arid and has a subtropical climate with warm winters in the plains and cool winters on the mountains. Two common-type fig cultivars are grown in this region, the local 'Baladi' cultivar which commonly produces small sweet fruit with a yellowish green skin, and the cultivar 'Brown Turkey' which was introduced in the eighties. Under local conditions, this cultivar produces medium-sized fruit with brownish skin. The crop matures in late summer at high elevations and in winter (December-March) (off season) in the plains and foot hills. In orchards located at high-elevations, fruit quality is good but production is limited by the scarcity of irrigation water. Land and water resources are more abundant in the coastal plains but no winter chilling occurs there; thus the trees fail to grow properly and growers resort to severe pruning to stimulate new growth. This practice induces vigorous shoot growth during fall and the production of an off-season crop which matures in winter and early spring. The resulting fruit are less colored and have a rather bitter taste. Caprification technique may have to be introduced and investigated to improve fruit quality of these common-type cultivars. Furthermore, the introduction of caprifig cultivars and the Blastophaga wasp will allow growers to plant Smyrna-type fig cultivars with superior quality fruit.
Khemira, H. and Mars, M. 2017. Fig production in subtropical south-western Saudi Arabia. Acta Hort. (ISHS) 1173:169-172
Ficus carica, vegetative growth, pollination, fruit quality, subtropical area