Using Fig in China to Explore New Criteria to Grade Edible Landscape Plants
By Di Wu
Conventional wisdom accepts that selecting a fruit tree for landscape involves very different priorities than for commercial farming, e.g. extended season instead of concentrated, lower sugar concentration in fruit instead of higher. However, landscaping practices can cause plant to vary so significantly from its farm counterparts of the same exact variety in terms of hardiness, fertility, crop, vigor and yield that almost render its morphological information invalid.
Fig (Ficus carica L.) is a fruiting shrub widely used in landscape. While reputable nurseries have graded “Qingpi” fig to be a cold-hardy, easy-bearing, biferous, vigorous and bountiful variety in a given region of China, landscape architects reported disappointment. Random controlled trials disclosed that the unique pruning practice in landscape is relevant and causational; past studies on the genetics of amino acid uptake for fruit flavor hinted a different composting strategy for better shape formation. Nurseries may consider adding criteria “hardiness when heavily pruned” “fertility when heavily pruned” etc. when grading fig seedlings for sale.
This could be a groundwork for future research of and with traditional nurseries, for eventually constructing a new grading system for a new market, and for fruit trees becoming viable, sustainable and aesthetically-manageable for landscape architects.
Ideas citing this work