REPLACING CAMPHORS WITH FIGS
Native fig trees can provide an excellent fast growing replacement of camphor laurels. When “strangler figs” are planted in the forks of branches or stumps above the height of browsing animals they can be a cheap form of replacement due to the fact that fencing around the tree is not usually required.
Native strangler fig trees most suitable include Moreton Bay Fig (Ficus macrophylla), Small leaved Fig (F. obliqua), Port Jackson Fig (F. rubiginosa), Deciduous Fig (F. superba var.henneana), White Fig (F. virens var. sublanceolata) and Strangler Fig (F. watkinsiana)(Wallace 1981). Gone Native nursery have strangler fig species in stock. Please go to our on line store for more information.
Not all fig species are strangler figs. Creek Sandpaper Fig (F. coronata) and Sandpaper Fig (F.fraseri) grow best in the ground.
Where to plant?
Strangler Figs can be planted in the fork of branches where there is a large enough depression to support the seedling and soil, in planter boxes (with some holes to allow roots to penetrate) in trees, or; in the stump of a hollow dead camphor laurel or other trees.
When planting in the fork of a tree it is often necessary to remove some branches to increase the light available to the fig. Initial follow-up watering is generally required. Native fig trees can also be planted directly into the ground (however more protection is required from grazing animals etc.) as part of a clump planting with pioneer species such as wattles.
Considerations to kill Camphors before planting Figs.
You may wish to treat the camphor with herbicide to kill it outright. It is important that you do this BEFORE you plant your fig, if the fig grows with live camphor, if you treat the camphor after the fig has established growth you may also kill the fig, as roots are often intertwined and herbicide may be passed through both plants. If you do not kill the camphor before planting your fig, it will just take a lot longer for it to strangle it’s weedy host. Camphors can be treated by drill and injection methods with neat herbicide. Contact Gone Native for more information.
How to encourage growth?
Native fig trees can be fed regularly using slow-release fertiliser (or rotted cow manure when established) and require plenty of water and nutrients. In ideal conditions, strangler figs can take over their host within 15-20 years. Keep in mind a fig will generally grow a wider canopy, ensure that the camphor you have ‘figged’ is not too close to structures such as rooves, sheds or overhead wires.
Gone Native is highly experienced in these methods of Camphor laural control. If you need more information or a quote please use the’contact us’ link on this website.
Information prepared by North Coast Weeds Advisory Committee- 2002. Adapted by Macleay Landcare-2011.