I live in Fresno, California, and have a very healthy Kadota Fig tree in my back yard. There is nothing on the Internet describing how I care for this tree, so I am making this gallery available. I grew up on a farm near Modesto, where we grew and shipped fresh Kadota figs (~1950 - 1960) via rail to the midwest. The figs were packed in little wooden boxes packed by size. That industry died off, and apparently so did the method of cultivating the Kadotas.
I prune my tree heavily in winter, and thin it (remove new growth) in spring. This results in a tree loaded with fruit starting mid-August, with new fruit developing continuously until the weather gets too cold, about mid-October. I am not sure how well a Kadota tree pruned differently (or not pruned at all) will produce, but this method produces very well.
Climate: It is hot in summer, often 100 degrees F or more. It is unusual to have a high temp below 90 F. Winters are mild, with frosty nights between November and February, but almost never below 28 F. Killing frosts at 25 or below are seldom, but the Kadota seems to survive those without problems. This is the climate of the California's Great Central Valley (includes the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys, from Bakersfield north to Redding)
Pruning: This is the trick that is so unique to this fig variety in this climate. The tree is grown close the ground. after several years, the branches should be horizontal, radiating out from the trunk. NEVER allow the Kadota to grow too tall to reach the fruit from the ground. In fact, the main limbs should not get higher than shoulder high. Optimum for the main branches is about waist-high. Once established, I prune radically every winter, after all the leaves have frozen and fallen. Prune all new growth back to 1 to 2 inches, leaving only two or three buds on a stub. Sometimes I'll remove the entire stub if there are too many in an area. And if I want to extend the main branch, I'll leave a horizontal branch 12-18 inches.
Thinning: New branches sprout from the short stubs in spring. About a third to half are ripped off -- easy to do when they are 6 to 18" tall. The point is to have one or two new branches growing up from last year's stub. All the fruit forms on these new branches. This fruit is known as "new crop" figs. Apparently an early crop on old growth will form if the tree is not pruned, or pruned differently. I have no experience with that. If I had more space, maybe I'd plant a second tree and let it grow unpruned to see the result.
Water: In the hot climate, the fig tree thrives on lots of water. I use drip irrigation, run 4 nights per week for about 150 minutes. The tree is probably getting 40 gallons or so each watering. The soil is always damp under the tree, but never muddy. I use a rotating head drip sprinkler (~10 gph?) to disperse a circle probably about 10' in diameter, plus ~4 2-gph drippers.
I tried planting a black mission fig with this tree, with the trunks in the same hole, tightly together. I pruned the Black Mission the same way, but the figs were huge, with the bud opening large as it ripened, and bugs invaded. I finally cut it down since most fruit was destroyed by the bugs.
I spray the tree in the spring with left over copper-sulfate/dormant oil spray from my peach leaf-curl spray. I think this keeps the early fig rot problem down -- when the figs ripen in mid-August, in some years when I didn't use the fungicide, most fruit would get brown rot from the blossom opening.
If you have any questions or comments, please email me: email@example.com