now that i've gotten through two seasons with a fig, i have a few questions. i planted a 4' tree ( a lattarulla-type, maybe peter's honey) in may '07 in a protected corner of my south-facing jersey city back yard. the tree grew a lot in its first season and cruised through last winter with almost no twig dieback, but didn't start leafing out until mid-may this year, a full month after everything else--maples, roses, cherries, even grasses. leaves didn't mature and fill in until late june, at which point 2 or 3 figs popped out, eventually dropping off before ripening. the main crop started appearing in august after an impressive growth spurt (most of the twigs added 3-5' of growth), and a few figs ripened in september. now, with leaves yellowing and falling off and freezing temperatures just a week away, there are 50 or 60 moderately large figs lining the branches, just on the verge of ripening but unable to develop any further.
so here are my questions: last winter was quite mild and spring was cool and wet. did this delay the fig's leafing out, or are figs always late compared with everything else? if a full set of leaves isn't in place until june, will the main crop always arrive too late to ripen? does thinning out the crop encourage the remaining figs to develop more quickly? is there a moment in spring when fertilizing might hasten the process? and if i prune back some of this year's new wood, will the twigs that sprout next year from the pruning points bear fruit? the tree has doubled in size in 18 months and it's threatening to take over the yard, at which point the figs will be out of reach for everyone except squirrels.