The Q&A Archives: Fig Tree Losing Leaves

Question: I bought a fig tree in June and planted it by folowing the instruction on the tag that came with the tree. The tree is about 3ft tall and right now it has about 30% to 40% of its leaves. It also has fruit on it, but the fruit when ripe is very dry. It has no taste.
Thank you

Answer: Both problems are related to inconsistent soil moisture and special attention to soil moisture management in fig culture will produce flavorful figs. Most fig tree roots are close to the soil surface and can easily dry out. Figs are very susceptible to soil-borne nematodes that feed on small roots and reduce water movement into the tree. For these reasons, apply water to the trees as summer drought develops. Slight leaf wilting in the afternoon is a good indication of water stress. Mulching with straw or grass clippings helps maintain uniform soil moisture and reduces weed competition for available soil water.

Water stress frequently causes premature fruit drop, dry fruit, and lost leaves. This problem is very common in hot summer weather when the fig tree is grown in shallow soil.

With that said, it is important not to overwater in areas of poor drainage. This forces oxygen out of the soil and the tree can be injured or killed. Good water management, including regular irrigation and mulching, helps maintain tree health and vigor and reduces fruit drop and dry fruit.

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