Watering Brown Turkey Fig Tree - Knowledgebase Question

trumbull, CT
Question by oldgrumpy
June 15, 2005
I bought your brown Turkey fig tree at Van Willinghams nursery in No. Branford Ct 10 days ago. I intend to keep it in the container and winter it indoors because we go near or below zero often. I have full sun 10 hours a day now and the temps have been high 80-low 90 degrees lately. The leaves have been wilting and some have turned yellow and dropped off. I have thoroughly watered it about two times since I got it but it hasn't helped. Dont want to lose the tree it has lots of figs on it that are starting to ripen. Am I over or under watering? John Garasimowicz

Answer from NGA
June 15, 2005


It's possible that your new fig tree is stressed out because of the temperatures, especially if the container is getting direct sunlight during the afternoons. Nursery containers can overheat and actually cook the roots of your tree. Either bury the container in the ground, shade it with a shrub, or place it in a larger decorative container to keep sunshine from hitting it directly. Water when the top inch of soil dries out.

Your idea of protecting the tree during the winter months is a good one, but it won't make an acceptable houseplant because it loses its leaves in the fall when the temperatures cool. I know of two ways to overwinter fig trees: When the tree becomes dormant in the fall, wrap with some insulating material such as old blankets, quilts, layers of canvas or even sheets of fiberglass. All insulating material should extend from the ground to the top of the plant. This should be topped with a plastic sheet or large plastic bag in order to keep the insulation dry. Be sure that the plastic does not come in contact with the tree itself. When spring weather arrives, remove the insulating material. The second way is to wait until the tree becomes dormant, then carefully cut the branches back, and wrap the top part of the plant with water proof paper and shredded newspapers. Then dig a trench along side of the tree and lay it down, covering with topsoil. In the spring, set the tree upright, cover the exposed roots with soil, and remove the insulating material.

Best wishes with your new tree!

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