Fig Trees - Knowledgebase Question

Lanoka Harbor, NJ
Question by marilynhellm
August 7, 2006
I have two fig trees, both of which are presenting problems for me. My Brown Turkey Fig was planted last year. It was covered for the winter to protect it from freezing. This spring we almost dug it up because we thought it was dead. It has since sprouted from it's base and is starting to look more like a bush than a tree. How do I prune it and prtect it from freezing. It has not produced any fruit this year.
My Peter's Honey Fig was left in it's original pot. It wintered in the garage. It has done well in the pot all summer and has at least a dozen fig on it. The problem with this tree is that the figs have been in the same stage of development for at least a month. Even with temperatures over 100.

Thank you,

Answer from NGA
August 7, 2006


Brown Turkey can be grown outdoors in your area, however it is not at all unusual for it to freeze back to the ground in winter and then grow as a bush rather than a tree. It should be able to regrow and bear a crop of figs each summer nonetheless. In this instance, pruning would consist of removing the winter killed stems, and possibly thinning the new growth to five stems although I doubt this will be necessary. Here is some general information on growing figs in the ground you may find helpful.

Water stress can cause the figs to stay small and hard. These trees are drought tolerant when grown in the ground, but in a container you have to pay special condition to watering. This is especially true in hot summer weather. It should be in a large container and the soil should really be thoroughly moistened throughout when you water it in summer. (You not want it waterlogged, and the soil and container should drain out excess freely, but the soil should not be allowed to dry out.) Also, the container should be lifted up off the pavement several inches to allow air flow under it (reflected heat off a deck or patio is incredibly intense) and if possible, try to shade the container (just the pot, not the plant) at the hottest part of the day. Sometimes you can do this by putting another container plant in front of it to block the sun from hitting the pot, or by setting a piece of furniture in front of it.

I hope this helps you trouble shoot.

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