How to Care For a Fig Tree
Fig trees are a beautiful addition to any garden. They produce delicious fruit, add color and texture to your garden and require little maintenance once they’re established. The hardy, drought-resistant plants can even survive winter temperatures as low as -10 degrees Fahrenheit, but only if they’ve been properly cared for during the summer.
If you are lucky enough to have a fig tree in your garden, it is important to know how to care for it properly. In this guide, we will discuss the best way to take care of your fig tree so that you can enjoy its delicious fruit for years to come.
What are fig trees?
Fig trees are a type of deciduous tree that belongs to the mulberry family. The trees are native to Asia, Africa and Europe, but they can also be found in North America. Fig trees can grow up to 30 feet tall and produce fruit that is edible for both humans and animals.
Figs are a favourite fruit of many people with an interest in healthy eating. Not only are they sweet, unique fruits, but they can be grown in almost any region that experiences the growing season. While fig trees can produce fruits year after year if properly cared for, there are some steps you should take to ensure your tree produces the best fruit possible.
The most common type of fig tree is the Common Fig (Ficus carica), which is the species that is grown commercially for its fruit. Other popular types of fig trees include Desert Fig (Ficus platypoda), Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina) and Banyan Fig (Ficus bengalensis).
How to identify fig trees
Fig trees can be identified by their characteristic fig leaves, which are large and heart-shaped. The leaves are a deep green color and have a wavy edge. Fig trees also produce small flowers that are white or pink in color.
The fruit of the fig tree is also unique, and can be identified by its shape and size. The fruit is round to oval in shape and ranges from ½ inch to ¾ inch in diameter. The skin of the fruit is smooth and green when ripe, but it turns brownish-black when overripe. The flesh of the fruit is soft and sweet, with a nutty flavor.
What do fig trees need?
Fig trees require full sun exposure for at least six hours per day in order to produce fruit. The trees also need well-drained soil that is high in organic matter. Figs prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH of around six.
In terms of watering, fig trees should be watered deeply and regularly during the growing season. During the winter, you can reduce the amount of water you give your fig tree, as the plant will go dormant and won’t need as much water.
The fig tree requires regular watering throughout the growing season, which typically lasts from mid-spring through early fall. Water the fig tree once every seven to 10 days during the dry summer months, but do not overwater. The soil should be moist but not soggy to prevent the roots from rotting. The fig tree can tolerate periods of drought, but this can affect fruit production.
Fertilizing your fig tree is also important, and should be done two or three times per year using a balanced fertilizer. Apply the fertilizer around the drip line of the tree, which is the area where the leaves meet the ground.
A healthy dose of 10-10-10 fertilizer can be applied to the fig tree in spring and again in early summer. Apply 1 tsp of fertilizer per inch of trunk diameter around the drip line of the tree. Do not allow the fertilizer to come into contact with the trunk of the fig tree or leaf burn could occur. Water thoroughly after applying fertilizer to help wash it into the soil where it will be absorbed by the roots.
Pruning and training
Pruning your fig tree is also necessary to encourage new growth and to keep the tree from getting too large. Prune the tree in early spring, before new growth begins.
The fig trees grow best when trained to a single trunk and allowed to develop a spreading canopy that provides adequate shade for ripening fruit. Cut away any suckers that appear at the base of the tree. These are fast-growing shoots that can take away nutrients from the main trunk and lower branches of the fig tree.
Cut back any dead or diseased branches, as well as any branches that are crossing or rubbing against each other. Thin out the canopy of the fig tree to allow light and air to reach the inner branches.
After the tree has been pruned, it can be trained to a single trunk by tying the main shoot to a stake. The stake should be taller than the height you want the fig tree to reach.
Mulch helps keep weeds at bay, moderates soil temperatures and helps retain moisture in the ground, all of which are beneficial to fig trees. Apply a layer of organic mulch such as wood chips or straw around the base of your fig tree, being careful not to pile it up against the trunk. Mulch should be applied in early spring and replenished as needed throughout the season.
What to consider before going for a fig tree
Fig trees are a great choice for home growers because of their adaptability and tolerance. The fig is suitable for growing in a wide range of conditions, so you can grow a fig tree in almost any climate, but there are a few things to consider first.
- First, fig trees require a lot of sunlight, so make sure you have a spot in your garden that gets at least six hours of direct sun.
- Fig trees need well-drained soil, so if your garden has heavy clay soil, you may need to amend the soil with compost or other organic matter.
- Finally, fig trees prefer acidic soil with a pH of around six, so consider checking the pH level of your soil before planting.
Tips for caring for a fig tree
Now that you know all about fig trees and how to take care of them properly, it’s time to put what you’ve learned into practice. Here are some tips on how to care for your fig tree:
- Plant your fig tree in full sun and in well-drained soil.
- Water your fig tree deeply and regularly during the growing season, and reduce watering during the winter.
- Fertilize your fig tree two or three times per year using a balanced fertilizer.
- Prune your fig tree in early spring to encourage new growth.
- Train your fig tree to a single trunk and allow it to develop a spreading canopy.
- Check the pH level of your soil before planting to make sure it is acidic with a pH of around six.
- If you live in an area that experiences freezing temperatures, the first thing you should do is cover your tree with burlap. This will keep it protected from frost and wind. You can also use plastic sheeting, but this will not allow for the same amount of air circulation as burlap does.
- You should remove all fruit from the tree before the first frost arrives. Removing these fruits also protects the tree from disease because any fruit that remains on the tree after it freezes could rot and spread bacteria or illness to other parts of the plant.
Transplanting a fig tree
- Choose a site that receives at least 8 hours of direct sunlight per day. Figs do not tolerate shade well and may not fruit if they are not properly exposed to the sun.
- Dig a hole twice as wide as the container your fig tree is currently growing in. The hole should also be slightly deeper than it is wide.
- Mix compost or composted manure into your garden soil at a rate of one part compost to three parts soil until you have created loose, crumbly soil that drains easily. Figs require well-drained soil to thrive.
- Remove your fig tree from its container by gripping it at the base of the trunk with one hand and pulling gently. If the tree is stuck, tap the sides of the container with a hammer to loosen it before trying to remove it again.
- Place your fig tree in the center of the planting hole and fill in around it with the amended soil, tamping down lightly as you go. Water deeply to settle the soil around the roots.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are fig trees easy to take care of?
Yes, fig trees are relatively easy to take care of. They are tolerant of a wide range of conditions and do not require much pruning or fertilizing. However, they do need full sun and well-drained soil to thrive.
Can I grow a fig tree in my backyard?
Yes, you can grow a fig tree in your backyard as long as you have a spot that gets at least six hours of direct sun per day and well-drained soil.
Should fig trees be pruned?
Yes, fig trees should be pruned in early spring to encourage new growth. Pruning also helps keep the tree healthy and compact.
How long does it take for a fig tree to bear fruit?
It can take up to four years for a fig tree to bear fruit. However, some varieties of fig trees will produce fruit the first year they are planted.
In order for a fig tree to grow well, several elements need to be taken into account, such as balance in nutrition and adequate light, warmth, water and air circulation.
In providing care for this plant, it is necessary to grow the plant in soil that has an abundant supply of nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus and other nutrients. Fertilizer should be applied at the base of the plant rather than on the leaves.
In general, fig trees are pretty tough and require minimal attention to survive. Most maintenance will be related to keeping them adequately fed and watered. It’s very important that the area where you first plant the fig tree has good drainage. If at all possible, avoid planting a fig tree in a large container or clay pot, as they are especially susceptible to root rot. If it gets too hot where you live, take advantage of the summer by putting your fig tree on a trip out-of-state or up north on vacation with you.