When to Plant a Fig Tree?

Written by kristin urbauer
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When to Plant a Fig Tree?
Newly planted fig trees do best in rich loamy soils. (Fig Tree Branch image by Georgios Alexandris from Fotolia.com)

Fig trees, a type of fruit tree reaching 15 to 30 feet in height, perform well in southern parts of the U.S., such as South Carolina, Georgia and southern California. More than 700 types of fig trees exist, although not all grow in the U.S. These trees grow best in moist, well-drained soil in locations with full sun. The best time to plant a fig tree depends on local weather and temperatures.

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Time Frame

Planting times depend on location and the type of tree planted. Planting fig trees in the spring, works best in most locations, though fall and winter also work in warm areas that rarely experience hard freezes. Fig trees grown in containers should be planted in the spring, regardless of location, according to Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

Reasons

In most climates, planting fig trees in the spring allows adequate time for the tree's roots to become established before hot summer weather arrives. In areas where hard freezes do not occur over the winter, warm temperatures start earlier. Planting in late fall or early winter provides time for the tree to adjust in these locations.

Planting

Put fig trees up to 4 inches deeper in the ground than they were originally planted at the nursery for best results, suggests Clemson Extension. Planting a fig tree as close as 4 feet from a building provides protection from root damage from insects. Adding soil amendments such as lime before planting helps reach the preferred soil pH between 6.0 and 6.5. Older fig trees remain healthy in drought conditions without additional water for as long as two weeks, but newly planted fig trees need approximately 30 gallons of water per week, divided into two to three applications. Mulching around the tree keeps grass and other plants from invading the root area and absorbing nutrients needed by the tree.

Tips

Choose species and cultivars based on local weather for optimal growth. Planting cold hardy varieties such as Brown Turkey increases the chances of successful growth in more northern locations. Take care not to water your newly planted fig tree too late in the season, stopping in the fall to give the fig tree time to harden off before the colder winter months. Likewise, do not fertilise your fig tree in the fall, as this leads to new growth, increasing the risk of cold damage to tender, new foliage.

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