Fig trees are relatively easy to grow and provide sweet, juicy fruit that can be dried, canned and eaten fresh. The fruits of these trees are ready for harvest when they are slightly soft and no longer have the waxy latex coating that young fruits possess. Vigilant care will keep fig trees producing healthy, ample fruit.
Nematodes are a common problem in the sandy soil that fig trees prefer. This problem can be diagnosed by observing the roots for the signature knots nematodes cause. Other symptoms of nematodes include yellowing leaves, poor tree growth and low fruit yield. This infection can be treated with a nematicide. To prevent nematodes, mulch the soil around fig trees and avoid soil that has been used to grow okra, tobacco or tomatoes.
Rust will appear on fig leaves in the form of yellow or orange spots. As fig rust progresses, the leaves may fall off completely, leaving a very poor-looking tree. Treat rust with a neutral copper spray. Fallen leaves should be removed and destroyed. To prevent rust, apply a neutral copper spray in early summer. Follow with additional applications every three or four weeks if you have a particularly wet season.
Fig trees are very sensitive to water conditions. Overwatering of these plants may cause yellowed, drooping leaves. Plant fig trees in well-draining soil. Cover the surrounding ground with a mulch of straw to a depth of 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 inches) to encourage even, moderate moisture. Figs require about 2.5 cm (1 inch) of water per week, which is often provided by natural rains. These trees should be watered in hot, dry weather. Though the soil should be moist, it should never be soaked. Stop watering fig trees after they have been harvested.
Figs require little care to flourish if planted in the right conditions. They can be planted outdoors in warm climates where temperatures stay above -6.67 degrees Celsius (20 degrees Fahrenheit). In cooler climates, figs should be planted in containers and brought inside during cold months. Figs prefer full sun, though young trees should be shaded during the hottest part of the day. Apply a slow-release low-nitrogen fertiliser twice a year.
- AgriLife Extension: Figs
- Purdue University Extension: Fig
- Clemson Cooperative Extension: Fig
- North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service: Home fruit production - Figs
- "Encyclopedia of Plant Care"; Denny Schrock; 2005