The best way to succeed is to plan before you plant. Let’s discuss location: Do you know where you want to locate your new plant? Avoid many future problems by considering all aspects of the planting spot, such as:
Is a pollinator variety present? Cross-pollination by a different variety, of the same type of tree, is key to the success of many fruit trees. In most cases, its absence is why trees don’t bear fruit or produce poorly.
Your tree would love a sunny place with well-drained, fertile soil. But it will be quite satisfied with six to eight hours of sunlight. Good drainage is required to keep your trees “happy.” If your soil has high clay content, use our Coco-Fiber Potting Medium or add one-third peat to the soil at planting time. We do not recommend planting fruit trees in heavy, pure clay soils.
Even if your yard isn’t the most ideal location, take heart. Fruit trees are very adaptable and respond well to fertilizers, so they can get along well even where the soil is nutritionally poor. Just steer clear of sites with extremely heavy soils or very poor drainage.
If you’d like your tree to become a landscaping asset, choose the planting place with this in mind. Imagine it as a full-grown tree and check everything out: Wires overhead? Sidewalk underneath? Does it obstruct something you want to see? Can you keep an eye on it from the house? Will other trees be in the way, allowing for their additional growth in the meantime?
Even a year or two after planting, your tree will be very difficult to transplant. So take the time to plant it in just the right place.
First-time fruit tree growers often ask about recommended planting distances from patios, sewer lines, water pipes and so on. Ordinarily, patios will not be a problem because the soil beneath them will be dry and compacted. Therefore, the roots will not grow into this area as much. It’s still recommended, however, that you plant at least 8-10’ away from patios, water pipes and sewer pipes. You might not expect sewer and water lines to be affected since they are buried so deeply. But, since sewer and water lines tend to be wet, roots will grow to them and around them if the tree is planted too close. By planting your trees far enough away from these items, you can avoid this problem.
Once you’ve found out about fruit growing goodness firsthand, you’ll want to expand your home orchard. It’s important to plan for tree spacing so that the future growth areas will be ready when you are.
One way to help you visualize your exact tree spacing is by staking out the positions of your present and future plantings. But how do you make sure the hole goes where the stake is? One method is to prepare a notched planting board. The planting board is used to show where the original position was after the hole was dug. To use it, simply put the stake in the tree notch as indicated and then put stakes on each end. Then, remove the board and dig the hole. When the hole is big enough to accommodate the roots, replace the board between the two stakes and place the tree in the tree notch. Use the planting board as a guide, keeping the tree erect. The planting board can be used over and over again.
Successfully establishing a young fruit tree starts with your planting site and method. Once a fruit tree is established, it needs little assistance to grow and bear fruit; but you’ll want to make sure you give your trees the right foundation.
Fruit trees require fertile soil for good growth, so before you plant, check your soil pH. Contact your local County Extension Office for information about soil testing in your area, or purchase one of our digital meters for quick and accurate results. Fig trees enjoy a soil pH between 6.0 and 6.5.
Figs may also be grown in pots and stored in an unheated basement or garage for the winter. If grown in pots, they should be repotted every second year with fresh soil.
Preparing your soil before you plant will greatly improve your plant’s performance and promote healthy, vigorous growth. It is a good idea to have your soil tested to determine if it is lacking in any essential minerals and nutrients. This can be done through your County Extension Office or with one of our digital meters.
The goal of soil preparation is to replenish vital minerals and nutrients, as well as break up and loosen any compacted soil.
Soil preparation can be done at any time that the ground is not too wet or frozen. Your trees may be planted even when temperatures are quite cool. If a hard frost is expected, it is advisable to delay planting for a while until temperatures become more moderate. Generally, as long as your soil is workable, it is fine to plant.
Your lawn can provide you with ideal organic materials such as grass clippings and shredded leaves. Not only will the grass and leaves break down to provide soil nutrients, but they will help loosen the soil as well. You can gather these in the fall with spring planting in mind.
Adding organic materials, such as our Coco-Fiber Potting Medium and compost will improve most every soil type. Organic materials bind sandy soil particles so they retain moisture and nutrients better. They also break apart clay and silt particles, so that water can infiltrate and roots can spread.
If your fig tree is potted or grown in sand, regular fertilization is usually necessary. A well-balanced fruit tree fertilizer like Stark® Tre-Pep® is recommended. Apply according to label instructions.
Every fruit tree has the future potential for disease and insect damage. Factors such as location and weather will play a part in which issues your tree encounters. If available, disease-resistant trees are the best option for easy care; and for all trees, proper maintenance (such as watering, fertilizing, pruning, spraying, weeding, and fall cleanup) can help keep most insects and diseases at bay.
Disease appears on leaves as a small yellowish-orange spots, then enlarges and spreads as the growing season progresses, eventually causing the leaves to drop.
Disease appears as large yellow spots on the leaves, then a rust colored ring surrounds the spot. Can cause fruit to drop and leaves to be smaller.
Small worms that feed on roots and burrow into the root system and eat the roots causing reddish-brown lesions, leaves will turn brown and wilt. Roots swell reducing their ability to absorb water and nutrients.
First appears as small black, yellow or brown spots on leaves, then spots enlarge and merge to affect entire area.
Usually on bark of young twigs and branches, encrusted with small (1/16”) hard, circular, scaly raised bumps with yellow centers, may also be on fruit. Sap feeding weakens the tree.
Adults are ¼“ long, flat, oval shaped with a white waxy covering. Yellow to orange eggs are laid within an egg sac. Crawlers are yellow to brown in color. Over winters as an egg or very immature young in or near a white, cottony egg sac, under loose bark or in branch crotches, mostly found on north side. Damage is by contamination of fruit clusters with egg sacs, larvae, adults and honeydew, which promotes growth of black sooty mold.
You’ll be happy to know that fig trees need very little pruning! Just basic maintenance is all that’s necessary.
Spraying is important to the survival of your trees. To handle potential diseases and pests, reference the guidelines below to know what you should spray, and when you should use it.
Before you begin, read and follow all instructions on labels.
The watering needs of fig trees is dependent on how it is planted. Use the following guidelines to make sure you fulfill your tree’s watering needs.
If your fig tree is growing in a container it will require watering more frequently. The best way to determine if your container needs water is to check the soil by inserting your finger into it. If the feels dry, water your container.
Unless you’re in an area where irrigation is usually needed for normal plant growth, you probably won’t need to water after the first growing season. Until then, follow these steps to get your new trees off to a great start.
We strongly recommend giving figs winter protection in areas colder than zone 7.
An alternate method is to grow them in large tubs or pots and move them into a cool frost-proof cellar or outside building over winter.
Are you ready to enjoy delicious homegrown fruit? Harvest is the time to enjoy the results of your hard work. Keep a few things in consideration as you reap the fruits of your labor: the best time to pick the fruit from your tree, and how to store the fruit.
Figs should be allowed to ripen fully on the tree. Fruit will be a brown/purple color when ripe. Microorganisms carried into the open eye of the fruit by insects will cause souring, so figs need to be picked as they ripen. Fresh figs will only keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days.
You may want to consider using gloves or wearing long sleeves when harvesting. Fig latex, exposed when the fruit is removed from the tree, can cause skin irritation.
Figs are ever-bearers and produce fruit on shoots that grow this year. Next year, they will produce the first crop of the season on wood that grew the previous year, and a second crop on the new seasons growth. In cooler areas, however, the second crop may not have enough time to ripen before cold weather.
Figs may be dried in an oven or in the sun. In either case, choose fully ripe fruit to dry.
When drying in the sun, leave the stems on.
Figs should be dry after about 2 days. Figs are dry when the outside is firm & leathery but pliable and inside is soft with no sign of juice. Store in refrigerator or freezer in moisture proof bags.