Type your question here!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Figs Dropping From Tree

Q. We planted a fig tree a couple of years ago. Year before last it produced a couple of figs. Last year there were perhaps a dozen figs which never got larger than a small grape. These did not emerge until November and never grew to full size. The tree was fertilized with 16-16-16 commercial fertilizer, and had plenty of water. Can you tell us why the fruit did not mature and what we might do to have a better result this next season?

A. The usual problem is not watering at the right time and keeping the soil moist during production of fruit. We can get two good crops of figs here. The first one is called the Briba crop and is borne on last year’s wood (2013 growth).
This is the Briba crop. Notice how the figs are developing on older, brown wood from last year. You can see the new growth pushing from the terminal bud, is green and about two inches long.
            The second crop is the Main crop and grows on the current season wood (2014 growth). If the tree is pruned or last years wood is killed by freezing weather, you will only get a main crop.
This picture shows you the larger Briba crop still developing at the bottom on older wood. Above these fruit are smaller fruit still developing on this years growth, the main crop. The Briba crop will be harvested while the main crop is still developing.
            The main crop occurs when it gets hot and if the tree is not getting enough water the figs will get button sized, get hard and drop off. There is a potential third crop in about September and October but the weather does not stay warm enough in the fall for it to mature.
            This third crop will get button sized and will fail to develop due to winter weather coming in. That third crop may form without the summer crop if the tree is not getting enough water. Then in the fall it is getting enough and tries to set fruit but it is too late and fails.
Although this is another readers picture, this is what this reader is probably talking about. Late season figs never get to ripen. However, if you keep the soil moist during the summer months, the first two crops will ripen.
            I would mulch around the tree with about four inches of wood mulch and cover the soil to a distance of about six feet from the trunk. Water in a basin around the trunk about six feet in diameter.
            The basin should be able to hold at least two inches of water but four would be better. Fill the basin with water each time you irrigate. Water once a week now, twice a week in May, three times a week in June, drop it to twice a week in September and once a week mid October.
            Once the leaves fall off in winter you can water about every 10 to 14 days. Fertilize once in February with a fruit tree fertilizer or four fertilizer stakes per tree, one in each quadrant of the irrigation basin.

No comments:

Post a Comment