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Monday, February 22, 2016

Figs Producing No Fruit

Q. My fig tree produced almost no fruit and no new growth last year.  The leaves looked burned on their perimeter. Any recommendations?

A. This sounds like a water issue; not enough water applied or not watering often enough or both. Water and nitrogen fertilizer is what pushes new growth. They work together.
Fig trees could be considered desert adapted plants (Mediterranean actually). Lack of enough water is a common problem when growing figs here. I see this a lot with figs grown using drip irrigation.
Figs grown in Las Vegas raady for the Farmers Market
The amount of water depends on the size of the plant. Generally, productive figs that have been pruned correctly will require about 30 gallons of water once a week at this time of year. This amount will be applied twice a week around May 1 or when temperatures approach 100F.
Cover the soil with wood chips to a depth of 3 to 4 inches (minimum) and extend it to a distance of at least 3 feet in all directions from the trunk. This will help reduce fruit drop.
If the tree is irrigated with drip irrigation, increase the number of emitters or increase the number of minutes, until you approach the volume of water I am recommending.
Kadota figs grown in Las Vegas
Flood the area under the tree with water from a hose now and capture this water in a 6 foot diameter basin or moat around the tree. This should help flush any possible salts that may have accumulated in the watered area and get the tree off to a good start.

Rock mulch is not a good idea for figs. There is no reason why you cannot have a bountiful crop with nearly any variety of fig in this climate. They all do well here when they are managed correctly.

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