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Fig Tree Nutrition

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  • Fig Tree Nutrition

    Adequate fertilization of potted fig trees will reward you with more edible produce at the end of the fruiting season. Providing the fig trees with proper readily available nutrition will almost guarantee healthy productive growth. Feeding schedules are used by gardening hobbyists and commercial farmers, making a feed schedule for cuttings through mature trees will not only document what you feed your trees but will be helpful with diagnosing problems that occur and provide you with a reference for any needed modifications during the growing season. The documentation can be extremely helpful in replicating the successes and avoiding failures and or poor performance.

    Before a schedule is created the plant nutrient requirements and your fertilizer preferences have to be considered. There are 17 (seventeen) essential plant nutrients that are directly involved in plant metabolism and "essential" to a plants life-cycle. A deficiency in any one of the 17 essential nutrients will reduce growth and production, even though the others may be abundantly available.

    The essential nutrients can be divided into two categories, Major nutrients (Macro-nutrients) and Minor nutrients (Micro-nutrients or Trace elements);

    Major (Macro):
    Carbon (C)
    Hydrogen (H)
    Oxygen (O)

    Nitrogen (N)
    Phosphorus (P)
    Potassium (K)
    Sulfur (S)
    Calcium (Ca)
    Magnesium (Mg)

    Minor (Micro):
    Molybdenum (Mo)
    Copper (Cu)
    Boron (B)
    Manganese (Mn)
    Iron (Fe)
    Chloride (Cl)
    Nickel (Ni)
    Zinc (Zn)

    Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen are provided in Air and Water which leaves the other 14 essential nutrient to be supplied by fertilizer, supplements and or the growing medium. Basic N-P-K fertilizers provide Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium (NPK). Limestone supplies Calcium and Magnesium while Gypsum supplies Calcium and Sulfur, both provide additional micro-nutrients. Some "Complete" fertilizers include the necessary micro-nutrients which are also available in several mineral supplements like Azomite and Ironite.

    The essential nutrients have to be available to the growing plants whether they are provided thorough Organic or Mineral (chemical) means. This approach to growing potted fig trees can be summed up with Liebig's Law of minimum and Liebig's barrel, the visual representation of Liebig's law (1).
    " Just as the capacity of a barrel with staves of unequal length is limited by the shortest stave, so a plant's growth is limited by the nutrient in shortest supply."


    A feed schedule can chart the supplied nutrients and can be used to schedule application of required nutrients at the correct stage of plant growth, this is sometimes referred to as the Grow and Bloom stages. The Grow stage requires an increase of N relative to the ratios of P and K. The Bloom stage required an increase of P and a decrease of N in the N-P-K ration for best flower and fruit production. The Grow and Bloom stages can be separated by a plants growth characteristics, the trees produce new vegetative growth and fig bearing nodes in the 1st third (1/3) of the growing season, the Grow fertilizers are applied to nourish this vegetative growth. The Bloom stage fertilizers are applied at the second part of the same growing season for the development and ripening of the fig fruits / flowers. During the entire growing season any additional supplements, Calcium, Magnesium etc can be added to the schedule for future reference or inclusion.

    Providing sufficient amounts of all the necessary essential nutrients will allow the plants to grow to their optimum potential. Exploiting the science gets the most growth and production out of "sterile" growing conditions of container grown plants. Utilizing readily available and inexpensive water soluble fertilizers can get fig cuttings off to fast healthy starts, then they can easily be switched over to any preferred fertilization or growing method, organic or mineral based. Whether employing Organic or Mineral / Chemical methods of fertilization, providing all the necessary nutrients to the fig trees on a timely schedule will result in optimal growth and production.


    References:
    1. Liebig's Law Wikipedia... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liebig...of_the_minimum
    2. Liebig's Barrel Video... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1_G104W6AU
    3. Plant Nutrition Wikipedia... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plant_nutrition
    4. Mittlieder Pre-plant... http://growfood.com/wp-content/uploa...eps_Chpt_1.pdf
    5. GH Hydroponic Feed schedules... http://generalhydroponics.com/feedcharts/
    6. Fertilizer Database... http://agr.wa.gov/PestFert/Fertilize...tDatabase.aspx

    • figgrower
      #14
      figgrower commented
      Editing a comment
      When is it best to stop fertilizing for the year?

    • Fygmalion
      #15
      Fygmalion commented
      Editing a comment
      Great information, Pete and much appreciated by me and many other newbie's learning about how best to grow our trees and maximize health and production... all part of the journey....

      Cheers,
      Tony

    • AscPete
      #16
      AscPete commented
      Editing a comment
      The feed schedules can also be modified for use with fig trees with growth severely retarded by nutrient deficiencies, known FMV infection(s) and or being severely root bound in small containers. All the necessary ingredients can be purchased at any "Big Box Store". They are supplied healthy well aerated soil with beneficial soil microbes and placed on a fertigation schedule, the fertilizers provide all the essential required nutrients and can be easily increased if there is accelerated early growth.
      [ATTACH=CONFIG]n108135[/ATTACH]

      The trees typically have to be bare-rooted, possibly pruned to remove sections of extremely close inter-node spacing and or existing growing tips then up potted to a well aerated potting mix. Most commercially available potting mixes will work with the addition of some additional Perlite (sifted through a window screen to remove perlite dust). If done during the growing season they can be bare-rooted in a water bath to reduce damage to existing roots. Once established the trees could be switched over to a 100% Organic fertilizer feed schedule.
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