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  • Watering in rainy locations

    I live in a rainy location. It rains about 8 inches per month from may to november. I have seen videos and posts about how figs become bland and even split due to the rain. In my VERY limited experience so far, my Black Mission figs did become bland when they matured while it was raining. I am growing my figs right now in pots, with 14 inch diameters (I explain below why this is important).

    I have been thinking about how to manage the irrigation for my figs, so I did some experiments.

    1) First I waited for a moment were the pots were rather dry and added water to see how much water I would need to add to each pot. Each pot would take about 1 gallon before water started to drip from the bottom. So I figured that 1 gallon of water per pot is the net requirement of each pot.
    2) I then went and researched daily rain amounts and calculated how much water my pots are receiving FROM rain. To my surprise, most typically, pots will get LESS than a gallon on a rainy day. Only one or two days each month I get more than 1 gallon. Every two months I get two gallons. To get a gallon of rain into a 14 inch pot, it would have to rain 1.5 inches on a given day. Most typically, rain is less than 1.5 inches on any given day.

    This blew my small brain.... I must be missing something.... Why is rain so detrimental for figs?

    Maybe my estimation of 1 gallon per 14 inch pot is too much, or maybe there is some other factor I am not considering.

    Any ideas?
    Panama City, Panama (13B) and Miami, Florida (10A)
    Current wish list: Nuestra Señora del Carmen, Smith, Col de Dame Blanc, Italian I-258, Alma

  • #2
    It’s actually Humidity and Barometric Pressures when the Figs are swelling and ripening that usually causes the issues of excessive swelling and splitting.

    Your water and rain estimates seem appropriate. My trees usually completely shade my 12” diameter 5 Gallon buckets, so excess rain water during rain events had never been an issue, high winds are usually the cause of worry.
    Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b


    • don_sanders
      don_sanders commented
      Editing a comment
      Agree with the humidity and water directly on the figs themselves. Never really thought about the pressure. Do you think it is related to the reduced transpiration in higher pressure or something else??

      I normally have to water even in the rain. Unless I get about an inch or two+, I don't normally skip a watering.

    • elriba
      elriba commented
      Editing a comment
      Maybe I am wrong, but I believe that figs grown on containers in greenhouses do not split and don't go bland in taste. I imagine that humidity in the greenhouse is always high, and the barometric pressure will be the same outside as inside the greenhouse.....

      I was thinking more along the line of number of continued hours with top soil moisture. But I am really, really guessing here....

    • AscPete
      AscPete commented
      Editing a comment
      don_sanders ,

      "Pressure" , change in Barometric Pressure wasn't my idea, it was put in my head...
      and is easily observed.

      http://figs4fun.com/Links/FigLink129.pdf (The Fig: Botany, Horticulture and Breeding; M. A. FLAISHMAN, V. RODOV. AND E. STOVER)
      "Rain may cause fruit splits. Splitting is the result of sudden changes in the internal fruit pressure brought on by cool temperatures and/or high humidity as the fruit matures (Freguson et al. 1990)."

  • #3
    We have had a crazy amount of rain this year (for this time of year) here in Texas (particularly the southeast part of the state). I have not had to water even my potted trees but maybe once or twice in the past 3 weeks and the soil in the containers remains damp. Even though much of the rain water is not actually getting into the pot (due to the leaves shedding the water as AscPete mentioned), the ambient humidity has prevented the soil from drying out and also it has probably kept the leaves from losing as much water as they would normally lose.

    I'll say, even without much rain, Preto and other figs but especially Preto can split. We remain very humid throughout the summer, so I do believe that ambient humidity has a lot to do with splitting of certain figs.
    Zone 8b, College Station, TX
    Wish List: Maltese Beauty, CLBC.


    • elriba
      elriba commented
      Editing a comment
      Makes sense. Thanks!