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  • Figs Dropping, but why?

    Not sure why, but the figs are dropping from one of my trees gifted to me by my neighbor last year, who was tired of taking care of it. I do not know anything about this tree, neither did he, other than it has figs in September. I am growing this tree in a pot, and was hoping to have these figs for identification attempt later in the year on this forum, but it does not look like this will happen. Regardless, the tree looks healthy, deep green large leaves on rigid stems with lots of fruit set. Figs are about an inch long, fairly skinny, turning purple, drooping down and falling. Does not look like the tree is stressed or under/over watered. I feed my trees every 7-10 days same feed as others which are thriving. Any idea what may be going on with this tree, especially figs.

    Feedback would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you.

    IcyFig007
    Fairfield County, CT - Zone 7a

  • #2
    There are so many questions to ask. Did you do anything with it since you received it from your neighbor? Have you fertilized it? If so what kind? How much do you water it? Does it drain well? What are the roots like? Rootbound or otherwise? How big is the pot? Soil pH?

    hello stranger, lets get to know your Fig 😁
    cheers!
    wnc Z7a Hominy Valley
    wish list: a world without Invasive Pests

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    • #3
      Pics pics pls!
      Zone 10b, Long Beach CA
      Creator of The Original Wasp In Fly Out (WIFO) Bags
      Wish list: Bebera Branca

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      • #4
        Thank you for responding. I know that there are many variables. To answer few of the questions. It is is 8 Gal pot, with well drained soil (mix 50/50 lobster compost/pinebark nuggets.) I fertilize it with Jobes organic general purpose (slow release) and I follow feeding regiment per some instructions on YouTube from reputable sources that grow figs. PH is around 7, light is excellent (10+ hours of Sun) and soil moisture is also good. My other trees are doing well. I have many trees following the same methodology doing well. (LSU Champagne/Purple/Tiger, Smith, I-258,VbB,RdB,LdA, etc).

        Thank you.
        Fairfield County, CT - Zone 7a

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        • #5
          Just based on the information available, I have a theory. I could be totally, 100% wrong, but it explains pretty much everything. 100% conjecture though, I admit.

          You're in connecticut. September... that's pretty early for such a cold place, different light, etc. Might be a breba that he had, and he didn't notice the main crop drop. Did he indicate what size figs they were?

          It sounds like it's a San Pedro-type, and maybe somehow it didn't keep the breba buds from last year so you didn't get a usable crop this year. Those breba buds have to be preserved.
          My CollectionFor TradeWish ListMy Listings
          Zone 8A •
          Greenville, NC

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          • Rewton
            Rewton commented
            Editing a comment
            Actually September is pretty much mid season for main crop in CT. At least that is my impression - others correct me if I'm wrong.

          • ginamcd
            ginamcd commented
            Editing a comment
            Rewton September is mid-season for me up in MA 5b/6a, and I know from years of comparing my notes with Joe's reports that RI 6b is typically two weeks ahead of me. I'm guessing CT 7a bit ahead of RI.

          • Shaft
            Shaft commented
            Editing a comment
            I guess it depends on your definition of early. I'm mostly interested in late varieties like black madeira and col de dame. Mid-season to me still falls in the early camp but at this point I think we're discussing shades of grey. Mentioning it being early or mid or whatever else is just me explaining why I'm leaning towards the breba idea, not any thing specific to do with climate. Emphasis on the breba as I know nothing about anything colder than North Carolina.

        • #6
          Icyfig007 Have you cut open any of the figs to see if there might be an insect inside or some clue as to the reason for their falling off so small? We had a gopher chewing on roots and the figs stayed small, now I have a giant toothpick to make into cuttings. Yours is in a pot so probably not that problem, although I have had them climb into pots believe it or not. I hope the tree is not a caprifig, but none of mine drop figs so small. Did you take the rootball out and look at it to see if there might be snails or beetles or anything in there that could be chewing on the roots? If you can tip it out carefully, if the roots are not sturdy don't do that, I check mine since I have found pill bugs and slugs sometimes. Shaft's ideas seem plausible too.
          Ellen
          Valley Center, Ca 9b
          Rancho Los Serranos Organic Farm

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          • #7
            I like Shaft's guess. I picture would help us determine if your problem is with brebas.

            I doubt that it's a San Pedro, however. Now it the time a SP starts to ripen around here. My DK types have some fruits the size of peaches.

            So if it is brebas, I'd guess a Violette de Bordeaux type. Given how I prune, I don't get many brebas on Common figs, but one of my VdB-type Nero 600Ms dropped a breba a couple days ago.
            Joe, Z6B, RI.

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            • #8
              I agree with Joe, likely brebas that are dropping now. You're in a warmer climate than me and September is when the bulk of my mid-season varieties start to ripen their main crop. If this variety starts ripening it's main crop that late in your climate, then could easily be something in the VdB family which for me ripened in October up here.
              “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
              – Source Unknown
              MA 5b/6a

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              • #9
                Today i realized i Had main crop drying & falling so investigated to find a massive Ant & pill bug infestation in the soil. Def check bottom of pot for ants & bugs!
                wnc Z7a Hominy Valley
                wish list: a world without Invasive Pests

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                • #10
                  Thank you to all who responded. I may have figured out to what was going on. Time will tell. Out of 43 fruit that tree had I lost about 11 meaning they dropped, but others appear to be okay. The reason may have been water or lack off. Even though the tree looked healthy and there were no signs of water deprivation, figs themselves were drying up showing lots of ridges and turning pruple and dropping. Out of desperation, I dumped 3 gallons of water into that pot in the evening and in the morning many of my figs plumped out into a healthier form. Swelled some and look started looking normal for that stage of growth/maturity.

                  Not sure if this is supposed to be happening, but I guess nature knows better. Regardless, I would have thought that from lack of water the foliage would first show signs of stress, but no, not in my case or on that fig tree. Ironically figs at the top of the branch and the very first ones from the bottom where affected the most in this scenario. Middle ones were, but not as much as the bottom, top ones. How could that be? Nature's mystery. The figs that dropped were very spongy. Cutting one open it was a regular miniature fig with tiny seeds -sad. I did have some bugs (pill bugs) on the bottom of the pot (outside), not in the drainage holes from what I could tell when checked. I also realized that the pot was missing few drainage holes as opposed to my other pots. The soil on the bottom was moist, but on the wetter side, suggesting that the top roots may not have had enough moisture. Drilled more holes for better drainage, so all my pots have the same amount. I hope my assessment of this situation is correct and as long as the tree is happy and figs - so I know what fig that is, I am happy.

                  Again, thank you for all who responded and their suggestions.

                  September here in Fairfield county is still good season for figs and days can be fairly hot especially in full sun like my figs are. Mid to upper 70's with may days into the 80's, although nights are getting cooler. Last year I had some VdB figs in early October that were still very good. Hoping to taste some JH Adriatic towards end of September assuming they make it, and are looking good at the present time.

                  IcyFig007
                  Fairfield County, CT - Zone 7a

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                • #11
                  When they get stressed, they always dump figs first. At this time of year it's frequently due to under watering. If your mix is not staying consistently moist, increase your watering until it does. I have to resort to twice daily waterings when temps start climbing into the 80's, otherwise they get just their daily watering until run off.
                  “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
                  – Source Unknown
                  MA 5b/6a

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                  • #12
                    There seems to be this myth that has been propagated over the years that fig trees should have water withheld during the growing season. I've seen people covering their trees with trash bags to prevent rain from getting in there. I've heard how we should withhold water while figs are ripening to make them taste better. In my opinion, it is terrible, terrible, terrible advice. The advice is so bad that I think I'm going to make a video about it.

                    Stop withholding water from fig trees during the growing season, folks!

                    Fig trees absolutely crave water. They love it, and the hotter it is, the more they want it. If you don't water your fig trees enough during the summer, you will get terrible cases of rust. You'll get leaf drop. You'll get fruit drop. I fully saturate my plants every single day during the growing season, and it has no adverse effect on taste. There is, literally, no benefit to under-watering your fig trees. You'll only have problems.

                    The thing that ruins fig quality is getting the fruits themselves wet. It's heavy, prolonged rain on the trees themselves that cause problems with fruit splitting, poor taste, insect attacks and spoilage. If you can erect some type of cover over your trees so the fruits themselves stay dry, that will dramatically help fruit quality, but there is no benefit to preventing the roots' access water.

                    Don't confuse my statement above with over-watering. Over-anything is "too much" by definition, and when we sometimes get those 3 inch afternoon rain deluges, that's not good for anything in my yard except the bananas. But fig trees like to be very well-watered.
                    Zone 8A Southeast NC Coast
                    Subscribe via YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/TheMillennialGardener
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                    • KDAD
                      KDAD commented
                      Editing a comment
                      5 gallon buckets get watered once a day for smaller trees; two times per day for larger trees, every day unless it rains.

                    • Figgerlickinggood
                      Figgerlickinggood commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I’m forced to water mine every day because here in Waynesboro we haven’t had any rain for over 2 weeks and it averages from the high 80’s w/mid 90’s heat index to Mid 90’s w/high 90’s near 100 index.

                    • TheMillennialGardener
                      TheMillennialGardener commented
                      Editing a comment
                      KDAD sounds about right.
                      Figgerlickinggood I'm jealous. I've recorded 19 inches since June 2. I can't take the rain anymore.
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