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  • No Fruit, But Tons of Leaves and Branches?! HELP!!!

    I am in zone 8a, Switzerland – I have a head-high fig tree that has been in the ground for about 5 years in a nice sunny wind-protected area.
    It only occasionally puts out a few fruits of green purple color, but I have no idea what variety it is.
    It has always been a strong growing plant with a lot of leaves and branches, in fact, so dense that it is a haven for tent caterpillars.
    Last year I started to fertilize (10-10-10), prune and spray regularly to try inspire more fruit but no luck.
    Just recently I tried trimming the growing tips of the branches to trigger fruiting, but this only brought more leaves.
    Any ideas on what I might do to turn this into a fruit producing plant? HELP

  • #2
    Welcome. You might get more responses if you introduce yourself in a topic.

    Anyways it definitely could be a few reasons as to why it is not fruiting. I know that to induce fruiting you "pinch" the tips instead of possibly cutting the tips.

    As far as fertilizers go, I know that Nitrogen promotes plant growth; maybe during the second half of the season reduce the Nitrogen and increase the Phosphorus and Potassium and this might trigger its fruiting stage.
    Inland Empire - Zone 9b


    • jrdewhirst
      jrdewhirst commented
      Editing a comment
      Kid Fig -- I don't get your point about "introduce yourself." I thought mabundis did that. What else do you expect?

    • Kid Fig
      Kid Fig commented
      Editing a comment


      mabundis (actually I don't expect alot - hehe)
      Last edited by Kid Fig; 08-22-2021, 08:24 AM.

  • #3
    I have to ask, If your tree is in ground, why do you fertilize it?
    The earth should be able to supply the tree with everything it needs except maybe water.

    Has the tree exhibited nutrition deficiencies?

    If you are giving it more fertilizer than it needs.....that maybe part of the reason it just gives you growth.
    Kevin, N. Ga 7b Cheers!

    Wishing all of you a bountiful harvest!


    • cvarcher
      cvarcher commented
      Editing a comment
      ding ding ding !!

  • #4
    mabundis , several things seem to limit fruiting: limited exposure to sun (the more the better), limited heat (cool is not good), excess nitrogen fertilizer, excess water, fig variety (some fruit easily regardless of conditions, others don't), and age (younger plants tend to set less fruit than older ones). Some of these are easy to control, others are not.
    Mark -- living in the CA banana belt, growing bananas, figs, and most any fruit I can fit in my small, crowded yard.
    Wish List: more free time


    • #5
      In my experience, the most important variable is sun. You say that your location is sunny, but can you be more specific? How many hours? Which hours?

      Relatedly, trees that are not well pruned can self-shade. Have you pruned so that sunlight can penetrate?

      Just as an example, I have at least 4 different instances of Paradiso Gene. Three get 8 or more hours of sun, including mid-day. These all have fruit. In past years they have produced a ton. The fourth was planted 5 years ago as an experiment in a wind-protected location. It's in the ground, on the northeast side of a big rock on the northeast side of a big redbud tree on the northeast side of my house. It gets direct sun for maybe 5 hours in the morning. It has set very few fruits and has never ripened any.

      No doubt warmth is a prerequisite too, as noted above. What are your typical high / low temps? How long is your growing season?

      Can you send a picture?
      Joe, Z6B, RI.


      • #6
        Hmm, fact is it has produced figs.I think you should stop the 10-10-10. Make sure light can get to all branches if it needs thinning. You could always add some bone meal . IS it competing from a nearby large tree maybe??


        • #7
          USDA Zone 7b
          Piedmont NC


          • ginamcd
            ginamcd commented
            Editing a comment
            I've found pinching just induces more branching which in this case will make the situation worse.

          • bullet08
            bullet08 commented
            Editing a comment
            pinching works fine for me. it does branch, but it also forces figs.

        • #8
          Not a fruit bearing Variety?
          Zone 5/6. WL: Black Ischia UCD, Exquisito, Vern's Brown Turkey, Florea, Iranian Candy, Smith, LSU Hollier&Champagne, Cyperus Honey, Lebnese Baskinta Purple, Col de Dema Blanc, Longue D'aoute


          • #9
            Re-reading, if growth is so dense that the tree is "a haven for tent caterpillars" then you need to prune harder. This may not fix the problem by itself, but it'll help get more sunlight to more of the remaining leaves.
            Joe, Z6B, RI.


            • #10
              Welcome. I see this is your first post, no introduction needed.

              It could be nutritional, sun and weather related, or it could be the habit of the tree since you don’t know the variety. I’d get a second, different, tree and see how it performs.
              Anthony- Fig Finder of Los Angeles



              • #11
                I ran into similar problem as yours. my tree is in container. - https://www.ourfigs.com/forum/figs-h...at-i-did-wrong
                for me it might be too much N in compost and too much water.
                Richmond, BC, Canada Zone 8A
                WL: List Completed. What do you recommend?


                • #12
                  Welcome to the forum. I'd like to offer some advice, but I've had a non fruiting unk a lot longer than 5 seasons. Hopefully, one of the people I shared it with will get fruit this year and I'll see if it's worth a longer wait...
                  Tony; Pickens county, SC zone 7b

                  Care for the Earth...there's no place like home


                  • #13
                    Welcome! Since you've gotten fruit off it in the past, it has proven it's capable of producing a crop. I agree with those above who said the issue may be light penetration. I'm not familiar with your seasons, but whenever the tree goes dormant, prune it back enough to open up the canopy and allow sunlight in.

                    If past fruit appeared on new wood, then you have a common variety which means it will fruit on current year wood. And is that's the case, don't be afraid to prune heavily.
                    “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
                    – Source Unknown
                    MA 5b/6a


                    • #14
                      Maybe it is a tissue culture tree. In some cases it takes more than five years to produce
                      NJ Z 7A


                      • #15
                        If you've tried everything else there are always old-fashioned methods like beating and urinating on fruit trees to make them produce. Yes, I'm serious.
                        7B Southern NJ


                        • Red_Sun
                          Red_Sun commented
                          Editing a comment
                          You need to bring some dogs to do that. LOL.

                      • #16
                        In 2013, I got a fig tree from Home Depot. It never produced anything for 4 year. I got rid of it. Since then, every none tissue cultured tree/cutting I got produced fruit in the first year. It's time to replace the tree?
                        Cleveland South - Zone 5B.


                        • #17
                          Thanks all for these responses . . . I missed them earlier.
                          I have tried everything mentioned – and just NOW I finally find one tiny figlett developing (sigh).
                          I will give the tree another year(?) or I may try grafting different varieties onto the base, as it seems to be very vigorous.


                          • #18
                            My neighbor has a 18 year old tree, probably Celeste in ground. It is about 8' tall now. I checked it and I do not see a single fruit. They stated they got some figs years before, but never ripen. Now no figlets. The tree is as wide as its height. I'm sure much larger than yours. They never prune and let it grow to a landscape tree.

                            The only way to make that thing produce is to thin branches, prune and try to break the vegetative cycle. Pinching is a must. You must reduce the vigor of the plant and force it to slow down and try to produce figs. Pinch and pinch more. Never be afraid of doing so.
                            Princeton, New Jersey, 6B
                            flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/red-sun/albums
                            http://growingfruit.org/ for all fruits


                            • Bellefleurs
                              Bellefleurs commented
                              Editing a comment
                              What about trees that fruit abundantly yet don’t ripen?
                              I have a large Celeste that is still full of fruit. They are not dropping. Just sitting there …green.
                              The tree next to it (Texas peach) is ripening fruit.
                              Same conditions. Mature tree.

                            • Red_Sun
                              Red_Sun commented
                              Editing a comment
                              I recall you are in S. NJ. You'll need to count days backward from 10/15, our frost date. Celeste may require something like 75 days to ripen? That means any figlets emerged after 8/15 have no hope of ripening. The cut-off should no later than 8/1 due to the poor quality of the late figs. Clearly we enter late season with only one month. Just pick off those small figs and open up the tree canopy. A fruiting tree should not retain much vigor at this stage of the season. Particularly important for in-ground trees.

                          • #19
                            Maybe try thinning to 4 or 5 trunks so the roots are less overtaxed. Maybe it's too much green for the roots to handle while also producing fruit.
                            If it's really thick with leaves, there's probably not enough sun penetrating through the canopy to form fruit. I really think thinning will get you some results
                            South Jersey, zone 7a- 20 mins from Philly, 30 mins from AC


                            • #20
                              mabundis -- I think you have two fundamentally different options: (1) try to "fix" the tree by pruning to open it up and tweak watering, fertilizing, etc.; or (2) accept that variety is not productive and get one that works better for you. I have a similar situation, caused by a tree being in a lot of shade -- and that isn't something I can change. I will slowly top work it (graft different varieties on to it) to varieties that are productive even in the shade. It has many varieties already on it, and some produce and others produce nothing (but do produce in sunnier spots).
                              Mark -- living in the CA banana belt, growing bananas, figs, and most any fruit I can fit in my small, crowded yard.
                              Wish List: more free time


                              • #21
                                The 18-year barren tree I mentioned above was a from a nursery. I'm certain it is a common type tree that should produce. It looks like a Celeste. Clearly it is the culture practice.
                                Princeton, New Jersey, 6B
                                flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/red-sun/albums
                                http://growingfruit.org/ for all fruits


                                • #22
                                  Some trees are just duds and don't fruit. Get another tree.
                                  Ray in Columbia, SC Zone 8