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  • Gah! Help with fig in trouble please.

    Hardy Chicago in 15-20 gallon pot is struggling pretty bad. It's been a very healthy/vigorous plant, putting on 12-18 inches of growth on every branch so far this year, and is loaded with figs. Yesterday it got a bit droopy though, and it didn't really recover today. Leaves are barely attached (though they look healthy-ish), but in my experience, leaves that are barely attached are destined to fall off soon anyways. The figs on those branches are pruning up a bit as well.

    Not sure what's killing it. I water it every couple days, but I guess if the soil is compacted or something, it might not be getting much of it. It has been brutally hot here (upper 90s), and it gets full sun 10AM until dusk. Is it the heat? Did I overwater it and kill a bunch of roots? I water my LSU purple (bigger pot) on a similar schedule and it seems fine. Any insight would be appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Brett
    Brett in Athens, GA zone 7b/8a

  • #2
    It should be watered a couple of times a day in that heat. Does it have proper drainage?
    Rafael
    Zone 10b, Miami, FL

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    • #3
      Should have decent drainage. Plenty of holes in the bottom. The soil is probably not as good as it could be, but its not straight topsoil either.

      Think its toast? Or is it just dropping leaves to help it keep from being too dehydrated?
      Brett in Athens, GA zone 7b/8a

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      • #4
        Move to shade, try to bottom water it so it can wick up adequate water.
        Could it be root bound? Between that and soil compaction it might not be absorbing what water you have given it.
        Ed
        SW PA zone 6a

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        • Dave
          Dave commented
          Editing a comment
          good advice

      • #5
        protect the pot from direct sun...another larger pot, a couple boards...anything to stave off direct sunlight with that heat. A black pot with that much water inside will literally cook whatever is in it...new fresh roots on the perimeter....gaaaagh

        put it in the shade for a couple days and watch the water usage...wet but not drowning....a plant saucer for a large pot with enough water in it to reach the bottom holes of the pot....which is in the shade....let the soil suck up the water and the tree use it as needed

        I'm fortunate in that when I recieve that kind of heat the trees are in shade half a day...cooling down
        Ross B. Santa Rosa Calif zone 9b, wish list: CdD Blanc, Igo, Palmata, Sucrette, Morroco, Galicia Negra

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        • #6
          If it does drop all it's leaves, move it to the shade and keep watering it when it's dry. Hopefully it will recover for next year.

          Good Luck.
          Kevin (Eastern MA - Zone 5b/6a)

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          • #7
            Will move to shade for time being. I also have an old trashcan lid I can fill with water and set the pot in to help regulate moisture...kind of a poor man's SIP. I know its not the best draining mix in the world, so provided I didn't drown it (which I don't think is the case), I might put it in ground come spring. Shame...it was doing so well this year, and its a beautiful and healthy plant.

            Worst case scenario, home depot sells them for 10 bucks. All my other figs seem fine.

            Thanks for quick feedback everyone.
            Brett in Athens, GA zone 7b/8a

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            • #8
              Shade and bottom water as suggested. If it drops its leaves it will recover I went through the shame thing and thought I lost my Sweet George. It's back and putting on great growth. Keep us updated. I'm rooting for your fig... No pun intended.
              Randall - Gulf Breeze, FL. zone 8b. Wish list: Anything that "newnandawg" - Mike, ranks as an 8 out 10 or higher.

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              • #9
                Might try give miracle gro treatment every few watering... It's helped me in problem like tis.
                Zone 5 Chicago IL Wish list:
                1) Rest peacfully Amico Bello Buddy 👼🏼.
                2) This weeks ebay auctions.

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                • #10
                  Having trouble all around the garden it seems. :-/ I've got a blueberry plant slowly dying (I transplanted it at a bad time because the old pot split down the side, and its been slowly dying twig by twig since), and another one that is showing signs of Chlorosis (pH must be off), but is otherwise healthy. I roasted and/or drowned a couple of my figs that I'm hardening off currently...hopefully they'll bounce back, though one dropped all of its leaves. Fortunately, they're ones that I have multiples of (though I have some promises to other members that I need to be careful not to lose). I'm also getting leaf drop on another first year fig that's been fully hardened off....ironically, my duplicate Hardy Chicago. Not looking so hardy in the GA heat.

                  I'm really wishing I would have reconsidered my garden location. I chose the one place with full sun all day, and it looks like I would have benefited from some PM shade, especially given that the 10 day forecast has every single day above 95 degrees. Kind of late now, considering I built an elaborate deer/bird cage to house the entire operation. Just gotta try to survive the summer I guess, and relocate the cage next spring.

                  On the bright side, it *looks* like my big Hardy Chicago will only lose about half its leaves, and the figs that were starting to prune a bit swelled back up and are hard again. That to me says the plant will bounce back. I might pop a few off to improve the quality of the ones that do ripen though.
                  Brett in Athens, GA zone 7b/8a

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                  • #11
                    I had the same issue this year and I had to increase my watering to every other day and deep watering once a week and also started to add liquid fertilizer (dyna gro foliage pro/grow 1 tsp/gallon) and my figs have stopped drooping leaves after a few days. My plants are also root bound and due for a pruning later this winter.

                    Luckily all they dropped are leaves and no figs yet . . . I have my fingers crossed.

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                    • #12
                      I had the same problem with a Desert King planted directly into the ground (full sun) from a 4' Dave Wilson tree from the local nursery. Had to dig it up, put it in a 5 gallon pot, and put it in the shade. It's recovering slowly. I thought figs were supposed to like it sunny and hot, but now will wait until there is sufficient root mass such as filling a 5 gallon pot before trying that again.
                      The Violette de Bordeaux planted next to it, same root mass from the same nursery, is doing fine, has two figs on it.
                      Mara, Southern California,
                      Climate Zone: 1990=9b 2012= 10a 2020=?

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                      • nepenthes
                        nepenthes commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I had the same thought about figs liking it sunny and hot! It took two months before I realized that I had stunted growth :/

                        I moved them to a place where they get some shade in the afternoon and mulched heavily. Growth has increased significantly in the past few weeks.

                    • #13
                      Last time this happened to the roots rotted. It wilted while in the sun so I watered it too much thinking it needed more. If possible check the roots and make sure they are gone.
                      Proudly Serving in the United States Armed Forces, 2009-2017
                      Everyone should have a green thumb

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                      • #14
                        Resurrecting, and follow up question. The aforementioned Hardy Chicago officially lost all of its leaves after a big storm rolled through with some heavy wind last night. The bright side? It's budding out again, and has 4 or 5 buds already pushing new leaves with more to follow.

                        So a follow up question: It has maybe 20 figs on it, and is just now pushing new growth. I expect them to ripen within a month or so. Is it even worth it? Or should I just pop them off and have the plant focus on new growth only? Also, its been living in the shade for the past few 2 weeks. Should I bring it back into full sun yet?

                        Thanks in advance.
                        Brett in Athens, GA zone 7b/8a

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                        • #15
                          I'd leave fig on. Put in ground. Fig always do best in ground.
                          Zone 5 Chicago IL Wish list:
                          1) Rest peacfully Amico Bello Buddy 👼🏼.
                          2) This weeks ebay auctions.

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                          • #16
                            Commenting on the thread as a whole, if you stick your finger in the bottom drainage holes that'll tell you if it's too dry or wet. I'd fertilize with most waterings using houseplant strength fertilizer while it's hot and let the fruit ripen naturally. I'd use 9-12-12, 5-12-8 or something where the N is lower than the other #s.
                            Bob C. KC, MO Zone 6a. Wanted: Martineca Rimada, Galicia Negra, Fioroni Ruvo, De La Reina - Pons, Tauro, BFF, Sefrawi, Sbayi, Mavra Sika , Fillaciano Bianco, Corynth, Souadi, Acciano Purple, LSU Tiger, LSU Red, Cajun Gold, BB-10 any great tasting fig

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                            • #17
                              Great! Glad it's recovering, Put it in sun, it should be harden to it now. Your decision on trying to keep the figs depends on weather or not you want to try to get a sample. If you abort the figs it will put on growth, if you keep the figs it may be inferior and your growth will be much less. Either way you may have pulled it through the rough and it's on the road to recovery. I would be tempted to leave a few figs on just to see how they turn out even though the books will tell you to abort the figs to build growth. Thanks for keeping us updated. Send us some pics of the progress for our entertainment please.
                              Randall - Gulf Breeze, FL. zone 8b. Wish list: Anything that "newnandawg" - Mike, ranks as an 8 out 10 or higher.

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                              • #18
                                good to hear....nice job......if you can find a spot which gives you a good dose of full sun and a late afternoon shading or partial shading...at least to protect the pot. Keep it watered....a fig growing and putting out figs will consume a fair amount of water daily......like has been said..keep an eye on the moisture content of the pot...
                                Ross B. Santa Rosa Calif zone 9b, wish list: CdD Blanc, Igo, Palmata, Sucrette, Morroco, Galicia Negra

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