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  • Do some of your trees slow down or stop growing in August?

    So I'm in zone 7, but I've noticed most of my trees, whether in-ground or potted, have stopped growing new leaves/branches. No terminal growth. The figs are ripening otherwise. And on the young trees, the growth continues to be going strong.
    Does anyone else see this pattern? Do the trees focus on ripening and halt further green growth? I don't recall when this happened last year for me. Again, this is for 2+ year older trees.
    Frank ~ zone 7a VA

  • #2
    Yes, a few of my trees have done that. In fact I think it started in early July or so. My VdB and Italian Red put on a good crop and then stopped growing. The figs are just starting to swell now. My guess is that after they have mostly ripened the trees will resume growing. It is an interesting question as to why some trees do this and others don't.
    Steve
    D-i-c-k-e-r-s-o-n, MD; zone 7a
    WL: Nantes Maroc

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    • #3
      My older potted trees do seem to slow down but the older trees in ground seem to put on a lot of growth. I have some air layers going on in ground trees that were started about 3 inches from the growing tip. In the next few weeks they will be 12 to 18 inches tall. It might be that the roots are kept cooler in ground which is less stress on the trees so they keep growing until frost.
      Wishlist; Green Michurinska, St. Rita
      Tony
      Sarver, PA Zone 6A.

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      • #4
        I haven't really kept good track of it but my trees have seemed to grow in spurts. Sometimes it seems like they will grow an inch or three every night and other times they will slow down for a month or two with or without fruit. In my oldest trees that I started from cuttings in November, it seems like they have gone through 3-4 of these growing cycles alternating every month or two growing up to a total of seven feet over those 9 months. I don't have anything older so I can't help there
        Don - OH Zone 6a Wish list: Zaffiro, Moro de Caneva, Nerucciolo d'Elba, Bordissot Blanca Negra, Rubado

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        • #5
          Most of mine took a break from growth late in July into the beginning of August...but yesterday I noticed a significant change in that most of the trees have started new growth again...almost like clockwork...pots, in the ground, new starts...this is over 150 trees, 24 in the ground and the remainder in pots.

          The few trees I have that will or are producing this year have also...from the beginning of August, begun drinking substatially more water...The two I have on our porch I am able to monitor water consumption very carefully with the type of SIP I have installed...between the two..they increased consumption of water to over 2 gallons a day (both trees) for the last few weeks. Both have rested their growth during ripening...but yesterday, along with the remainder of the trees, began throwing new leaves once again.

          the only one not starting new growth yet...but is still ripening...Black Madiera

          Ross B. Santa Rosa Calif zone 9b, wish list: CdD Blanc, Igo, Palmata, Sucrette, Morroco, Galicia Negra

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          • #6
            This year and every year at any point, my trees slow down or stop growing when the roots get too big for the pots, or when the bricks and cement that some sit on get too hot, or when the in-ground trees that I don't irrigate run out of sufficient water. The others tend to keep growing. They grow more slowly when ripening fruit but tend to keep growing if the water and nutrition is sufficient. For example, I've been picking ripe Ronde de Bordeaux fruit daily, and now Zingarella fruit, on limbs that have largely stopped growing, but the trees are continuing growth of younger limbs bearing no fruit or bearing young fruit.

            Seemed drier than normal here this July and August, which had some effect, eventually stunting some non-irrigated in-ground trees, though seemed wetter in June, which probably helped offset some of the later dryness.

            The coming issue is that the continuously growing trees won't stop growing until cold hits. I can't stop growth by shutting off water if there happens to be new rains or significant reserves of water in soil. And I can't stop fertilization because I grow organically. The fertility of the soil can't be (and should not be) changed on a dime. Earthworms, for one, are constantly working the soil, fertilizing it, laying down a nutritious residue that is not going anywhere except into the figs. (Most of my trees, whether in pots or not, grow roots into the ground.) The leafy trees, ever hopeful of more Mediterranean days, simply need to be moved into shelter before hammering frosts. Might happen but can't count on gradually colder days to slow and stop growth, to help drop the leaves and lignify the wood before move to garage. If severe cold is forecast to arrive abruptly I need to shelter the trees whether in full leaf or not to avoid significant limb damage. And green low limbs of in-ground bushes need to be pressed to the ground and covered with leaves, chips, cardboard, or whatever might ensure their survival through winter.
            Tony WV 6b
            https://mountainfigs.net/

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            • #7
              Thanks for the responses, everyone. Good to see this is somewhat normal for fig trees.
              Frank ~ zone 7a VA

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              • #8
                The vast majority of my trees(all potted ) stop or slow down extremely in July and August then burst out a crazy growth spurt in September, regardless of fruit load. Organic fertilizer.
                Calvin, Wish list is to finish working on the new house, someday.
                Bored? Grab a rake, paint roller, or a cordless drill and come over!

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                • #9
                  Hi Frank, my veteran trees have mostly stopped growth although a couple are still growing a little (not a good thing, they need time to harden off). Youngsters are also mostly stopped growing but a couple are putting on a little growth. Different than your situation.
                  Rafael
                  Zone 10b, Miami, FL

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                  • #10
                    My nero 600m is still putting out new leaves every 3-4 days. I hope it starts to slow down soon because the nights are staring to get cold. I know that I probably gave it too much fertilizers too late in the season.
                    Proudly Serving in the United States Armed Forces, 2009-2017
                    Everyone should have a green thumb

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                    • #11
                      I notice this as well. I think the strongest growth comes in May, June, and then a lag until September. My trees slowed down and now have continued growth again.
                      Brian
                      Augusta, GA

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                      • #12
                        I've noticed this year too, especially for trees in the black pots. I've been chalking it up to August being the hottest month of the year here. A few of the newly rooted plants even died. Trees I moved inside or have in lighter-colored containers don't seem as affected, so I'm planning to cover the black pots with foil or in larger, light-colored pots to help protect the roots from the heat.
                        Sarah
                        Bay Area, CA (zone: 9B)

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                        • #13
                          Thanks for the replies! Some of mine do get growth spurts too.
                          Frank ~ zone 7a VA

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                          • #14
                            To some degree it's the call of nature. The angle of the sun and the amount of daylight is changing. It's time for the velvet on the deer antlers to start to dry. Soon acorns will be forming on the oaks. My hunger for fresh and smoked venison and pork sausage is starting to awake. Soon the spots on the baby fawns will begin to fade.

                            This year my new fig trees found a place which was shaded during the hottest part of the day. Fortunately I was able to keep them growing with frequent feeding and watering. In spite of this effort some of the newly rooted cuttings in quart size pots succumbed to the 9 day string of triple digits we had that ended just last week. Yes, they were in the shade but the 106 degree days turned the little pots into ovens cooking the roots.

                            Thus far plants seemed to be using energy to grow and produce offspring taking a break at the peak of summer to send those offspring on their way. That being done this short window of cooler temps between now and winter allow the plants to store energy for the winter sleep and the arrival of the next spring and so it goes.
                            Jerry, Canyon Lake TX 8b

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                            • F. Bennett
                              F. Bennett commented
                              Editing a comment
                              Great post, Jerry. Makes a lot of sense.

                          • #15
                            Here in my yard in south La my figs slow down around July and then goes into a green flush in august.
                            Ryan- CenLa, zone 8a/b

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                            • #16
                              No. The only time their growth slows down is when the roots don't have sufficient continuous moisture.
                              Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

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                              • #17
                                Good topic. Is this a different conversation from those in the south vs. the north? For the northerners, your plants should be nearing the end of the growing season, which would make sense that they are starting to slow down, right?

                                Being in Florida, we still have a lot of growing season left. And I noticed the same thing, growth just kind of fizzled out starting in July. This doesn't make sense to me. I thought this should be the peak of the growth season for us. Is it just too darn hot? I thought figs love heat and sun. We have been getting a ton of rain. Maybe it is too humid here? My plants are in the ground.

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                                • rusty hooks
                                  rusty hooks commented
                                  Editing a comment
                                  California also has a substantial growing season remaining....but at times, during the transition to fruit ripening, I observed my plants in particular, slowing their growth...enough so I was wondering if I had missed something

                              • #18
                                My fruiting-age trees stopped growing in july.
                                My first year trees still growing like there's no tomorrow.
                                Rotterdam / the Netherlands.
                                Zone 8B

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                                • #19
                                  I use time release fertilizer pellets and mine stop growing when they run out. Then I fertigate until about now. Last year I gave them 7 weeks to harden off but it wasn't enough so this year I'm giving them 9 1/2 weeks.
                                  Bob C.
                                  Kansas City, MO Z6

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                                  • #20
                                    Excellent info, everyone. More assurance this is normal behavior.
                                    Frank ~ zone 7a VA

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                                    • #21
                                      Originally posted by AscPete View Post
                                      No. The only time their growth slows down is when the roots don't have sufficient continuous moisture.
                                      That's the main factor that controls growth. They slow in July and August in many areas because that's usually the driest part of the growing season.
                                      Alpine, Texas 4500ft elevation Zone 7
                                      http://growingfruit.org/

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                                      • #22
                                        There is more to it than just water that slows the growth. Here in August rain falls nearly every day and even though our growing season goes well in to December the growth slows. The rust finally takes it's toll on some varieties and that slows the growth but on others that are seemingly immune to the rust they also slow down in August so there is more to it than just lack of water.
                                        Cutting sales start Nov 1 at 9PM eastern time as always at willsfigs.com

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                                        • #23
                                          Many of mine have had a lull in June/early July when the main crop fruits are being pushed out and reach the 'stagnating' phase. Most start growing again at that point, often setting more fruit that may or may not ripen.
                                          https://www.figbid.com/Listing/Browse?Seller=Kelby
                                          SE PA
                                          Zone 6

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                                          • #24
                                            Hi there Frank! I am in NNJ zone 6 and have the same exact problem with only one of my outdoor in-ground fig trees that I purchased from Monrovia. It's a Mission Fig. Since the end of July, the tree has stopped putting out new growth. The newest figs on each branch had fallen off. Some figs ripened this season but have since stopped along with no leaf growth for over a month already including the figs. My other four trees are fine and have been growing vigorously. I haven't ruled out root knot nematodes but am doubtful that they would be a problem in absence of sandy soil and I don't want to rip the tree out to examine the roots.

                                            Mission fig trees are vigorous grower so this anomaly is quite disturbing. I've done plenty of research on the web and came across this thread which is the only information I could find that addresses my problem. Let me know if you have any further explanation. Thank you!

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