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I've gotten 3 fig trees and I had a question. I have a Celeste that's planted in the ground, a Brown Turkey that's in a pot, and a Kadota that I received yesterday that's bare root. I'm in SC clay country in zone 8A.

I planted the celeste last spring. I amended the clay soil with some compost and chopped the edges of the hole so the roots would catch and grow out, like I always do when planting. I don't want them to grow round and round in the clay. I then mulched with about 3-4inches of bark mulch. The plant grew pretty well. It put on a decent amount of growth, had nice big leaves, and I didn't notice anything off about it when watering.

It actually started to put out some fruit in the spring. I kept an eye on them, and they started to grow and get bigger, but eventually they dried and fell off, one by one. I didn't think much about it, because it had just been transplanted.

It did the same thing in the fall. It had good vigorous growth, it started producing figs, they grew the size of a shooter marble or regular gumball and then fell off. I also sustained damage to the plant around the same time. I'm not sure if deer ate some of it or what.

I just want to know if it's me or the plant. I haven't ever had a fig before and don't know what to expect. I would guess that it's just because it was transplanted into the ground that year and didn't have the resources it would have when it's better rooted this year or the following years. However, I don't know if that's true or if I'm doing something wrong.

I didn't fertilize it and followed my normal watering routine. When I plant a new tree/shrub/bush/etc... I amend the hole with compost, chop the edges, plant to the recommended depth, water when the hole is half back filled to remove air pockets, water again once all dirt is back filled, mulch 3-4" in whatever diameter a bag of mulch gets me, leaving a gap around the trunk and forming a rough water well. Then I water with 1-2gal of water once a week, less if it rains. That's the first year. The second year I water when it's hot and dry. After that I only water during really dry spells.

So that's what I'm doing. Does anyone have any ideas? As for the other two, I've actually had the Brown Turkey since last spring as well, but a combination of laziness and not knowing where I want to plant it caused me to sit the plant in a semi shaded area with some other plants and I just watered it in the pot about once a week. I suspect the roots have grown into the ground, but it actually started budding this year before the one in the ground. The Kadota just came in the mail yesterday when I ordered a bunch of other nursery plants. I know where I want to put it and will be planting it today.

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The likeliest explanation for loss of fruit in this way is actually insufficient water - any fruiting plant, once the fruit is forming, needs extra supplies of water to complete the process, particularly during their first five years. If the water supply is insufficient, the plant will sacrifice its fruit to save itself. Given your Celeste has only been in the ground a year, it would have needed extra water supplies when the fruitlets formed, which it doesn't sound as if it got - reducing your own watering if it's raining (unless it's absolutely torrential for some hours) may mean there's simply not enough water available for the roots to take up, particularly if the plant is against a wall or fence for support. As the plant matures, it will spread out roots far and wide to find what it needs, but will likely still need watering by you in very dry spells for the first four or five years if it's forming fruits.

Figs also will drop fruit naturally if there's too many fruitlets, or if some of them are infested or infected, but unless there's a widespread infestation or infection, it wouldn't be usual to see loss of all fruit.

  • Also note that the spring fruit are easily damaged by spring frost and then they fall off, which happens often in 7b where i live. Once established figs are quite drought tolerant but when young they do need a fairly normal amount if water. – gorav Mar 20 '16 at 22:55
  • I kind of figured it'd be something like that, the first year. I didn't know I'd have to water it heavily for up to 5 years, though. It shouldn't be a problem, however. Once I get a running 4-wheeler, I plan to put a barrel on a trailer and attach a hose, so that I can pull the barrel around and water all my plant more easily. – Dalton Mar 21 '16 at 13:23
  • Only while its fruiting, Dalton, not year round, and only in drier spells...with the watering I mean... – Bamboo Mar 21 '16 at 13:30
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Check to see if it gets enough water and sunlight.

  • sometimes, as much as 1/4 of the fruits needs to be eliminated for the rest to do well, especially the ones that are yellow and wrinkled. – user3108698 Oct 12 '17 at 23:40

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