The 9 Biggest Reasons We Fail at a Successful Fig Season
1. Not feeding potted trees.
2. Hormonal imbalance.
3. Improper soil moisture. 1, 2 & 3 are all related and easy to mess up. Often we feed too little, too much or water to much. All contributing to hormonal imbalance in our trees.
4. Waking up too early. Sometimes folks have the great idea of keeping their tree awake throughout the winter. Soil temperatures are not high enough in our indoor environments. They do next to nothing indoors. It's better to let them go dormant and go through their natural process. You will be rewarded the following year. Sometimes growers mistakenly wake them up too early by having their potted trees in an environment that's too warm. Keep your trees above 20F, but below 45-50F. Often they wake up too soon in a place without natural sunlight. This can really cause issues and get our trees off on the wrong footing.
5. Sunburn. Similar to number 4, we have our tree that woke up too soon or better yet a tree that woke up in a greenhouse. They're not fully adjusted to full sun and just like a small seedling, they need to be adjusted to that intensity and amount of sunlight carefully.
6. Improper form/Not up potting. Figs should be grown as a tree form. Unless you're growing them in ground in a zone 7 or below climate. They're more productive this way and easier to manage. Getting the right form from the beginning can save you years of work down the road. Up potting nets you a larger tree in a shorter time. Why wait? Let them root out, have access to more nutrients in their younger years.
7. Not warming up the soil. Figs love heat. Particularly warm soil temperatures. This really gets their metabolisms going. When root temperatures are at 78F, that is optimal. Treat them like a melon, tomato or pepper plant and you will be highly rewarded at the end of the season. Often people cool their soils and don't even realize it. Remove your layers of mulch. Instead go with plastic, plant higher above grade or in raised mounds or warm the soil using rock or other thermodynamic materials.
8. Choosing the wrong variety. Variety is so important. Genetics are what really makes or breaks a fig in a particular climate. Do you research. Ask your neighbor.
9. Picking figs too early. We worked so hard to get our fruits. What do most of us do? We pick them early. They ripen from the bottom up, so wait until the neck is very soft. That's the perfect time to pick. And play around with the hang time for each variety. You may see that you prefer waiting or picking them on the earlier side.