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I planted my fig in the ground and the leaves have started to turn yellow, get a brown velvet-like tinge (see above on top, it is also on the bottom of the leaf), and eventually fall off. I brushed one the other day and when it fell off the newly exposed stem area was clearly wet.
I planted with some compost, tried to use all my VPA planting wisdom, but obviously the plant is not happy :) Soil is definitely moist. Have scooped out most of the added soil and put dryer, non-compost soil to fill in the hole.
The plant sat on my back porch for a few months and was growing just fine all winter, so I know it's something to do with my replant. What do you think it is?
To add -- this is a Kadota. Also planted Lemon Conandria which is going crazy in this soil setup. Am guessing the Conandria is just tougher.
It does sound like your soil is way too wet and possibly the compost was "hot" AND the drainage may be poor in that area - did you use your own compost? Since you put in drier soil already you may need to just watch and adjust the watering. Figs do not need as much water as vegetables.
As Catherine points out the drainage could be problematic. And you wouldn't know that part of your yard has a different drainage profile than other areas of the same yard. Did you dig your hole and do a drainage test by filling it with water and seeing how quickly it drains before planting? It is a good habit to do with each tree you are going to plant. Dig the hole first, fill with water watch it drain then repeat and see how long the 2nd filling takes to drain. If there is still water in that hole 4 hours later, your drainage isn't good.
I second the 'too wet' comment by Catherine. Additionally, when you plant a tree from a pot, please be extra careful to remove a good portion of the soil so you can see the root structure and make adjustments as necessary. If the tree was growing in the original pot for awhile, your root ball may have begun circling the pot or otherwise created a dense rootball that would benefit from gently pulling apart and fanning out before planting. That requires a bigger hole to be dug than the pot size, but well worth it. I didn't pay much attention to a fig I planted last year and this week just decided to pull it out and look at it. I got a really good look by taking the dug out tree root ball, putting it in a 5 gallon pail of water and gently swirling and massaging the dirt away so I could see the root structure. Sure enough, the roots were all clumped together and growing straight down as they had been in the rooting sleeve. There was no growth out from that ball in an entire year in the ground. So it was a good thing I decided to replant it! Your Kadota could have been more vigorously growing in the pot than your other figs and because of that tight root ball having trouble getting established...
Oh Yeah...and don't forget the little ditty our friend Monty the Rare Fruit Grower shared at the last Fruit Tree Planting Class, "Plant 'em high, they won't die. Plant 'em low, they won't grow". So make sure that tree is only planted as deep as the root flare!
1. Kadota fig does not handle extreme lack of humidity well, which is why I left it off of my fig acquisition list. Doesn't mean you cannot grow them in Phoenix. Just means it is harder and there are so many figs that do better---though Kadota is rumored to be an excellent fig. Don't think that is the problem here since we aren't at summer yet.
2. Keeping a container tree in a protected area such as a porch for months and then planting the tree in the yard can lead to shock as the tree now has to deal with full strength sun and greater temperature extremes and cold. If this is the problem your tree should recover. But you may be seeing chlorophyll collapse for the time being.
Further, some fig trees are reported to have very sensitive roots and are recommended to position the container where wanted and then cut the container away so as to not disturb the roots during transplant. I have no idea about Kadota but it is popular enough that I would suspect the growers of Kadota would have said something if this was a problem. But if the roots are damaged water uptake will be effected and once again patience needed while the roots regrow.
3. Too much water is the number two reason for killing a newly planted tree. Too little water is number one. The symptoms above do look like too much water. You may just have to hold on and be patient. I use a cheap moisture meter to now test moisture but previously I used a foot long screwdriver to see if any dirt was still sticking to the shaft and it worked well on planted trees (not so well on small container plants).
4. It is hard to judge how tall the fig is as to whether the roots are to smal to support a larger tree, but as you said it grew find in the pot, so not likely the cause.
don't sweat this ... it will grow or it won't ... we lost our first kadota had success with adjacent genoa + mission ... replanted kadota same location second year it took and grew too fast above ground and then blew over in a late monsoon wind ... up-righted it, structurally pruned it this winter and it is off and running this spring ... meantime the genoa + mission are doing just fine ... remember its all an experiment ... this year we added a texas blue giant and a lemon conandria between the others ... its all an experiment ... the fig is trying to adjust to existing conditions watch the water and give it some time to do its thing ...
Future reference: as indicated above we recommend no organic amendment while planting (native soil back-fill only) save the organic material for 4" thick top mulching a 3'+ circle around the base of the tree (not up against the trunk) ...
Just out of curiosity, Brian, how will you use all those figs? I've got a 25 year old enormous mature tree in my yard that produced a mountain of fruit that just gets left on the tree. I won't say that it's wasted fruit, because it seems like I'm feeding hundreds of quail, and even the coyotes come to our perimeter fence at night and eat any fruit that they can reach from the outside.
OK, I see what you're doing, but do you really eat that many figs? If I can find use for 3 gallons of figs over the course of a season in my kitchen, that would likely be my upper limit, and my tree likely produces several hundred pounds of fruit, if I tried to harvest it all. I bring some fruit down to the horses and chickens as treats rather than see it all be eaten by the quails or spoil on the tree. What uses do you find for all your figs?
Jean if you have the kind of bounty I would sun-dry some and make fig jam of some of it.
I do make quite a few batches of fig orange and fig strawberry jam, and have even sold some of that. I've also taken a cooler of fruit and sold some at the Bountiful Baskets pick up site, and still haven't put a dent into the quantity of fruit produced by this tree.
Next suggestion : -) You might go to your nearest farmers market and either sell them yourself or offering them to one of the larger growers to re-sell. Many small farmers at the local markets got started by trying to find a good "home" for their excess bounty.