Reviving an old fig from the roots

misslisamhamMay 10, 2013

With my house I inherited a garden that was neglected for a long time. I was told of a wonderful fig tree that died some years ago, but last year and again now it is coming back from its massive rootstock underground. Last year the shoots suffered from what seemed to be either Fig Mosaic Virus or rust; this year it is fine (so far).

My questions:

1. There are several shoots coming off the rootstock. Should I choose one and cut down the rest, or let a whole flush of them come up and prune back in fall or next year?

2. Should I water them? It's very dry and hot where I am in Northern California (inland Bay Area). Last year I watered the shoots regularly, the first time they had any water during summer in years, and I wonder if that contributed to the disease symptoms they showed. This year I'm not watering yet, and I wonder if that's better for them. They are new shoots, but off really old rootstock. They do droop in serious heat, but otherwise look good.


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If there are enough shoots,maybe try cutting some and growing them.There are videos on how to on Youtube.Brady

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 8:02PM
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I would dig it all out and start over with a new plan. It sounds a bit unruly and who knows what the end result of your salvage project will be. The tree is suckering which can make it a "weed" of a tree.

Besides, once fig trees are established they are like tanks. Something had to have gone terribly wrong or someone tried hard to make it go wrong. I don't like either scenario.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 11:05PM
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Even if you dig it all out, I wouldnt be surprised if it still came back from a chunk of root you missed.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 8:16AM
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My main concern is how do you know the fruit will be good? If you feel sure it is a good eating fig, I think you can revive it. I am growing Brown Turkey here for 20 years with no summer water. My soil is clay loam with average winter rain of about 30 inches. I am also 'blessed' with numerous wild figs growing throughout my garden, being removed yearly. I let one grow to see if the fruit was usable, and found it was not. Al

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 9:11AM
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You mention rootstock. Figs are normally grown own root, meaning they aren't grafted onto a rootstock. Your fig is probably own root, therefore, I would not prune it, but let it grow.
Figs like a lot of lime, so I would lime the tree, and keep it well watered and mulched.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 9:33AM
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