Cross Posted in Fig Forum. Need Immediate Help!

Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9bAugust 5, 2014

I purchased this fig tree from a member in a different forum. Not wanting to cause any problems, I'm posting my problem here and probably in the fig forum.

The tree was sent priority mail and arrived after 2 days yesterday. It was wilted in the triangle container, and bare root, but the roots were kept wet. It was packed with damp paper and plastic for it's trip.

We put it in water with some B1 in the shade while we prepped it's pot. Here it is this morning:

And another view:

What should I do? How can I save this tree?

I'm thinking prune it, remove some leaves? What would you do?

I don't want it to die. It wasn't cheap, and I really want this variety... Bayenfeige Violeta.

Thanks in advance.


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mes111(5b -Purling NY & 7b -Nassau County NY)

I think it is not done and will survive.

Keep it in the shade, cover it with a clear plastic bag with a few ventilation holes to keep it humid. It needs time to come out of shock.

Do not prune... Just leave it alone. Should be ok.


    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 1:53PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

I received a few figs this spring and the same thing happened. Eventually all the leaves fell off as the capillary system seemed to be disrupted. As mess11 said, cover it with plastic and keep it in the shade. Mine have come back fine but it has taken a month or more. If I were you I would remove all but a few leaves on the top so the tree can work on reestablishing itself. Don't over water or over fertilize. The tree looks really healthy and should come out of it. Being that you are in the desert the tree is probably in climate shock as well as transport shock.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 2:27PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

Thanks for your responses. It's under a deck in the shade now. I'll find some plastic to cover it for humidity.

We no longer live in the desert, but the temps here are summer hot. Only in the low nineties today. The tree came from Texas, so it's used to heat. It's just in shock.

Dude bare rooted it prior to sending.


    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 2:40PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Be sure not to over water, Suzi. It could be root rot, or the beginnings thereof. So, keep soil moist but not soggy. If it was barerooted, it is probably just in shock And, bright shade is a great idea until it perks up.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 3:21PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

Ugh, it should not have been bare-rooted. Give it lots of shade and humidity. I would certainly remove most of the leaves if the roots themselves are shocked,

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 1:18AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

I agree it should not have been bare rooted. It's ok when dormant to do that, but not when leaves are flush.

It got bottom soaked to be sure all the roots were wet in the new soil, but we will wait until it's pretty dry before watering again. I know figs don't like wet feet.

Hubby checked it last night and announced it's looking worse, so today, I'll remove most of the leaves and cross my fingers.

I grew this same variety of fig tree from cuttings two years ago and all rooted. Then came the "mother" of all fungus gnat infestations, and I lost them all. When I saw this for sale, I jumped. Sigh. Now I will wait.

I have over 20 varieties of fig trees, most in ground, but this is my only Beyenfeige Violetta.



    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 8:51AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


I think you should tell the seller in a constructive, private manner that bare rooting in leaf doesn't work. If he's a professional seller or wants to be he should welcome such feedback. If it were given to me I'd not say anything. If we traded I'd be reluctant but it would still be the right thing to do.

I'd cut 80% off the top. Figs grow back like weeds if fertilized and watered correctly. All that matters now is saving the plant. The leaves will probably fall off if not removed one way or another.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 10:46AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

fruitnut, I did send him a link to this thread so he could see the sad state of the tree. I also told him I wasn't mad, just sad, and that he shouldn't bare root anything with leaves. Dormant is a different story. I don't know if he sells on Ebay, but I found him on another forum. Not garden web.

My first gut was to prune the tree as you suggest, thinking I might be able to get some cuttings to root also. I know when trying to root green cuttings of olives (you remove all leaves, and cut the top in half, but this one is rooted, so maybe I'll prune it 80%.

When we transplanted 2 olives grown over 6' as explained above, we had to root prune, so we top pruned as well for the move. They had roots, but we did cut the tops to relieve the stress. One year later they both live, but have not grown at all.

I'm leaning towards pruning.

Thank you!


    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 10:58AM
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mes111(5b -Purling NY & 7b -Nassau County NY)

I would just leave it alone.

The danger of additional shock is not worth it.

As long as there is a spark of life in it it will come back.

Pruning the leaves might tax the plant for energy to heal the cut.

I would just .........leave it be.

My advise is ... soft music.... soft lights... a warm and moist environment = fig heaven.


    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 1:19PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

A little update. Today, against my wishes, the seller refunded my entire purchase. We agreed that I will pay him a portion of the refund if the tree survives.

I did as fruitnut said, and pruned 80% off the tree. The leaves would not have come back as they were already dry and curling. They are now in the compost heap. There are enough roots in the pot to support many shoots, and I am pretty sure shoots will happen. I left part of the main trunk, and one tiny shoot with little drying leaves on it. The remaining pot, roots and trunks are now in shade in the pot with vented plastic.

I took the portion that I pruned and made 4 green cuttings which are now in water. If roots form, they will be potted and treated as small fig trees.

I feel much better now. Thanks for all the help!


    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 2:50PM
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