lack of leaves

ddbmfApril 10, 2010

I have owned my one ond only fig tree for a couple years now and I keep it in a large pot on my patio thru the spring, summer and fall and then move it into my garage for the winter. The thing that doesn't look right to me, after viewing other peoples trees in this forum, is that my tree only develops leaves on the new growth in the spring each year. There are no new leaves that develop on last years growth. Is this normal? I also don't seem to have very good figs when they grow. Very thick skined and tough. I don't know what type of tree it is but does anyone have any suggestions?

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Your tree is probably badly root bound and in need of a full repot (not potting up). That 'tufted' look, when trees have foliage only at the branch tips and interior foliage is absent with no or very few lateral breaks is typical of tight roots. Branch extension usually grinds to a near halt, and if you look at the leaf bundle scars, you'll probably see how close together they are now as opposed to 2-3 years ago.

Is your tree still quiescent (the chill-induced quiet period after dormancy)?


    Bookmark   April 10, 2010 at 11:15AM
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I believe that it has come out of domrmancy. There are leaves at the tips already and has new growth (approx 2"-3"). Is it too late to repot now? I would assume by your question that it needs to be done while dormant. Would that also include root pruning? Also while dormant?
Thanks for any quidance you can give me.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 9:00AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I just gave the same advice about a maple starting to leaf out that I'm going to give you on this thread about tending trees in containers. There is a LOT of useful information in the thread for those of you who tend figs in pots.

Here is what I said, and it holds for your tree if you act quickly.

I think your trees would tolerate it quite well if you pruned them (the tops) back a little and cut the bottom 1/3 of the roots off. After that, take a razor knife and make several vertical slits in the root mass and tease some of the soil out/off around the perimeter of the root/soil mass. You can then return the plants to the same pot with some fresh soil, similar to what they are in and keep them out of sun for a couple of weeks. This won't allow your plants to reach the 8-9 vigor level (on a 1-10 scale) they are capable of under ideal conditions in container culture, but it WILL temporarily allow them to grow at much closer to their potential than opportunity would allow if you do naught until next spring.

After you take care of the work, wait about 2 weeks before you fertilize. You'll find that any soluble fertilizer in a 3:1:2 ratio (24-8-16, 12-4-8, 9-3-6 are examples. 9-3-6 by Dyna-Gro is excellent because it has ALL the essential elements in a favorable ratio, and it supplies most of its N in nitrate form) will allow you to keep the level of EC/TDS (salts) at the lowest rate possible while still providing all the nutrients at adequacy levels. This is the ideal level of fertility.

Then, make sure you don't miss the opportunity to do a full repot (which includes bare-rooting and root-pruning) next spring before budswell.


    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 11:58AM
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