My fig tree is showing no new growth this Spring

Little-football(7)May 18, 2014

Today is May 18th and my 7+ foot fig tree still looks dormant with no signs of new growth. Other fig trees in my neighborhood seem to be the same. I would hope to see grow within the next 2 weeks. Is this normal for northern Virginia?

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treehugger101

I have a 4' Negro Fig doing the same thing. Is it dead? All of my other fruit trees are leafed out. It produced fruit last year but too late for the fruit to ripen. I was hoping to get some this year. Any ideas?

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 12:55AM
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Kirsten12(7)

I'm in the MD/DC suburbs, and just saw a tiny leaf near the base today, and my whole neighborhood is the same. I feel like it's later than usual, but it's been a cool spring so I still have hope.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 1:03AM
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treehugger101

I hope so. Mine shows no buds and the inside is white.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 1:15AM
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veggie_girl

I have 23 fig trees and nothing yet this year.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 6:56PM
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adkgrow

My father in law is experiencing no growth either. We are located in North NJ and he has a big beautiful tree which has produced figs for years. I told him id research it for him. I'm shocked at how many people are experiencing this in different regions. Can we get some answers? Please chime in...

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 11:33PM
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adkgrow

My father in law is experiencing no growth either. We are located in North NJ and he has a big beautiful tree which has produced figs for years. I told him id research it for him. I'm shocked at how many people are experiencing this in different regions. Can we get some answers? Please chime in...

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 11:34PM
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yeehova

The severe winter most likely killed the plants everywhere above the soil line. I had one that sprouted new growth from below the soil line and is about a foot tall now.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 3:10PM
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springplanter

Here in Maryland, finally some growth from below the soil line on my 2 six foot high 4 year old trees. Now what do i do? Nothing yet on any of the old branches. Do i just prune them all the way off or what? please help

Thanks

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 4:22PM
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veggie_girl

When do you guys start noticing growth?

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 11:03PM
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yellie11

I live on Long Island and my fig tree is also not showing any signs of new growth. It's about 5ft tall and did great last year. Should I cut the tree down to the soil? Any tips would be appreciated.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2014 at 8:08PM
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dragonfly10305

My huge old fig tree (definitely over 50 years old) still is not growing. (May 24th). Many of the buds that froze in January after getting so warm in December are rotted off, and a lot of the smaller branches are definitely dead. However, many of the larger branches still look green in a scratch-test. No new growth, even from the bottom. I love this tree, and my fingers are crossed! But it's getting harder to stay hopeful...

None of the fig trees in the whole neighborhood have come back to life yet this year...

Wondering how long I should wait before pruning it all back, and how much i should prune...?

    Bookmark   May 24, 2014 at 8:11PM
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herman2_gw

Your tree will grow from soil line up very soon.
If it looks ugly you can cut the tree down to about 2 foot high at this point in time.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 10:21AM
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dragonfly10305

Thanks! Today, two teeny-weeny minuscule buds poked out at the very bottom of the tree. (It's almost like it was listening to you! ;-) ) I'm going to hope for more!
Is there any chance some buds will poke out higher up, later, or even next spring? I don't mind how the bare tree looks, I just want to do whatever's best to help it survive...

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 1:24PM
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hoosierbanana

There is a chance, but because the tree went out of its way to grow from the base it means the trunk is damaged. Any growth up top will be weak and more likely to be attacked by pests and diseases, while the suckers from the base will grow vigorously.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 7:02PM
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Little-football(7)

My tree is excreting some type of dry stuff around the base of the trunks. They look like light brown worms. I know there's some life in there about to burst out. I'm just wondering how soon and how much I need to cut the old wood of this 7+ foot tree.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2014 at 8:35AM
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Little-football(7)

Went to the garden center today to ask about my beloved figgy tree. Long story short, I took the chain saw to figgy and cut all but about one foot above the ground. I'm hoping it will now have a chance to sprout.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2014 at 1:03PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

I'm in southwest Texas. My outdoor Celeste freezes to the ground or nearly so every winter. That's borderline zone7/8. Have a friend in Victoria Texas not far from the Gulf coast. His freeze back most winters. So you guys out East are just getting what's regular fare here in a much warmer climate.

It's our wildly fluctuating temperatures all winter that do figs in.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2014 at 1:13PM
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gnappi

When I was young growing up in New York my whole (Italian) neighborhood had figs and they ALWAYS wintered well even in the worst winters.

I remember wrapping the bushes in news paper, then rolling tar paper a few layers thick around them and tying them up with twine.

I'm in Florida now and don't worry about this anymore :-) but for you northern folks how are you prepping the figs for the cold weather?

    Bookmark   May 27, 2014 at 8:17PM
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JetSmooth

Came here to find the answers to this same phenomenon. We just moved to a house two weeks ago. The fig outside is about three feet tall and seems totally dead, except for several saplings coming up around the base. Some are as far away as two feet from the base. Can I remove one of these and plant elsewhere?

So do we cut the old growth back until there's signs of living in the branches?

There's also a locust tree or something else growing in there. How can I get it out of there without damaging the fig?

This post was edited by JetSmooth on Wed, May 28, 14 at 9:51

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 9:48AM
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JohnnieB(Washington, DC 7a/b)

I have several figs and they all suffered pretty major damage. One of them I thought for sure was dead but just yesterday I found a tiny green sprout emerging from the base. So give them time, they may still come back!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 11:31AM
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jostus(7)

Here, in NYC, the fig trees everywhere appear dead. A few lucky ones are putting out a leaf here and there but no real growth. They're not even suckering. Mine are not growing at all. This is a first here. In a possiably related story, all of the hydrangeas here have all died back to within inches of the ground. It's the same everywhere I go. No hydrangea flowers and no figs.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 8:32PM
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nassauguy26

Too true Jostus! I learned from my Italian neighbor, like Gnappi said: tie the fig up like a Christmas tree, wrap in burlap, then butcher block paper, then tar paper. I was too lazy and cocky this November after 3 years of unwrapping it early to prevent rot. Silly me .... Et voila! See Dead fig. All the potted figs that I literally threw in the cold garage - fine. I'll try to send a pic of the living, LOL. Hydrangea burned to the ground. Only upside is my clematis Hyde Hall is scrambling through the sticks and will put on a show until the shrub grows back.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2014 at 1:13AM
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nassauguy26

Here's the largest one I threw in the garage. It has some little figs on it.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2014 at 1:21AM
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cecarr

Take heart, our 3 year is in a really sheltered spot, and this month has sprouted from about 1 foot below the branch tips. Its also sprouted from the base. I'm not sure whether to remove base shoots, if we I keep them it would make a more branched tree.
Also, I read that buds die below 16F, roots below 0F.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2014 at 8:59AM
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nassauguy26

Thanks. I'm still waiting for signs of life. A friend in Garden City with a 12 foot fig 10" diameter trunk just pushed shoots 6 inches from the base. The tree is sited in a protected courtyard.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 4:01PM
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dragonfly10305

I pruned off all the smaller dead branches last weekend (filled up two contractor bags...)
I've now got about a dozen tiny green buds (and a couple of tiny leaves); most at the bottom and a few higher up.
More pruning next week...

My neighbor also pruned her smaller fig down; it's got 6" shoots coming from the bottom.

At least they're not completely dead, but it's so depressing... :-(

    Bookmark   June 4, 2014 at 5:16PM
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Little-football(7)

Yes! Figgy is alive! Today is the first day I noticed growth at the base... one little bud.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2014 at 5:51PM
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Little-football(7)

BTW, this fig tree is very special to us because it is an off-spring, 3rd or 4th generation that my grandfather brought to NY from Italy long time ago.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2014 at 6:00PM
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featman(11209)

OK, I see allot of despair, but no solutions. I covered my white fig tree in Brooklyn for 12 years. Great, tasty figs. Last year I suffered a severe injury and didn't cover the tree. I picked the wrong winter to not cover it.
I pruned some dead, snapping branches at the top, but there is some green when I scratch the tree near the bottom. Tree is about 7 feet tall now. I want to take drastic action to save its life. How far down should I prune????HELP!!!!!

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 2:35PM
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Dorota123

My 5 year old beautiful fig tree also did not survive the winter in DC. Thankfully i see new growth coming up from the ground. The advice i got from an arborist was to check the branches to see if any of the tree is alive and cut down anything dead.
Scrape a twig with your nail or a small pocketknife to reveal the layers beneath the bark. Dead twigs will be gray or brown inside. A living tree has a green cambium layer immediately beneath the outer bark and green, white or cream-colored wood inside the twig. Check several twigs in different parts of the tree to ensure the entire tree is dead.
good luck!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 10:02AM
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klavier(Z7 Baltimore)

I assumed that if I haven't seen growth by now, my poor figs were dead. I had them growing in pots, and not even the roots survived. I just went online and bought a "chicago hardy" fig, I also bought a much larger heavy ceramic pot in hopes that the larger size will provide more protection. I did not have a problem the last few winters in Baltimore, but this winter was much worse than any I have experienced before.

Also deceased:
Pineapple lily
Butterfly bush
Chilean Pine (Araucaria araucana)
Gladiolus
Musa Lasiocarpa

Cheers,
Werner

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 9:52PM
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Little-football(7)

I'm starting to get exponential growth but I know for certain there won't be much harvest this year.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 10:06PM
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biglanz

My fig tree, 4 foot tall is producing no leaves!!! It's soft and not brittle, I am currently trying to root from a cutting to make sure. Any suggestions? It's June 13th.... Had leaves last year and produced figs. Excel fig is variety, Cleveland Ohio

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 11:49AM
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docbarca

I'm in the same situation. Few sprouts coming from the ground but nothing on the main trunk. Today I noticed on large limb has a soft area where it attaches to the trunk and almost looks like pus oozing out. Anyone else noticing anything similar.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 5:49PM
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THEVICSTER

MOST OF THE TIME PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS FORGETTING TO WATER THEIR FIG TREES IN THE WINTER MONTHS.. THEY NEED WATER THEN ALSO.. ABOUT EVERY 2 TO 3 WEEKS.. HAVE TO CHECK THE GROUND FOR MOISTURE!! BUT IF YOU DON'T GIVE IT TO THEM.. THEY JUST MIGHT DIE ON YOU!!??

    Bookmark   January 7, 2015 at 1:00AM
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