Leaves curling and drying

fritzgarden(US z7 NY)June 30, 2012

we have 2 potted figs of the same age, though I think they are 2 varieties.

They have always been green but haven't returned figs for the last few years.

This year I topped their pots with granular lime as suggested by a local nursery.

Previously I had used lime "powder".

This year one of the plants has started to get curled and drying leaves. They both have been fertilized (Miracle Grow 2tbsp/gal 1x/wk) the same and watered the same, twice a day before and after the sun is on them.


I'm suspicious of the granulated lime idea.

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noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)

Hi fritzgarden,

If this is the regular Miracle Gro that mixes into a liquid, I think that's way too much fertilizer. I was told by a woman who works at MG, for potted plants, 1/4 teaspoon/gall is the amount to use. You are using 2 Tablespoons/gal and are putting that on them each week.

I don't know about the granulated lime. Let's see what someone else says about this.


    Bookmark   July 1, 2012 at 1:25AM
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You may have applied the too strong fertilizer solution to dry soil, and/or burnt the roots by the high concentration. Flush the soil with cool water, for a few days, and move the trees into a bright, cool, shaded area. Just give them plain water for a while until you see evidence of new healthy growth.

Always apply diluted fertilizers to already, water-saturated growing mediums to avoid root-burn. Strong fertilizer concentrations will compromise your plants, and could even kill them. Your trees are in "shock". Nurse them back to health, and start over with very DILUTE, - 1/4 tsp. p/gallon - solutions of fertilizers, if any.

Good luck to you, and the fig trees.


    Bookmark   July 1, 2012 at 9:07AM
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fritzgarden(US z7 NY)

seems like over fert is the idea. Makes sense. I thnk the info I had was way off.
I found something that suggested "washing" the roots with cool water and not full sun for a couple days.
I wonder if I should resoil/repot. I'd rather the healthy plant and no figs this year.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2012 at 9:48AM
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fritzgarden I agree with the other posts and think you received bad advice reference lime and fertilizer. A few other points:

1. In my opinion folks in the North East should stop using fertilizer after 1 July to help stop the plants from pushing new green wood and to get ready to harden in the fall.

2. Figs don't like wet feet and you may be over-watering the plants. If the pots aren't draining properly you could be drowning the plants.

3. You mentioned your plants and their behavior over the years. Have you ever potted up your figs? If not I suspect your plants are root bound and that is why you need to water twice a day.

Personally I have used Tapla's soil mixture over the years get great results and water every other day.

I hope this helps

Here is a link that might be useful: Tapla Soil Mixture

    Bookmark   July 1, 2012 at 10:47AM
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noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)

Hi Vinnie,

What about lime application? How much should one put on potted fig trees and how often?


    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 2:09AM
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fritzgarden(US z7 NY)

@ johnsvmf.
Thanks very.
Pots draining well, but I think it's time to pot up.
They are currently in 21" pots and noticeably root bound on top.
Do you think this can be done now? I don't care if I miss figs this year if I can get the trees healthier.
There seems to be different views on surface lime, yes or no and powder or granular.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 11:08AM
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I suspect the pots are draining quickly because it is root bound and the water is quickly draining around the rim. I have an opinion the others may not agree with but I would only use lime if I was mixing soil and I would use it sparingly in accordance with Tapla's soil recipe. There are posts on this forum that successfully root pruned late in the season. Personally I would buy larger pots and repot them. In February I would give them a healthy root pruning, I think you will be very happy the results next year.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 5:36PM
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"Personally I have used Tapla's soil mixture"
If you use Tapla Soil recipe,you do not need to apply Limestone in top.
But if you do not,then applying limestone powder is beneficial,just to make sure the mix is not acidic.
In any case using Granulated Limestone is the right thing to do because it dissolves slowly over a couple of years so it doesn't turn the soil alkaline instantly like powder Limestone does,if too much is applied.
It is not a good Idea to use Miracle grow in a small pot,because it burns the roots,if too much.
Osmocote,yes,because it also dissolve slow.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 8:01PM
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noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)

What do the effects of too much lime look like on the fig trees?


    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 12:43AM
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Well,on both Forums nobody ever reported any bad results from using excessive limestone ,especially the slow acting,granulated.
Of course it is not indicated to be used in already alkaline soil.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 10:04AM
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For Tapla's soil mix, where do you get pine bar fines in Southern CA. I've never seen them being sold. I can get some dropped pine needles sometimes around the neighborhood.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 5:23PM
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fritzgarden(US z7 NY)

Here they are today. 93ú. Watered twice.
Are they over watered or over fertilized or .....?

Here is a link that might be useful: potted figs

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 4:10PM
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As far a pulverized lime a rule of thumb for gardeners is to never use lime when you are using fertilizer as it has negative effects that does not help with plant growth. Liming should always be done a few months before applying fertilizer (the exception is mixing Taplas soil mixture in February). Once you apply the lime, your soil pH level should remain stable during the summer months. As I stated I would not lime unless I am potting or re-potting plants. We always have varying opinions on these forums but I will say I don't think it is a coincidence that when someone doesn't follow the norm that they experience difficulty. That is why this forum and the figs4fun forum are valuable.

Noss I do apologize for not answering your questions I don't check the form very often but try to help when I can. As far as the Pine Bark Fines you are correct they can be problematic. I invested in a chipper shredder. I buy pine bark nuggets at Lowe's for about $4.50 for a 4.5 cubic foot bag and shred them. By the way Tapla's mixture is way better then Miracle Grow soil mixture or anything on the market and it is significantly cheaper. The other benefit is Tapla's soil mixture is it is easily recycled during root pruning and potting up. I just add the lime and Oscomete (sorry for the spelling).

So to recap I only use lime when my plants are dormant. Whether it is my lawn or figs. If others want to apply it differently so be it.

I hope this post helps.


    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 8:34PM
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noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)

Fritz, What are those trees in? What is that stuff on the surface of the pot? Is that the lime? It looks like mud.


    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 8:46PM
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fritzgarden(US z7 NY)

It was granulated lime. It does look like mud now.
21" dia (at the top rim) plastic pots

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 8:58PM
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fritzgarden(US z7 NY)

Do you use a particular brand of Osmocote or are they all pretty much the same?
14-14-14 so it would seem.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 9:05PM
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noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)

Thanks, Fritz. That's a lot of lime. I've never really seen a post telling how much lime to put in the pots. How deep is the lime in the pots?

I haven't put a lot of lime on my pots, so maybe I'm underliming them. I've used dolomite lime on my trees and it's like finely ground stone and is heavy when I pick it up in my hand. It flows off my hand and there is very little airborne dust to it. After it's watered a few time, it has been washed into the mulch.


    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 9:09PM
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