Tiny fig tree leaf color

noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)August 22, 2010


I rooted a tiny piece of the tip of a tree I bought this spring.

I have fertilized it every two weeks with half-strength MG liquid fertilizer. I'm concerned that the leaves are staying a very pale green and are also staying very tender/soft.

Is there something I'm doing wrong, like not giving them enough sun? It's been so hot down here that the sun almost immediately wilts the leaves even if the soil is moist. Am I using the wrong kind of fertilizer on this tiny baby? It's growing and putting out new leaves. It doesn't appear to be leggy because the nodes are about 3/4" to 1", or is that a lot for such a tiny mite?

Since it's been cloudy this past week, I've put the tree, in its little clay pot, out in the yard so it would get the benefit of the sun behind the clouds and it's been a weak, pale sunshine. It's not been so brutally hot because of the rain and clouds. I've let it get rained upon, as well. It hasn't seemed to make any difference in the leaf color or texture, though.




Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Noss,
you mention its growing.
In my opinion your giving it great care and since its growing it will be fine in time. Sometimes these little mites as you say dont grow so well at first in real hot weather but you mention yours is growing it will be fine in my humble opinion.
Dont over water and dont burn the young plant with the hot sun you have there and in time it will be fine.
They do things when they want to and sometimes when we try to fix them we make it worse, im good at that !
If its growing i would keep doing what your doing in my opinion.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 10:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

What type of soil is it in? did you make it yourself? using a wick to help drain excess water (if it's a comercially prepared soil)?


    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 11:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)

Hi Martin,

Thanks for your input. Because it's been so blazing hot this summer, the fig treelet has not been out in the sun much. It wilted real fast when I did put it in the sun, so I've kept it on the carport where it gets early morning sun and late afternoon sun both of which are very slanted. I'll just keep doing that, then and, since it's growing, will watch over it, but not overtend it. It's a cute little thing.

Hi Al! How are you?

It's in a combination of bagged garden soil which has some topsoil and soil conditioners, which leave it open and well-drained. The water goes right through it without benefit of a wick like I had put in the larger pots. Perhaps with it being in a clay pot, it stays more aerated, as well. I didn't mean to leave it in there, but it stayed active from the start. It was a tip that I had cut from a damaged tip of a young tree I bought this spring. It was about 2 1/2 - 3" in length and I stuck it into that little clay pot with the intention of repotting it into potting soil, but it did so well it finally rooted.

I though the fertilizer would have made the leaves a darker green and also make the leaves more tough, but they're still tender. Maybe that's just because it's so tiny and so young.

Just thought I would check it out to see if I was doing anything wrong. Perhaps I should breathe on it some more. ;)


Vivian a.k.a.noss

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 5:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Hi, Viv. I'm ok. I owe you email replies, I know. ;o)

Probably not fertilizer related, unless maybe you're a little light on the dosage or long on the interval; or, if you didn't add lime to the soil, you're probably lacking Ca and Mg in your plant's diet, because they aren't found in the MG.

This: "... bagged garden soil which has some topsoil and soil conditioners, which leaves it open and well-drained." right away, throws up warning flags. Bagged garden soil is usually sand with a little compost mixed in (the conditioner?). I've fielded dozens of questions like yours over the years that involved using bagged garden soils or topsoil of one type or another in containers, and chlorosis. My guess is it's a compaction/water retention issue.

Sun shouldn't cause wilting when the soil is moist/damp, unless root function is compromised. It might if your plant was a recent transplant/repot, but if you started the cutting in that soil, the root system should be able to keep the canopy hydrated. Roots always come first, and the plant won't grow a canopy it cannot support. WE can DO THINGS that make the plant unable to support the canopy, but left to its natural devices, the roots grow, then the canopy.

High (actual) root temperatures (90*+) can cause wilting, but it sounds like your plant is barely able to keep the plant hydrated when the soil is cool AND the plant is in shade. If it wilts quickly after moving it to sun, especially if you know the roots are still in the 'safe temp zone', you can be almost certain there are root issues - probably soil related.

If you can't repot, I would still use a wick. If you allow a wick to dangle below a drain hole after watering, it will 'fool' the water into thinking the pot is deeper. The water will move down the wick, 'looking' for the bottom of the pot, and be pushed off the bottom of the wick by the water column moving down behind it.

Also helpful would be to partially fill a larger container (4-5" deep) with the same soil you're using. Set your pot in that container on the soil & fill in around it. If your soil supports 4" of perched water, and you set your pot on 4" of soil & fill around it, ALL the perched water in your soil will move into the bottom of the larger pot. This will still leave you to deal with the compaction issue (lack of air) but at least the soil won't be soggy.

Finally, anaerobic conditions at the pot bottom set up an environment where noxious gasses are produced. Sulfurous gasses, excess CO2, and methane (think sewer gas) all cause problems, one of the symptoms of which is, again, chlorosis.


    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 6:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)

Hey Al! Glad you're okay. :)))

Aha, OK, I'll put the clay pot inside of a little larger pot with a wick and see if that helps, plus I will put a wee bit of lime (dolomite is what I have). The plant does well keeping itself hydrated, IMO, as long as it's not in the blazing sun. People bake in clay pots. This sun may as well be an oven. There's not that much soil in the pot. I recently added about 3/4" of well-draining potting soil to the top of the pot. It doesn't include any fertilizer. The sun it gets, which slants in under the carport twice daily, doesn't wilt the plant.

The garden soil is composed of: Organic forest material, masoner's sand and fly ash, with the soil conditioner, which was bagged separately and has pine bark pieces in it that are small, as well as other organic matter. It was soil I used for tomatoes and bell peppers last year that we reused. That was the first soil I mistakenly put the little fig trees in and you're right--it was so soggy in the bottom third of the larger pots that it smelled like a swamp/sulfurous/rotted vegetation/stagnant water. It was awful. The MG with Moisture Control was no better, poor little trees.

What IS fly ash, anyway? Is it ash that would be alkaline?

I think when I put it in the blazing sun, the sun heated up the pot and tried to cook the roots, IMO, because running the hose on the pot and adding some cool water to the roots made the plant recover rapidly. You would not believe how fast the sun down here can heat up ceramics/stones/clay pots until you can't walk on them.

The sun is so strong down here that if you have a garden hose lying out in the sun, full of water, it will burn you if you squirt the water onto your hands. Don't ask me how I know that! :) You can't touch the water until it's run through the hose awhile. I've taken advantage of that hot water when I need to wash something and I have to use rubber gloves, or a brush with a handle. Leaving the bucket out in the sun keeps that water quite hot. It wouldn't take long for the sun to heat the clay pot up really high.

Anyway, I didn't want to repot it in this hot weather and will do so when the sprout goes dormant. I had so much trouble with the young trees that I put the tip in the pot aside and it was growing before long and I didn't want to disturb it because I wanted to see what it would do.

I will do what you suggest and see how that does.

Thanks so much,

noss a.k.a. Viv

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 9:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Organic forest material could be anything from forest duff to wood chips to ground up pallets & mill ends of ..... any kind of lumber. I would expect, if there is a significant amount of this material in the soil that N immobilization could be a real issue. It often breaks down fast enough to add a significant amount of heat to the soil (like a hot compost pile) and is often associated with an unusually high pH spike at some point during the composting process. Fly ash is reside from burning coal & is rich in heavy metals you don't want to read about, but should. I'm sure WIKI will tell you about it. I know they often use it as a replacement for some of the cement in concrete mixes, and it's added to sand when increased shore strength is required, so I'm going to go out on a limb & say it's probably added to the sand to help give the illusion of tilth or friability. It's not something you would want in a container soil. You might wish to consider whether it's wise to eat any figs from the tree because of the long list of heavy metals in the ash. several percent: arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, strontium, thallium, vanadium, and dioxins are some of them. Please look at WIKI before you think I'm just trying to scare you. ;o)

Stick a thermometer in the soil. If your plant wilts before the soil temperature reaches 90-92*, you're dealing with a compromised root system. If it doesn't, all is well & you only need to do what you can to moderate root temps.


    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 10:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I should have deleted the words "'several percent'" above - just before the list of heavy metals. Sorry.


    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 10:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)

Oh, Wow! How in the universe can they rightfully sell something for a garden with heavy metals in it like that? Do you mean that I should never eat anything from that tree, ever? They killed my baby!!!

Thank you for letting me know. We ate tomatoes and peppers that grew in that soil last year.

Do you think that all my new figs took in heavy metals in the time they were in that soil, too?

I've eaten all the figs from the Celeste tree in the front yard and that tree is also in the same soil. Even the tree inground out back has soil from the bags with fly ash.

Should I get tested for heavy metals, do you think?

How can they rightfully sell something for gardens that is poisonous. I feel a big lawsuit coming on, but if I'm poisoned, what good would that do?

I know you weren't trying to scare me and I thank you for telling me about it. I'm glad I mentioned the fly ash in the post.

So, can I thank the arsenic for keeping all my hair from falling out from the thallium poisoning?

Should I get rid of all the trees? I can't replace the soil under the tree out back.



    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 1:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I'll leave you to look into it. There are grades of fly ash and I didn't do a whole lot of research beyond what I already knew. It may be, since the soil you used was intended for use in the garden, that there are different 'allowable' levels that apply to the product (as opposed to a product intended for container culture). That's pure conjecture on my part, so don't put stock in it unless you validate. I'm not sure how much of the contaminants finds its way into the plant, and that would be the first thing I would want to know.


    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 1:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
oregonwoodsmoke(5 OR Sunset 1A)

It very likely doesn't apply to you, but in the Pacific Northwest, where we have volcanoes and no coal fired plants, some folks call pumice powder "fly ash". It's like sand, but composed of material that flies out of an erupting volcano in a fine powdered form. Probably not what you are getting in LA.

Since I live where the sun is intense, I can tell you for certain that a bit of cloud cover won't protect you or your plants from a severe sunburn. When my babies go outside, it is under a doubled layer of shade cloth, and not for all that long until their tolerance for UV is built up.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 3:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)

Hi Al,

I'm going to get this soil tested for heavy metals and that will give me a starting point. I will also look into getting the fruit tested, as well, next year.

I searched online for information about fly ash and I didn't see anything definitive and there was also conflicting information. Some people said it would go into the fruit and vegetables and some said no. Others said that it would go into root and leafy vegetables and others said it wouldn't.

I will, when the Celeste out front goes dormant, cut it way back and wash all the soil off its roots and plant it into the ground. I can't do anything about the tree in the back yard. I'll change the soil in the pot with the tiny Hunt plant.

Will calcium added to the soil chelate out heavy metals, or bind them? If not, is there anything that will? I'm thinking not because I read about them having to dig out the contaminated soil to get rid of the heavy metals. Ah, well.....

I have trouble remaining cool when I think of what the government allows that will harm us. Why can't they take the fly ash and bottom ash of the smokestacks and get the heavy metals out of it?

Hi ows,

Yes, thanks, I do realize that the sun's rays penetrate cloud cover just the same. After the little tree wilted the first time in the full sun, I stopped putting in the full sun and now it only gets early morning sun and not for long and late afternoon sun. Even if I put it out in the yard under cloud cover, it's later in the afternoon when the rays are more at a slant.

I've got to get some shadecloth like you have. I need it for the herbs, as well. They can't take the full sun, here, either. I laughed when everywhere I read said they need full sun. I wonder if people who say that have ever tried to grow herbs down here? If so, I wonder how they do it.


    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 10:03PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Lob Injir (Myrna or Calimyrna cuttings)
I'l like have cuttings of Lob Injir (....), I've allowable...
Anyone have cuttings for sale
Hi I live in Toronto and I was wondering if anyone...
fig question
Has anyone tried to grow fig olympian and did they...
Celeste Figs - Trees or bushes?
Is there only 1 variety of Celeste Fig, or does it...
Cincinnati, OH Hardy chicago fig Hardy chicago fig 2015
The picture below is carried over from last year. Hardy...
Steve, Z (6Bground,5B roof) Cincy,OH
Sponsored Products
Wilshire Rectangular Braid Texture Area Rug
Home Decorators Collection
Wyndham Brown and Multi-Colored Rectangular: 3 Ft. x 5 Ft. Rug
$101.95 | Bellacor
Brown Leaf Mat
Grandin Road
Tube 85CRI 24W 27 Deg Outdoor Architectural Ceiling
Jardins du Seda France Red Orange Boxed Candle
$39.50 | FRONTGATE
Leeds Mini Pendant by Kichler
$132.00 | Lumens
Fresca Black Bathroom Linen Side Cabinet w/ 3 Large Storage Areas
Mersa Diamonds Flat Weave Wool Dhurry Rug (8' x 10')
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™