Fruit never matures! Does anyone know why?

meyermike_1micha(5)August 12, 2014

I get tones of figs on all my trees which I have now...But I can't see them growing any larger than they are to ripen before fall sets in...IT's so discouraging...

If I don't get them to ripen before they have to come in, I will be throwing them all out..This is my third year attempt at it..

They are dormant and I dring them out of dormancy as early as I can, like let's say February....I just don't understand..

They get about 5 hours of direct sun and I feritlize with Foliage Pro at every watering....

Some are kept in smaller pot, roots filled in and other in much bigger pots still yet to be filled with roots...I keep them all on the shorter side...

Please help...I'm am going to loose a whole bunch of dime size to quater sized fruit along with tons of baby fruit coming on too.


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mister_potato_head(VT 5a)

I know your pain, I have the same problem. Much of my fruit never ripens, due to the short growing season in New England. I do get some to ripen by limiting the number of figs per branch. I leave no more than three figs, and sometimes two figs per branch. That way the tree has less work to do to ripen some fruit.

It's hard to pick off those lovely figs, but at least I get some to eat. Try it on half of your trees, and see if it works for you. Good luck.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 3:34PM
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Figs need long hot days to ripen - apparently longer than you can provide them.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 3:39PM
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Generally, figs need between 70-85 days to ripen, from fig-bud stage, to fully mature fruit.

You don't mention what variety you are growing, and you don't mention if you are pinching back new growth after every 5-8 leaves. You don't mention if you are getting and letting a breba crop of figs ripen. Also five hours of direct sun is just a minimum amount. Root bound figs will be set back regardless of fertilizer schedule.

If you are growing the wrong variety for your climate you may never get a crop to ripen in your short, cool growing season.

Try limiting the number of figs on each branch, DO NOT allow breba figs to develop, and pinch back all new growth to 5-8 leaves. Keep pinching out all new forming figs. If you can increase the sun exposure to eight hours, that will probably help ripen figs faster. Make sure the variety is matched to your climate.

When nighttime temperatures start to cool off you will probably need to bring them in at night and out during the day. Cool nighttime temps will cause figs to stagnate and stop developing. I'd leave only the largest figs on the trees and pull off all smaller figs. Stop all's too late now, and new wood has to harden off.

Hope this may help. Don't give up. Growers in your climate zone can, and do, ripen figs.


This post was edited by BronxFigs on Wed, Aug 13, 14 at 6:00

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 7:14PM
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Frank, thanks a million and I hope you are doing well..It's been a while..You are not kidding by saying short growing season..What a joke. They were a lot longer when I was a kid..Hot weather running into September..NOy any more..We don't even get consistent hot weather in July anymore..Somethings wrong...

What varieties are great for up here? I have several I bought from a local farmer so I am surprised he would sell the kind that take much longer..He never even gave me the advice you did..

I thought growing figs were easy...As it is now, my plants are not loaded with leaves, more so with fruit from tiny to much bigger..
The leaves on many of them are turning yellow already which tells me that there is too many fruits to support or the weather just sucks.

I do have a spot on the roof that gets over 8 hours of sun, so that is where they are going tomorrow after this dark rainy day.
I will pinch off all the fruit I know that will never make it and pray for the best..This is a lot or work for one or two figs per tree I tell you. I think I am better off to buy them fresh at my local organic store..

I am not sure of the name of them, but once i know, I can let you know.
I do have a couple of Chicago hardy, Brown turkey, Celeste and Honey Italian...They are probably all late to ripen trees probably...What a joke..I wish I had known all this before I invested time and money.

I can't even see a nice hot end to this summer..I have the feeling we are in store for some much colder air earlier than ever..I am about to move south..

Frank thanks again and so good of you to help))

Lazygardens, thank you..Something that no longer exists up in my area...

Misterpotatohead...Do you think it's worth the aggravation or work for just a fig or two? I don't know..I feel your pain for sure....I wish our summers were long and hot like they use to be..
I use to be able to grow Plumeria and Desert Roses, but no longer..It's just not hot enough anymore for a long period of time...You need at least 20 days of 90 or better to grow them plus figs I suppose, and that's not happening anymore.



    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 8:33AM
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Calm down. : )))) Those varieties you mentioned will give you figs in your climate. (Also check Joe Morle's web-site: "Italian Fig He's located in Boston, Mass. Any variety he sells will give you ripe figs in your climate). But, you gotta be a wiser, more savvy, grower, and force your trees to comply with your goals, i.e. give you ripe figs before cooler weather commences.

You need to think real hard about your culture....which is probably the cause of your problems. Figs need heat and sun. Try to keep the containers cool by mulching, but keep the tops in full sun. Keep trees moist and never let them dry out. Make sure drainage is perfect. Ten-fifteen gallons of growing mix for trees bearing figs, is not too small. 5-gallon buckets can fill with roots in one season. Cut away some leaves if ripening figs are shaded, and expose them to the warming sun.

In areas having a short growing season, you will need to pinch all new growth back to 5-7 leaves and limit the quantity of figs that you allow to develop. It's better to ripen a dozen figs than to have five dozen figs that stay green, and never ripen. Also, if you can, stop using high nitrogen ferts. This will cause main crop figs to develop too late in your season, and will delay ripening. So will containers that are too small. Root bound fig trees are stressed trees, and if the trees dry out, they can abort figs. ("Celeste" can abort figs when stressed).

Opt for as much sun as possible, and, if you have to, bring figs out of dormancy early, and extend the season by bringing figs into a warm area at night until figs ripen. Cold night temps will prevent figs from ripening. In the spring, also bring figs out in full sun by day, and into a warm area at night.

It sounds like a lot to check, just to get figs, but it will become second nature. Successful fig growers in New England take some, or all of these precautions.

Pinching back all extra growth throughout the growing season, especially after June 21st, will shorten your ripening time by at least two-three weeks. Figs that normally ripen in early Sept. will start to ripen in August.

Young trees will bear figs later than mature trees. It takes a few years for trees to settle into a predictable routine, but the environment, and weather conditions will trump your best efforts. By the way, this spring was very cold and the ripening of main-crop figs in most of the cooler areas has been delayed by 2-3 weeks. In some areas trees didn't sprout leaves until June....guess what, no ripe figs on those trees this year. All growers get screwed by their trees, once in a while.

Don't give up without a fight.


This post was edited by BronxFigs on Wed, Aug 13, 14 at 12:32

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 12:25PM
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Frank, your are such a good man..You have always been one of my favorites and never off my radar..I a, sorry we lost touch and hopefully we can e-mail soon again..

You reiterated what Joe sadi at Italian Figs since that is where I got all of mine..You are right, it takes certain step to succeed in growing some to ripen and I had no idea....He called me and told me what you said...I called him yeserday before I posted here and you have come to my aid first..Thank you very much Frank...

Let's keep in touch and I can fill you in on what's going on here...and you likewise..

I have always been grateful that I met you and saddned that we lost touch..Lot's has happen inbetween that time..

I will copy this and print it out and apply all these good suggestions come after winter..I did already pluck a few tiny ones but not all so they would grow next spring for an early ripe....


    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 3:48PM
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Hi Mike-

Thanks for the kind words. Just e-mail me and we can "talk" about figs and other things.

I was happy to read that you spoke with Joe Morle. He's an old timer that knows what's what with figs.

Follow his fertilizer suggestions. Foliage Pro is good for plants but has too high a nitrogen content for figs. His web-site has growing, and fertilizer suggestions, and they are worth following.

You don't mention the size of your trees, but they sound like they are at bearing age. Bearing age trees need a good amount of growing mix, or they can be stressed from high container heat, and tight roots. Maybe both.

You're a smart grower. Just make damn sure your culture is correct, and that your trees never dry out. If the trees dry out when figs are ripening, the figs can abort, or, they might become corky, and dry.

Contrary to what you might think, fig trees are probably the easiest fruit trees that one can grow. With a little extra care, you will get figs. Growing figs in containers is a lot different than growing fig trees planted in the ground. Both have merits,but containerized fig trees are totally under your control....grounded trees are not.

Good luck and keep in touch.


    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 4:21PM
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