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Storing up energy for overwintering

Posted by noss 9 Lafayette, LA (My Page) on
Sun, Sep 5, 10 at 20:03

There was a post about figs needing to store up energy to overwinter alive.

I got a little fig tree that the man at the nursery (NOT Mr. Robin) said had lost all its leaves and was just now putting new leaves back on. They don't look too good, are pale and small. The posts said not to fertilize the fig trees late because the trees needed to concentrate on storing energy for dormancy.

This little tree is just a baby, so what are the chances it will be still alive in the spring?

Is there anything I can feed it that would help its energy rather than putting it into growing leaves? I shouldn't have gotten it, but I did and then saw those posts. It's guaranteed, but I still don't want to lose it if I can do anything about it.

Thanks,

noss


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Storing up energy for overwintering

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Sep 5, 10 at 22:16

Hi, Viv - There is a lot of anecdotal information parroted all over the net suggesting that we shouldn't fertilize in the fall because it will cause new growth that will freeze ........ and so on. It's true that N plays a major role in stimulating vegetative growth, but N plays no role in stimulating budbreak. Plants start storing energy in earnest after the summer solstice. A couple of months after they seriously start storing energy, they will have set buds for the beginning of next years growth. Budbreak is related to day length, not N supply. Your trees will die back to viable buds, whether you fertilize them in the fall or not, and no matter how much N you supply, it will not initiate bud activity during diminishing day length.

There is no reason not to continue to fertilize well into fall with a regular program of NPK. The plant is able to store all three elements, which can be a very important source of nutrition in the spring when cold soils make acquiring particularly N and P difficult.

I would be concerned with why the plant has small and pale leaves. If we consider for a moment it could be because there are nutritional deficiencies, withholding fertilizer could be almost the equivalent of a death sentence. If your plant has just pushed a new flush of growth to replace the lost foliage, it's energy reserves will be extremely low. The ONLY way it can recharge its batteries is through photosynthesis, which requires leaves (though very young trees are capable of a little photosynthesis in green stem tissues).

I would make sure the soil is ok - don't over-water - stick with your 3:1:2 soluble fertilizer until leaves are off - and try to optimize cultural conditions so the plant can work efficiently.

Al


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RE: Storing up energy for overwintering

  • Posted by noss 9 Lafayette, LA (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 6, 10 at 0:14

Hey Al,

Thanks so much. I'm not sure, but in looking at it more closely, it may even have FMV. Still, there are not a lot of distorted leaves on the tree.

It's probably foolish to buy a fig tree at the end of the summer down here, but the ones I got from Mr. Robin are looking good. This little tree is not from a chain nursery, though. I think the nursery kept it in too small a pot. I don't know if it should be put it in a 3 Gal. It's in a one-gallon pot right now. It's not a "whip", either. It has a girth as thick as the ones I got from JR that he has in 2 gal. contianers. Plus, they're black pots. The trees' pots were crowded together and probably shaded the pots from the sun so much, still the tree had lost its leaves. Unwise buy, probably. I'll have to talk to it and see if that helps. ;)

The tree has buds all along the little trunk. They don't look like the kind that would sprout out now. Not sure about that, either.

I'll give it some food and sun and see how it does. Should I move it to a larger pot?

Should I use half-strength fertilizer? If so, how often should I feed them?

Thanks so much,

Viv


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RE: Storing up energy for overwintering

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 6, 10 at 15:54

You prolly should move to a larger pot if the root/soil mass can be lifted from the container intact. If it can, pot up now or wait until leaves fall & repot, or repot in the spring.

Fertilize with a soluble fertilizer now. Half strength is fine, but how often you should fertilize depends on how often you're watering and if you're watering so you flush the soil each time you water. If you ARE flushing the soil, half strength weekly when soil temps are below 85* is fine. If you're not flushing the soil, half strength every 2-3 weeks is probably more realistic.

Take good care, PW. ;o)

YPA


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RE: Storing up energy for overwintering

Hi Noss and Al~
My new tree has little green buds all over and I was wondering about them too. I will try and get some photos.

Very new to figs! :) Have only had my tree 2 weeks and were off to a rough start. lol..

Al~ I'll be yelling for help :)

JJ

JoJo


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RE: Storing up energy for overwintering

  • Posted by noss 9 Lafayette, LA (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 6, 10 at 23:05

Hi Al,

I repotted the fig tree today and the roots are horribly potbound and large, as well. I'm wondering if it's from last year, they are so large in diameter. It was in a one gallon pot, poor little thing. It's in a slightly larger pot for now. It has some fresh soil around its rootball and a layer of mulch on top of the soil. I'll feed it and the other one I got with it. Moved it to a larger pot, as well. I'll repot them to a larger pot after they go dormant because I have to cut some roots that have tied up the root ball. Talk about roots filling up the pot!!! I can't wait to see what the roots in the plant I got in the 3 gallon pot look like. I got that one because it has two trunks and I'm thinking of splitting it into two trees by air layering the second trunk. :)

I'll feed the trees on wednesday. The roots weren't really disturbed because there wasnt any way to do that in a rootball that is more like concrete than roots! Shame on them for letting it get that way! A nursery, no less. I don't think it could have gotten roots that thick in one season, could they?

Al, when I repot it, should I try to unravel the roots that are wound around in a circle (Like-all of them...), or just take a razor knife and cut straight up through them? Sorry for all the questions, but I'm still new to this.

JoJo, Good luck with your new little tree. Talk to it--The carbon dioxide is good for it. ;)

Thanks,

noss


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RE: Storing up energy for overwintering

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Sep 7, 10 at 17:59

I'll be watching out for you, JJ. ;o)

Viv- If potting up now, take a utility knife & with the blade fully extended, cut about 4-5 vertical slits the entire ht of the root ball, then cut an 'X' on the bottom. Put some soil on the bottom of the larger pot, set your plant on top of the fresh soil, then fill in the void around the perim. After leaves fall & you're working on the repot, saw the bottom 1/3 of the roots off, then bare root the plant. Take as long as you need to, but be careful that you keep the roots moist the whole time you're working on them. A hose is helpful for blasting away loose soil and for clearing it away so you can see what you're doing. I usually work over a tub for small trees & dip the tree in the water every few minutes. Remove any circling or girdling roots, and roots that grow back toward the center. Repot in a well-aerated and durable soil, using a wood dowel to work the soil into root pockets as you add the fresh soil.

Too bad you guys aren't closer - we could have a (re)pot party!! ;o)

Al


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RE: Storing up energy for overwintering

Hello :)
Noss.. Thank you! :) I do talk to it. :) I ask it to forgive me every day. lol.. I got my tree the first week my son was back to school, which was hectic to say the least! When I got the tree home, I set it in the yard. The next day was crazy with running errands, and it cooked! I lost 90% of the leaves. At the nursery it was tucked in the middle of other trees and I just didn't think about it being in the open. :(
I literly cried..lol..

It's slowly getting new leaves now.

<>
Thanks Al~ I need all the help I can get! ;)

I lifted the tree out of the 5 gal. cont. last night, and it is root bound! Horrible, and i'm not surprised. I will go ahead and pot it up for now with the 5-1-1. in the fall or spring, I will repot into gritty.

It has tons of brown, horrible roots all on the outside, should I get rid of them now, or just cut through them like you told noss upthread, and deal with them in the fall?

And will putting a brick in the bottom of the container affect the drainage any? The fig is going in a plastic pot, it's huge, but I worry about winds, at least until I can get it into gritty mix.

<Al >>

Too bad is right!! Sounds like it would be a great time! :) Our tree's sound like they could use it! :)
Thanks!

TTYL..
JJ


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RE: Storing up energy for overwintering//

Al~
I tried to copy paste and it didn't work. lol..

"Too bad you guys aren't closer - we could have a (re)pot party!! ;o) "

Al

:) there , that's better.. Yes, It is too bad were not closer. ;)

Noss~
How are your tree's doing?
JoJo


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RE: Storing up energy for overwintering

  • Posted by noss 9 Lafayette, LA (My Page) on
    Thu, Sep 9, 10 at 23:34

Hi Al,

Will do. The fine hairy roots are wadded up like felt! I tried to push them aside to give me more room to push soil into the sides and they were just not moving. I think I'll trim them off, as well when I repot. Scissors will work.

JJ--You and I are kindred spirits--But you need to talk to your little tree and tell it how beautiful it is and how much you want it to live and do well, etc. All positive stuff, ya know? ;) Fig trees are so tough. Cheer it on--The more CO2 it gets from you, the better--Just don't go and hyperventilate, or anything! :)

My trees are doing all right in this heat, nothing negative has happened to them since they got here, anyway, which is good.

You, Al and I form a triangle in this country-I wonder if there's any energy in that, with our good thoughts?

noss


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RE: Storing up energy for overwintering

Noss, JoJO,
you folks talk to your trees? Sing em a song a nice soothing song !
This one works nice a Dean Martin one.

In Napoli where love is king
When boy meets girl here's what they say

When the moon hits you eye like a big pizza pie
That's amore
When the world seems to shine like you've had too much wine
That's amore
Bells will ring ting-a-ling-a-ling, ting-a-ling-a-ling
And you'll sing "Vita bella"
Hearts will play tippy-tippy-tay, tippy-tippy-tay
Like a gay tarantella

When the stars make you drool just like a pasta fazool
That's amore
When you dance down the street with a cloud at your feet
You're in love
When you walk down in a dream but you know you're not
Dreaming signore
Scuzza me, but you see, back in old Napoli
That's amore

We all know that Amore means and the fig tree Loves Love songs.

Martin -
PS - for those that have recieved mail package from me knows what my last name means in Italian !


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RE: Storing up energy for overwintering

  • Posted by noss 9 Lafayette, LA (My Page) on
    Fri, Sep 10, 10 at 1:03

Martin--You are too precious.

I shall start singing to my fig trees, then. I never thought of that. :)

Now I'm eaten up with curiosity what your last name is! I'll have to win something from you so I can find out!!! ;)

noss


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RE: Storing up energy for overwintering

No you dont have to do that i sent you a message.
Martin


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RE: Storing up energy for overwintering

Good Morning!
Noss~ Kindrerd Spirits we are. :) Oh, I do tell it how beautiful it is and encourage it too. ;) Tons of positive stuff inbetween the "I'm Sorry's" ;) Oh, I still feel bad about it burning. :(

~"The more CO2 it gets from you, the better--Just don't go and hyperventilate, or anything! :) "~ lol

I almost did when I found it burned.. but am O.K. now.
It's doing better.. getting new growth and i'm slowly inching it out into the sun each day. Our temps are comming down now too. :)

It's good to hear yours are doing well. :)

~"You, Al and I form a triangle in this country-I wonder if there's any energy in that, with our good thoughts?"~

There has to be. ;)

Martin~~ Glad you joined us. :)
I love your tree's!! Was just showing hubby some pic's of them yesterday. I'm planning on getting several more! The one I have now is Black Jack.

Gosh, sing to them? I might scare it! I cant sing! LOL! But could give it a try. ;)

"Amore" good choice. :)
Now I'm curious about your last name too! lol..
My great grandma was Italian. :) Grew up in Sicily.

Have a great day everyone!
JoJo



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RE: Storing up energy for overwintering

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 11, 10 at 10:25

Fom JJ: "It has tons of brown, horrible roots all on the outside, should I get rid of them now, or just cut through them like you told noss upthread, and deal with them in the fall?"

Brown & horrible to whom - the tree or to you? ;o) If you don't think your tree is going to give up the ghost in the immediate future because of root congestion, I would either wait until leaves fall & do a repot this fall, or cut the slits in the root mass now & repot in the spring before buds move. It wouldn't hurt anything either, if you cut the slits and potted up now, to repot later after leaves fall.

I'm going to work on a post about how to use science to 'fool' heavy soils and lessen the impact of excess water retention. I'll refer you to it after it's written. You'll find the answer to your brick question in that post, but basically, it has no impact on drainage, but can have a considerable impact on o/a water retention.

Al


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RE: Storing up energy for overwintering

Brown and horrible to me! LOL!
Thanks for showing us the options we have. I've never messed with roots in the past, so it's all kinda scary. lol.

I will pot it up now. The soil it is in is like cement! I think water running straight out is a bigger problem for me than retention.

The pot tipped over in the wind, and none of the mix it's in now budged! I cant even dig in with my finger to check for how moist it is.

It was on a drip system when I bought it, and I know if I leave it like it is, I will forget to water it! I already cooked it and don't trust me. lol..

Thanks!
I hope to get this done today. :)

I'll skip the brick and see how things go ;)

I'll be looking forward to your new post!
Boy, if I had studied this much in school, would have been a straight A student..he he..

Have a great day everyone!

JJ


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