|shallow cultivation to control weeds and grasses. A thick
layer of hay or straw mulch will help to eliminate unwanted
vegetation and conserve soil moisture. Nematode damage appears to be
less important where trees are mulched. In addition, mulches help
maintain desirable soil temperature and aeration. The fig is well
suited to this practice, since roots are shallow in most soils. Never
cultivate deeply around figs.
Pyzner also recommends a general fertilizer of 1 pound of 8-8-8 per
year of age of the tree up to 10 years of age. This maximum of 10
pounds should be continued for trees 10 or more years old. Apply
fertilizer in late winter or early spring.
A good indication of the need for fertilizer is the amount of shoot
growth obtained. A satisfactory amount of shoot growth is 1 to 1 1/2
feet per year. One common cause of fruit not maturing on fig trees is
over fertilization using nitrogen fertilizer.
Pyzner says 4 to 6 inches of mulch and regular watering will often
produce adequate growth of trees without sacrificing yield and
quality. Do not fertilize trees in late summer, since succulent
growth is more susceptible to cold injury. Vigorous late-season
growth is not desirable.
Because figs are shallow-rooted, they often come under stress during
dry periods. The Celeste variety, in particular, drops early fruit
after spring droughts. Late summer droughts may cause early
defoliation and induce dormancy.
Regular irrigation is very important in producing quality fruit.
Pyzner warns, however, that extremely late irrigation promotes
succulent growth going into the winter and can cause the tree to be
more susceptible to cold weather injury. It should be avoided.