How and when to fertilize fig trees
The fig tree is a fruit tree of the genus Ficus, although it has its origins in Asia, it is currently cultivated almost everywhere in the world. This is a tree with a long history, Egyptologists assure that 4500 years ago, the Egyptians already cultivated fig trees. Its years of history include many secrets to its successful cultivation. In this publication we will dedicate ourselves to deepen everything about the fertilizer for fig tree, how and when to do it, what fertilizers to use, as well as some general tips about its cultivation.
Keep in mind that there will be many variations between one fig plant and another, be it by its species (there are more than 1000), its age, climate, etc. The tips that we will develop below do not cover each and every one of the situations, they can be something general. That is why you must apply them responsibly and understand what you do.
Table of Contents
1. What do the three numbers mean on the label of a fertilizer?
If you’re just starting out in this gardening world and have never used fertilizers intensively, you’re probably wondering what those three numbers mean on any fertilizer package. Don’t worry, it’s something we’ve all asked ourselves at some point.
If you’ve ever stopped to compare between two or more different fertilizer bags, you may have noticed that each one features a different combination of these three numbers. Some are 10-10-10 others 20-10-15, and therefore an infinity of combinations. Let’s start by saying that these three numbers are known as the NPK values.
Don’t panic, understanding what NPK values are is very simple. They represent the value of the three nutrients that plants use. These are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and end in potassium (K).
Specifically, what the number represents is the percentage of each nutrient in the fertilizer bag. Let’s take an example so that you understand better. If the mix is 10-5-10 and the bag weighs 10 pounds, that’s 1 pound of the total is nitrogen, 0.50 pounds of phosphorous and 1 pound of potassium.
Simple right? Well now if we can start to get fully involved with the fertilization of your fig tree.
2. How to grow your fig tree
Generally speaking, the Huguene can be said to be a strong plant, capable of growing in places where many other fruit trees could not. Although in this article we will study fertilization in depth, we will take a moment to give some general advice to cultivate this fruit in a good way.
The most efficient way to reproduce a fig tree is by cuttings. When selecting the stake to reproduce, note the following:
- Be sure to take the variety of fig tree you need, it is very easy to confuse between one variety and another.
- Preferably take basal cuttings, this because they generally tend to have more resistance.
- Correctly observe the plant, always look for a healthy and strong branch.
- The right time to cut the stake is when the fig tree has lost its leaves, during the winter.
- The stake should be between 20 and 40 cm long, make the cut about 2 cm above a knot.
When reproducing the fig tree by means of a stake, two ways can be followed. The first is to place the stake in a pot, take care of it for a year and, in the following spring, perform the transplant. The second is to place the stake directly on the ground, thus avoiding transplanting.
Both forms are equally valid, the second is highly selected for large plantations, thus saving the transplant work. If you are planting one or two fig trees in your garden, it may be best to choose the first option, as you will take better care of the cuttings in a pot.
The water needs of the fig tree are not great, surely it is among the fruit trees that best adapt to arid climates. The time when you need more water is during the production of your fruit.
As a general rule, it can be said that with 600-700 liters of water well distributed throughout the year, the fig tree will develop correctly. While you need more water in the summer, too much can be very damaging. You should always make sure not to puddle the soil during watering.
Once transplanted, the fig tree can take about two years to bear its first fruits. Even so, the total production of the plant will arrive around the fifth or eighth year.
The harvest is done manually, depending on the system with which the plant has been formed, the harvest can be more or less complex. You should always be careful, since in the cuts the fig tree emits a whitish resin that tends to irritate the skin a lot.
As we said before, the harvest can be quite complicated depending on the system with which we form the plant. Not to mention how extremely difficult it can be to harvest a plant that has never been pruned.
The pruning requirements for this fruit are not great, but it is essential to carry out training in its early years. And then perform an annual maintenance pruning.
The ideal pH level for proper growth of a fig tree is between 5.5 and 6.5. Ph levels that fall outside that range can lead to poor plant development, as well as reduced ability to access nutrients.
The ideal soil for a fig tree must be able to hold water, but at the same time it must be drainable enough not to remain constantly wet. Retention will help in the production season, where water requirements are greatest. The ability to drain is a detail that helps prevent root problems, especially fungi or rot.
3. The best fertilizer for fig tree
In general, it can be said that one of the nutrients that the fig tree needs the most is nitrogen. Adequate amounts ensure good growth and production. Other nutrients that can be good when fertilizing are phosphorus and potassium.
The use of slow release balanced mixes is recommended. This prevents nutrients from being released over a long period (8 to 12 weeks), avoiding possible damage from excess nutrients such as nitrogen.
3.1 Soil fertility
Although it can be guaranteed that applying nutrients like nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus to the fig tree during fertilization is a good thing, it is not a rule that should always be applied.
Something that greatly influences fertilization is the characteristics of the soil. Therefore, it is always good to conduct studies before planting your fig tree. This study will provide essential guidance when scheduling possible fertilizations.
A very common example is adding lime to soils that have low pH levels. Failure to carry out the relevant studies could have serious problems in the development of the plant in the future.
Therefore, it is good to carry out soil studies with some regularity (every one or two years), this will give us greater security on how to carry out fertilization. Keep in mind that both lack and excess of nutrients are harmful to the fig tree.
If you are reading this post, you will probably be interested in learning about fertilizing these other plants.
3.2 Most suitable fertilizers
In case you point out that your fig tree isn’t developing as strong as it did in other years, with slow growth and somewhat pale leaves, it may be a good time to fertilize. A nitrogen rich fertilizer can be of great help (eg manure or natural compost). Keep in mind that this can also help the development of fruits, which can reach a larger size but at the same time may lose flavor.
Another very common case in which a fig tree may need fertilizer when planted in very sandy soil. Rapid drainage not only prevents water retention, it also does not retain nutrients.
When you are not sure of the characteristics of the soil where you planted this fruit tree, the use of a general-purpose fertilizer can come in handy. It can be one with an 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 analysis.
In addition to the many special fertilizers that are marketed, we can list the following that can be used on this fruit:
- Fertilizer for citrus.
- Fertilizers of mineral origin.
- Fish emulsion.
- Blood meal.
- Fertilizer for general use for vegetables (oranges).
As you can see, there are many options, but it is always advisable to be cautious, carry out tests with low amounts and follow the instructions in case of fertilizers for commercial use. It is better to place less than to overshoot and kill the plant.
4. When to feeding fig tree
If we must talk about when to apply fertilizer to fig trees, we must necessarily differentiate by the age of the plant.
When you have just transplanted the seedling (in an inactive season like fall / winter), you should not apply any fertilizer. You can start fertilizing with the first buds of spring.
In the case of already established plants, you must divide the fertilizations into doses that are divided throughout the year. Start by applying in the first days of spring. It will be during the summer when you may need larger portions of nutrients, but you can extend your application during the fall, stopping applying in winter.
5. How to fertilize fig tree
Although I don’t want to be repetitive, it is important that you understand that fertilization should be spread throughout the year. Applying large amounts together can give more nitrogen than necessary, creating major problems.
For small plants, 1 to 2 years old, you can feed it with one ounce of fertilizer per month. While in older trees that amount can increase, reaching up to a third of a pound per foot in height. Always keep in mind that these are genreal measurements, which must be adapted to the reality of your plant.
Among the problems that excess fertilizer can bring are problems in the ripening of the fruit. If you notice such a problem on your fig tree, you can try reducing or even eliminating fertilization.
Not always the problem in the maturation is due to the excess of fertilizers, it can be the lack of irrigation or the lack of potassium. The application of fertilizers rich in potassium and phosphorous will greatly help production. The first assures a good maturation, while the second helps a good development of the inflorences.
6. Fertilizer for fig tree video
To end the video, we have decided to select a good video to help you more graphically understand everything seen so far. I have no doubt that this video on fig tree feeding will be useful. (Creator of the video Enlightenment Garden channel).
We have reached the end of this article, I hope it has been helpful and you know a little more about fertilizer for fig tree. 🙂