Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Fig drop.

As you guys know, my gardening skills have been earned trial-by-fire-like here in SwitzerFrance. Having no prior gardening experience prior to 3.5 years ago, I've learned everything by doing. That means that for all of the victories there are also some inevitable setbacks.
This is our second season getting figs with our potted fig trees, though the first year for all but one of the trees.
Of our seven fig trees in large pots that are currently producing figs, all look healthy and happy, except for one...
...hello sad little yellow figs.
I did a bit of research on why the figs on this tree are turning yellow, and I can pretty safely say that the cause has been lack of consistent/enough watering.
I've definitely been a little lazier this year when it's come to watering the plants, being pregnant and all, but coming into this season I was also wrong in assuming that being somewhat established trees (over 2 years old for all but one of them) would mean that they would not only need, but want, less water.
I was wrong. Apparently this is only true for established trees that have been planted in the ground. Why is this? Because their roots can search deep in the ground for the appropriate amount of water, where potted figs are slaves to their pots (and those caring for them).
I guess I should feel lucky that only one fig tree is having this problem. It's definitely gotten me to step up my consistency with watering all of the trees though, as I'd love to be able to have a nice harvest in the next month or so.
How do you recognize this problem before it's too late? These figs started looking a little dried out, and felt a little soft and spongy to the touch. Since I obviously didn't correct the problem, they then continued to turn from green to yellow. None have fallen off on their own, however I have knocked into two of the attached yellow figs and knocked them off that way (not on purpose). I'm pretty sure that falling off on their own would be the final step in this tree's 2013 fig harvest demise.
So how do you fix this problem? According to what I've researched, if the problem is lack of watering or consistency in watering, well, change that. If you catch the problem soon enough you shouldn't lose your whole harvest. I noticed that with my French Brown Turkey tree I was able to correct this problem when they were at the spongy and dry looking phase by giving the tree some extra water. That tree has looked great ever since, and has 20 medium sized figs on it that I hope will continue to ripen. It may be too late for this little Italian cutting however, as we're at the yellow fig phase, but hey, you live and you learn.  
If for some reason the changes I've made make a difference I'll be sure to let you guys know.
Now I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that my other six trees continue looking healthy and give us some treats in September!
A la prochaine friends...

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