Monday, April 27, 2015

Upon the relative growth of figs

This fig tree is about three years old:

I started it from a 12" branch I rooted in a pot, then planted out once it had a decent amount of roots. I did the same thing with another 12" cutting the same year and it's even bigger than the tree above.

Interestingly, at the same time I planted a few figs I'd purchased in pots from Home Depot. Those were about 5' tall.

Those figs, though they looked impressive in their pots, have failed to thrive like the small, just-rooted 1' trees I planted.

I've heard the same story from a few people at this point. A great-looking fig in a pot that's already grown to a good height just doesn't seem to do as well when transplanted as a small potted fig allowed to grow directly in the ground. Two of the three 5' figs I planted are now SHORTER than 5' because of various die backs. They just don't really want to grow.

I have a theory that figs do much better when they don't have their roots restricted. Figs can grow quite quickly; in fact, the tree in the photo grew to my height (just over 6') within its first year, rapidly outpacing the 5' trees I planted the same year.

I think I'm going to stick to selling shorter trees in my nursery rather than letting them get big in the pot before they hit the market. The vigor of figs seems to get short-circuited by leaving them in a pot for any period of time.

Anyone else notice this phenomenon?

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At April 27, 2015 at 7:40 AM , Blogger SRHildebrand said...

Yes I have absolutely noticed this in all the figs I have planted in various places through the years. I recently bought a large fig that was sort of 'neglected' and the roots had grown out of its over large pot and it is even taller now since I planted it two months ago. However, all the smaller 'healthier' figs in smaller pots (that I have picked up at lowes or other type nurseries) seem to be stunted in the ground. Funny you should post this as I was just pondering it yesterday. I thought I was just unable to grow my favorite tree except in rare circumstances.

At April 27, 2015 at 8:37 AM , Blogger Cristy said...

I enjoy your posts, especially the ones about your grafting and creating new trees from old ones. Would you mind reading my most recent blog post and offering advice about the conundrum I pose?

Here's the link:
Thanks in advance.


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