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help for figs

 
Posts: 283
Location: Huntsville Alabama (North Alabama)
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I bought some new figs and the most recent one is turning black around the leaf edges.  
This Brown Turkey was planted a week ago and there has seen some heavy rain.  I did plant this on a raised mound and had to travel for the week.
Is this a disease or drowning?  
I did transplant to a higher area just in case.  The other fig (Celeste) is one I planted nearby two weeks earlier. and it seems to be doing real good.  
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Brown Turkey Fig
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Celeste Fig
 
pollinator
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Hi Dennis,

Is your soil hot with certain organic matter or nutrients? It looks alot like some type of burn. Have you ruled out frost or cold damage? Not all varieties deal with cold the same, but my guess is something in the soil. Can you describe your ammendments and if any nitrogen rich ammendments have been added?
 
Dennis Bangham
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Location: Huntsville Alabama (North Alabama)
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I did a mix of sand (2x), soil (2x), compost (1x) and peat (1x) on the raised mound and topped that off with wood chips.  I did the same for both.  
The Celeste was planted three weeks ago and replanted last weekend because I wanted both to be located together.  
The soil underneath is a gravelly clay mix.
I did talk with a neighbor who said it only rained one day while I was gone.  This happened so fast I am wondering if it was heat and low watering since the rain only happened Thursday evening but the trees should have morning sun and shade by 2 pm.
 
R. Steele
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Dennis Bangham wrote:I did a mix of sand (2x), soil (2x), compost (1x) and peat (1x) on the raised mound and topped that off with wood chips.  I did the same for both.  
The Celeste was planted three weeks ago and replanted last weekend because I wanted both to be located together.  
The soil underneath is a gravelly clay mix.
I did talk with a neighbor who said it only rained one day while I was gone.  This happened so fast I am wondering if it was heat and low watering since the rain only happened Thursday evening but the trees should have morning sun and shade by 2 pm.



Anything is possible, but to me it looks like a neighborhood dog may be using at as latrine, since that looks like burn. Drought would mearly amplify the salt and or nitrogen burn. Since figs are fairly drought tolerant, and only one tree is affected. I doubt the problem is strictly moisture, as why wouldn't your other tree be affected? And also why does the affected fig have they typical black edged leaf necrosis signifying some type of burn?

Many factors could be contributing, but the black necrotic leaf edges are a statement in themselves. Maybe someone else has more information to contribute on the subject and or diagnosis. But unless you can rule out dogs or some other mammal marking the tree, thats my best guess what may be happening.
 
Dennis Bangham
Posts: 283
Location: Huntsville Alabama (North Alabama)
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The trees are in a locked backyard with a 5 foot fence.  Outside of chipmunks and squirrels I have not seen any 4 footers in the backyard.  Update there was a heavy rain this afternoon which knocked off the black edges.  
Thanks for the help. Maybe I just need to see what develops now that I transplanted it to another area 10 feet away.
 
R. Steele
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Im sure it will be fine, just don't give it any fertalizer for a while.
 
pollinator
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Figs are tough.  I'd just make sure the moisture is evenly adequate and, as other stated, don't hit it with any additional nitrogen until it's growing and well established.

Brown turkey is my favorite variety.  Not so sweet (like a kadota), and not too strongly figgy (like a Black Mission).  Just right, both fresh and dried.
 
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Location: Australia, New South Wales. Köppen: Cfa (Humid Subtropical), USDA: 10/11
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The blackening is probably caused by too much water - remember figs prefer Mediterranean to Sub-Tropical climates, so they do best in the heat with good drainage.

I also suggest you planted it too soon after soil improvement - in a warm climate, I'd give it a good month for the bed to 'ripen'.

Also, fig production is improved if you contain the very rampant root system e.g. Put a large concrete paver in the bottom of the hole and plant the tree on it. This stresses the tree to produce more fruit and stunts its growth to a manageable size.


 
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Does the core/center of the tree have access to air? My wife's Greek uncle scolded me recently during a visit to the States for mulching my fig too heavily. He said it needed air. He even suggested digging around the plant after the winter to aerate the soil.

I have a Celeste and a Brown Turkey fig that I planted in fairly heavy soil, on a gentle slope, near a big tree for sun and rain protection, and didn't do any amendments. I sprinkle(d) compost around the perimeter of the plantings and that's about it. They're alive and well.

I wonder if the nutrients in the peat and the compost drained down to the roots of your fig during the rain and the roots of the fig sat in that liquid and became unhappy. I also wonder if the sand accelerated the drainage. I don't think you need sand or peat for figs. Were the wood chips treated with anything?
 
Dennis Bangham
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Location: Huntsville Alabama (North Alabama)
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I made sure the center of the tree and the crown were uncovered.  The soil underneath is very hard gravelly clay so I made a mound out of other materials to go around the already ample 1 gallon soil that was in the pot.  From what a neighbor told the only rain was the night before I came home.  
I am suspecting severe transplant shock because this evening the fig looked a lot better.  A heavy rain knocked all the black dead leaves off and it started to perk up a little.  Maybe in time it will be better.
 
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Mine did that too. As has been said, the right amount of mulch for a fig is no mulch, they make such thick foliage they create their own shade. I removed the mulch to bare soil and the figs are happy. You are lucky they didn't die, I killed almost half by mulching (I bought 30 total plants on a sweet deal!). Other thing as has been mentioned is they come from a Mediterranean climate. And Mediterranean soils. Those are calcium rich limestone soils. I amend with limestone extremely heavily, or the figs stay as golf balls. They need a huge amount of calcium. For the first season I used barn or quicklime in several applications to get a reasonable level quickly, then converted to literally a shovelful of dolomitic lime per tree each winter.

Got a whole bunch of figs year 2.
 
Dennis Bangham
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Location: Huntsville Alabama (North Alabama)
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Thanks TJ.  I added a lower amount of quicklime because I have a lot of limestone already present in large boulders maybe 2 to 4 feet under the trees. This quicklime had maybe 40% magnesium.  I have the long hot summers too so these figs out to be real happy.
Now to sit and wait.  
 
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To me it looks like too much water.  Figs need really good drainage.  I had the same thing happen when I was still unaware of that - transplanted a fig to a larger pot and used a too heavy soil mix.  The leaves all died in a similar manner and the roots rotted.  

You said you moved it and it's already looking better, did  you plant it higher?

Btw my advice would be to remove those small suckers at the base of the plant.  Depending on what form you want the tree to take.  But it'll increase the vigor of the main branches.
 
Dennis Bangham
Posts: 283
Location: Huntsville Alabama (North Alabama)
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The difference in height for the transplant would only be a few inches.  I have Karst Topography which means underground streams can show up anywhere and move to another place.  I now build mounds for all plants in the backyard since this is where I have lost several trees already to drowning.  Right now they plant has recovered and it may have been adding lime or moving to another area.  Hard to tell.
I did lose a Pluot to drowning in the last few weeks.  The heavy rains are causing problems underground and above ground.
 
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