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Leaves fell off of my fig start!

 
Dave Dahlsrud
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I have a Hardy Chicago Fig cutting that I rooted. When I transplanted it into it larger pot the leaves fell off. It still has a little green on the growing tips, but I'm wondering if the little guy will make it. Is it common for the cutting to loose it's leaves like that or is he toasted? Any feedback welcome...thanks.
 
Burra Maluca
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Almost every fig I've transplanted has done that. It seems to be a built-in reaction when the disturbance to the roots means that the water uptake is less than is needed by the number of leaves present, so it drops them.

So long as you keep the thing watered, and there isn't too much damage to the roots from the shock of being transplanted, it should be fine. Don't give up on it yet!

I had some photos somewhere to illustrate this. I'll see if I can find them...
 
Burra Maluca
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Found them! I'll include the original notes that I'd put with them, and the date.

June 25th. This one is planted in especially thin, poor soil that dries out really easily. As soon as the weather turns seriously hot, it drops its leaves so that there is a better balance between water uptake and water loss. Then it puts out new leaves, a bit more cautiously.




July 11th. Two weeks later, it looks like this.



 
Bryant RedHawk
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yes it is normal for fig trees to drop leaves after a transplanting, as long as you keep it watered it will come back, sometimes they come back stronger than before the transplant.
We have one brown turkey fig tree that we put in ground last year, it not only dropped all the leaves it also sacrificed most of the above ground growth. This spring it came back from the crown and is now almost 4 feet tall.
 
Dave Dahlsrud
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Good news! I'll keep it watered and hope for the best. Thanks for the input, guys.
 
Cristo Balete
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Dave, make sure the tree always gets enough water. They may be tough trees and grow lots of leaves, but I never really got a good crop of figs until I gave it extra water when the fruit was forming. If you get enough rain, maybe you won't have to, but check it to make sure the soil doesn't dry out. Mine also seems to be happier when the side shoots came up. and it's now a multi-trunk tree I kept trying to keep it to one trunk, but it's doing a lot better now that I just let it do what it wants. Duh!
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Cristo, as you discovered, fig trees are typically multi trunk trees and they bear better when allowed to take their natural form.
 
Cristo Balete
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Yeah, Bryant, took me a while, but all the fruit trees I planted were on rootstock, and I assumed that one too. Although I knew the rootstock types of the others, and I wasn't really focused on that at the time. And when I was a kid there was a giant fig tree, probably 50 feet tall, it put out maybe close to a hundred pounds of figs every summer, and it had a single trunk, so I never really questioned whether it should be another way. It wasn't until I saw some pictures on the internet that I realized that tree might be trying to tell me something.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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When I was a child my grandparents had two single trunk fig trees. I currently have three trees, two are being trained as single trunk trees, you have to prune the "suckers" almost constantly for natural root trees, or graft on to a suitable rootstock.
It also has some to do with which variety you are growing, I've noticed that the green figs (green when ripe) tend to be the single trunk and the brown figs such as brown turkey tend to be multi trunk trees.
If you like, I could make a list of the fig varieties and common traits of each and post it here.
 
Dave Dahlsrud
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Bryant that list would be awesome!!!

As an aside, it looks like the leaves are starting to come back on my little stick! Thanks for the advise, I sure would have hated to scrap that experiment to soon. Once again the community at Permies has come through!
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Here's a wee bit of information on fig trees along with a list of eating figs.
There are over 700 named varieties of fig trees, but many of them are of no use to home gardeners.
Fig trees, shrubs and lianas are in the genus Ficus, a part of the fig or mulberry family (Moraceae).
Most of them are found in the tropical regions of the world.
There are some that can live in the warmer temperate areas.
Many species may turn invasive in the right location.
Many species of Ficus have aerial roots and are epiphytes (plants that grow on other plants) or hemiepiphytes (starts off the same as the epiphytes, but the roots eventually reach the ground).

The ficus genera is distinguished by their fruit, which is called a syconium.
An easier to understand this description is: An Inverse flower, where what is normally found on the exterior is found on the interior.
Both male and female flowers are found within a hollow stem (the "fruit" we are familiar with).
They are pollinated by different wasp species.
These flowers develop seeds, which are the true fruits.

Like the pineapple, this is also considered a multiple fruit since the fruit is made up of a bunch of flowers fused together.

The traditional banyan tree is the Indian banyan, though this name may be used for several different species of fig trees.
They may also be called strangler figs because of the way they grow.
They can sprout in the holes and cracks of an established tree and over time grow around the trunk, effectively strangling the other tree.
These trees are epiphytic and the branches form roots that stretch towards the ground and take hold.
This effect can make the tree spread out over a large area.

Now that we have covered some of the basics of the Ficus genra, here are some of the species with a wee description.

Latin Name: Ficus benghalensis
Other Common Names: Banyan, strangler fig, Bengal fig, Indian fig, East Indian fig
Native to: India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan
USDA Zones: 10-12
Height: Over 100' tall.
Some specimens spread out over a wide area that can be several acres.
This species would make a most awesome tree house tree.

Latin Name: Ficus microcarpa
Other Common Names: Laurel fig, laurel rubber, Indian laurel, curtain fig, Malayan banyan, Cuban laurel, Indian laurel fig, strangling fig
Native to: India and Malaysia
USDA Zones: 9-11
Height: 50-60' tall
The Chinese banyan is another species known as the strangling fig.
This is commonly used as a street tree in tropical areas.
As the Latin species name tells you, the fruits are small for figs.

Latin Name: Ficus congesta
Other Common Names: Congested fig, red leaf fig, Shatterthwaite fig
Native to: Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines
USDA Zones: Likely 10-11
Height: 10-50' tall
Yet another member of the "strangler fig" family
This species can be used to build living bridges, most of the strangler fig family can be utilized in the same way.

Latin Name: Ficus lyrata
Other Common Names: Fiddle-leaf fig, banjo fig
Native to: Western Africa
USDA Zones: 10-11
Height: Up to 100' tall in the wild
The large leaves are similar in shape to a fiddle, inspiring the common name.
This too acts as a strangler fig in its native habitat.
It is a recipient of the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society.

Latin Name: Ficus macrophylla
Native to: Australia
USDA Zones: 10-11. Can probably survive in 9 if it is mature.
Height: Can be over 200' tall
This species of fig features huge, curving roots that form above the surface.
This is the type of tree seen in "Jurassic Park" when they find dinosaur eggs out in the park.
This is yet another strangler fig.

Latin Name: Ficus elastica
Other Common Names: Rubber fig
Native to: India and Indonesia
USDA Zones: 10-11
Height: Can be over 100' tall in the wild
The latex sap from this tree was once used in the rubber-making process. Latex now mostly comes from the Para rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis).
You will often find this species currently as a houseplant around the world. Mostly called a "Rubber Plant" or "Rubber Tree."

Latin Name: Ficus benjamina
Other Common Names: Benjamin's fig
Native to: South Asia and Australia
USDA Zones: 10-11
Height: Can reach a height of about 100' in its native region
Their trunks can be braided or plaited, which will cause the wood to grow together over time.
When you hear someone talking of their ficus houseplant, this is the one they usually mean.

Fig fruits are considered to be an aphrodisiac in many cultures.
So let us now get into the specifics of those wonderful figs that we love to eat.

All of the varieties fall into four fig types:
Caprifigs – Caprifigs only produce male flowers and never bear fruit. Their only purpose is to pollinate female fig trees.

Smyrna – Smyrna figs bear all female flowers. They have to be pollinated by a caprifig.

San Pedro – San Pedro figs bear two crops: one on leafless mature wood that requires no pollination and one on new wood that requires pollination by a male flower.

Common figs – Common figs are the type usually grown in home landscapes.
They don’t need another tree for pollination.
Figs that require pollination have an opening that allows the pollinating wasps entry the internal flowers.
Common figs don’t need an opening, so they are less susceptible to rot caused by insects and rainwater entering the fruit.

Here are some different types of figs in the common group that perform well in home gardens:

Celeste, is a small to medium-size brown or purple fig that grows on a fairly large tree.
It produces dessert quality fruit that ripens earlier than most other figs.

Alma figs, aren’t much to look at but the fruit has excellent, rich flavor. It ripens late in the season.

Brown Turkey, produces a crop of large, tasty figs over a long season.
The fruit has attractive flesh and few seeds.

Purple Genca, also called Black Genoa or Black Spanish, is a large, deep purple variety with sweet, red flesh.

Adriatic Figs,These pale green to pale yellow figs are sometimes called "white figs" for their light color.
Some varieties are striped.
They have bright pink to brilliant red insides and an extra-sweet flavor.
They are harvested in June and again in August.

Black Mission, extremely sweet (sometimes they even ooze a bit of syrup).
Are perfect for serving plain or with yogurt or tangy fresh cheese (such as Marscapone, Fromage Blanc, or farmers cheese) for dessert.
They have blackish-purple skin and dark pink flesh.

Brown Turkey figs have brownish-dark purple skin, a milder flavor than other figs,
are noticeably less sweet than the similar-looking Black Mission figs.
Brown Turkey figs work well in salads or in desserts where a sweetener will be used.

Calimyrna, are comparatively large, with slightly golden skin and a pinkish flesh that has a distinctive nutty flavor.
Plus, they are simply gorgeous just cut up and served as-is.

You can find what I consider a very complete list of eating figs with fruit taste ratings
Here: Adrianos fig trees

Ok, so this is probably more than a wee bit of information
 
Cristo Balete
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Nice list, Bryant. Mine is a white Genoa, green figs even when ripe, which means I have to watch it really closely. The only way to tell if they are ready is when they get soft, the color never changes. Kind of a pain you can't just walk by and look at them. It just wants to do its own thing. But the interior is a fantastic dark pink color, great flavor.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Those are yummy figs Cristo, yep just test for softness every day, pick and eat the ones that pass the test.

My wife loves the brown turkey figs so we have two of them. I have been told that when I get to five trees I have to stop. But there are other places on Buzzard's Roost to plant a few more, just not in the orchard.
 
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