We have three young fig trees just planted this spring. All three have been looking healthy, but, now one of the tree's leaves are turning yellow and falling off. They are watered regularly, have been fertilized when planted but now, I'm afraid we will lose all of them. Can you please give me some imput on this concern. Thanks, Phyllis McCann
Thank you for your question.
It sounds like you might be seeing the effects due to potential root rotting. When the tree is transplanted, you can anticipate that it will be stressed by some transplant shock. Typically it take about 1 year for the fig to get establish and this is a critical period. The yellowing and defoliation of the leaves may be an indicator that the root has failed. I would suggest carefully digging out the dying plant and evaluate the roots. If the roots appear mushy or rotted and dark (instead of nice off-white/whitish color), then you are dealing with a root rot issue. Root rotting can be caused by some disease causing agent and/or (more often) too much soil moisture. If this is the case, you may want to back off on irrigating the other figs. A general rule of thumb for watering plants would be to stick you finger in the soil up to your second knuckle or so (~2-4 inches) - the soil should be moist, NOT wet.