Not sure if fig tree is alive or dead

Asked April 14, 2019, 5:24 PM EDT


I live in Laurence Harbor, New Jersey and last year I planted a very small fig tree. He grew nice over the Spring , Summer, and Fall. I didn't cover it and now it is the middle of April and I don't see any buds or signs of life. I have included 2 pictures of my fig tree. Please let me know what you think. The 2nd picture is hard to tell but when I scraped the branch there is a hint of green on the stem

Best Regards,


Middlesex County New Jersey

1 Response

Hello and thank you for choosing Ask An Expert.
The fact that you have some green in the tree is a good sign. I see that it is planted in the ground so there are a few questions I would ask:
Do you know what type of fig tree it is?
Is it considered "cold-hardy?"
Did you protect it in any way over the winter?
Is it planted in a protected part of the yard or is it out in the open where winter winds are able to reach?
Fig trees are native to the Mediterranean, a warmer climate than our mid-Atlantic one so fig trees need protection over winter. If it was not protected from the blustery, cold temps it may have reduced the vitality of the tree. Add to that the fact that winter is a bit tenacious this year and is having a hard time realizing it's time to give over. Fig trees tend to start leafing out in late spring. Going by the temperatures we have had, nature thinks it is early-mid spring right now so your tree may be waiting for warmer temps before it starts to put on leaves.
All is not lost though - you may still have some success. The best thing you can do is wait - I know - patience is not a virtue that most gardeners readily exhibit but it does pay off in the end! Worst case scenario - you may have to replace the tree; but hope for the best and learn from the experience. In the words of Janet Kilburn Phillips: "There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments."
Have hope, sprinkle on a bit of faith and top with patience! In other words, give it some time - that's pretty much the only thing you can do at this point.
Moving forward, when the growing season comes to an end this year, look up some ways to overwinter your fig tree or come back to Ask An Expert and we can give you some suggestions.

Hope this helps!!

You will receive a brief survey to let us know how we are doing and what we can do to improve our service. Please take a moment to fill it out!!

Happy gardening


Thanks again for choosing Ask An Expert,

J.W. Wistermayer