Fig tree won’t bare fruit

Asked September 9, 2020, 10:46 AM EDT

I have a fig tree in my backyard that is lush but won’t give fruit. The tree is 15 years old. What can I do to fix the problem? See attached photo.

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

The two most likely causes for having a beautiful, lush plant but no figs is inadequate sunlight and winter dieback. In our climate, unprotected figs can suffer winter dieback to the roots. The plant regrows quickly but if it's all first year/new growth, the season is not long enough to get a crop to ripen.
If there is absolutely no fruit forming at all then low sunlight, excess Nitrogen, and wrong cultivar are possible reasons.
For our area the recommended cultivars include Brown Turkey, Celeste and others. You can find more information from our Fig page here:
https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/figs

They really need full sun and winter protection for the best odds of getting the fruit ripened in time. The link above covers winter protection.

If sunlight is the problem and it can't be improved somehow (tree trimming?) you could consider moving the plant (would be extremely difficult) or take a cutting or root section to plant in a sunnier location.
Root pruning can sometimes shock a plant into fruiting, but the best option is to cut the plant back some and winter-protect it so that some of the wood comes through unscathed each winter. That wood is what will produce new branches next season with fruits that have time to ripen.


Christine