Mummified Fig Tree Fruit: What To Do For Dry Fig Fruit On Trees

dried fig fruit
dried fig fruit
(Image credit: GiorgioMagini)

I love dried fruit, particularly dried figs, which prior to drying must ripen on the tree first to enhance their high sugar content. If you're having issues with mummified or dried up fig tree fruit, it could be the result of several things.

About Dry Fig Fruit on Trees

Fig trees are extremely shallow rooted and as such, are susceptible to stress. High temperatures and lack of water during summer months will certainly impact the tree, resulting in dry fig fruit on trees. Be sure to mulch heavily around the plant to retain water. Consider putting a soaker or drip hose under the mulch. Another possible origin for withering figs may be that you have a male tree, which produces fruit but whose sole purpose is to cross-pollinate a female fig tree. These figs never ripen, and while they may not exactly be termed as drying on the tree, they are indeed inedible. To solve this issue, take a cutting from a female fig and plant it next to the boyfriend. Proper nutrition is another key to preventing mummified fig tree fruit. If your figs are shriveling up, it is likely that they are not getting the nutrition they need to make glucose, the good stuff that aids in ripening the fruit into sweet, soft and juicy figs. While fig trees are fairly tolerant of their soil, it does need to be well draining so the plant gets plenty of oxygen. Use a good manure or compost, amended into the soil to nourish it, and then feed the fig tree with a liquid food once fruit sets. Some diseases, such as fig rust, or other leaf spot diseases, and twig blight may not only affect foliage but also the fruit. Figs may wither or fail to mature. Dispose of old leaves to prevent re-infection and use neutral copper spray to combat these diseases. Lastly, the root system of fig trees is shallow but prone to spreading too far, which will affect the fruit. Corral the roots by growing the tree in a large pot or in the ground surrounded by paving of some sort to retard rampant spreading. Also, the fig tree should be grown facing south or southwest, sheltered from the elements and with as much sun exposure as possible. Dried up fig fruit need not be a problem. Simply follow these simple tips so you can enjoy sweet, plump fig fruit year after year.

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.