Fig Tree Dropping Figs
(Image credit: JFsPic)

One of the more common fig tree problems is fig tree fruit drop. This problem is especially severe with figs that are grown in containers but can also affect fig trees grown in the ground. When fig fruit falls off the tree it can be frustrating, but knowing why your fig tree won't produce fruit and how to correct the problem will make dealing with this easier.

Causes of and Fixes for Fig Tree Fruit Drop

There are many reasons fig trees start dropping figs. Below are the most common reasons for this fig tree problem.

Lack of Water Causes Dropping Figs

Drought or inconsistent watering is the most common reason that fig fruit falls off the tree. This is also the reason that this fig tree problem commonly affects fig trees in containers. To correct this, make sure that your fig is receiving enough water. If it's in the ground, the tree should receive at least 2 inches (5 cm.) of water a week, either through rainfall or watering. If you are manually watering to prevent dropping figs, remember that a fig tree's roots can reach out several feet (about a meter) away from the trunk, so make sure that you are watering the entire root system, not just the at the trunk. If the fig tree is in a container, make sure to water daily in warm weather and twice daily in hot weather to prevent fig tree fruit drop.

Lack of Pollination Causes Fig Tree Fruit Drop

Another reason for when a fig tree won't produce fruit or the fruit falls off is lack of pollination. Typically, if there is a lack of pollination, the fig fruit will fall off while it is still very small, as the tree has no reason to grow them larger since they will not produce seeds without proper pollination. Again, this is a problem that occurs most commonly in container grown trees that may be isolated from pollinating insects. To correct this fig tree problem, be sure to place your fig tree in a place where wasps, bees, and other pollinating insects can get to it. If you suspect that lack of pollination is causing fig fruit falling off in an outdoor tree, pesticides may be the culprit. Since many pesticides kill all insects, beneficial or not, make sure not to use pesticides so that you do not inadvertently kill the pollinating insects for the fig tree.

Disease Causes Dropping Figs

Fig tree diseases such as fig mosaic, leaf spot, and pink limb blight may cause dropping figs as well. Making sure that the tree receives proper watering, fertilizing, and general care will help keep the tree healthy and will help prevent disease and the fig drop that occurs with these diseases.

Weather Causes Fig Tree Fruit Drop

Rapid temperature changes to either very hot or cool can cause fig fruit to fall off the trees. Make sure to monitor your local weather reports and provide adequate protection for a fig tree that may have to go through a rapid temperature change.

Heather Rhoades
Founder of Gardening Know How

Heather Rhoades founded Gardening Know How in 2007. She holds degrees from Cleveland State University and Northern Kentucky University. She is an avid gardener with a passion for community, and is a recipient of the Master Gardeners of Ohio Lifetime Achievement Award.