Fig Tree Roots – How to Keep Them Under Control

Fig tree roots tend to spread rapidly beneath their canopy in search of water and nutrients, endangering nearby structures such as foundations or plumbing pipes as they search for sustenance and decreasing sunlight reaching the ground surface. Understanding how to control fig root behavior is integral for successful planting and landscape management, with several methods available that can prevent invasiveness while simultaneously encouraging desired growth in desired directions.

Selecting an Appropriate Site

Depending on your climate, newly planted figs may need additional winter protection until they establish. When selecting the optimal site, ensure it offers protection from strong winds while providing access to indirect light, and make sure it drains well and free of compaction while leaving enough space for their root system to flourish without running into obstructions.

Digging the Hole

To prepare to plant your fig tree, begin by digging a hole that is two times as wide and deep as its root ball. Use a shovel to loosen soil around its perimeter before creating a slight ridge at the bottom of your hole to help retain soil moisture. Mulching

Preventing Root Invasiveness

While fig roots may not typically cause any issues, their aggressive roots can sometimes cause damage to structures or property in warm and dry regions where fig trees are more prevalent, cracking concrete or lifting slabs from their bases. There are ways to minimize fig root invasion such as installing underground barrier walls which guide their movements away from infrastructure.

Root Pruning

For optimal fig root pruning, wait until late winter or early spring when the tree is dormant to prune away excess roots while still being able to harvest fruit in autumn. This way, any excesses can be cleared away without hampering harvest time.

Root pruning involves clearing away soil around the base of a fig tree in order to expose a sucker you want to cut, using a sharp shovel as needed to make cuts on its stem and leaves. Doing this will encourage new, thinner, weaker roots from sprouting that won’t be as invasive over time.

Other methods of root pruning can include grafting and planting in containers. While this method can be more challenging to manage, it can also help propagate healthy figs without disease issues.

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