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Isaac1

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Reply with quote  #1 
I have a fig tree of unknown variety grown from a cutting of another of my fig trees.  The problem is it is about 5 years old and is still only a knee high stem less than an inch in diameter with no branches.  Before you ask, yes it is still alive, and has the start of some green buds.  I know its location is not ideal as it is planted a bit close to a pear tree (12-15 feet), it is in the back part of a large backyard so has not been given the attention that the fruit trees near the house have.  Still I am not sure what to do with it, any suggestions? 
FiggyFrank

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Reply with quote  #2 
Is moving it to a new location an option?  With it being 5 years old and only knee high, I wonder how large the root system is.
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SuperMario1

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Reply with quote  #3 
You may want to use this as your "grafting experiment tree", or try to move the tree to a better location.  I remember reading some folks grafting poor growers onto healthy rootstock from a BT or something like that.  Maybe even take cuttings from it and graft them onto one of your healthy varieties that get light.  Just some ideas.
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Isaac1

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Reply with quote  #4 
I am a bit hesitant to move it at this point due to the unknown root condition and time of year with green buds starting (Zone 8b Louisiana) also I currently have a batch of clones from the same parent tree rooting.  Parent tree is about 10-12 feet tall and about 12-15  feet wide (limbs grow out 5-8 feet from the trunk), and is probably 20 years old, certainly no more than 30 (house was built in 1986)    I don't think proximity to the mid size pear tree is an issue yet, but may become one if it does grow bigger in the current location.      Given the size and age of the parent tree I have to also wonder if this is a slow growing fig.

Ike

p.s.    I just went out and measured it at 17 inches tall with a fork about 12 inches off the ground, tip buds are green.    Native soil pH is just below 7 in most of the yard. ground has slight slope and drains fairly well
recomer20

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Reply with quote  #5 
If still that small after 5 years in LA, I'd be scratching my head, too. Possible nematode or other soil problem? Since the parent tree is fine (and you could presumably air layer a replacement in no time), I would dig it up and inspect the roots for galls. If so, I might trash it. Otherwise, I'd pot it up with good soil for a season in a 15 gallon pot and fertilize it well and see if it takes off. Might be worth giving it a severe pruning to see if that might force some new growth.

Best of luck.

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Chapman

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Reply with quote  #6 
The pear tree should not be much of a problem.  I would remove the grass around the trunk for about 1 foot diameter and put a couple pounds of 8-8-8 in a circle around it.  Also, have you been damaging the trunk with a weedeater or lawn mower? 
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Smyfigs

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Reply with quote  #7 
Very puzzling! All these suggestions sound reasonable. I would uproot & pot after the season is done to see if any root problems. In a pot you'll be able to control other variables. Keep usposted.
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Rewton

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Reply with quote  #8 
I would hesitate to graft a scion from the stunted tree onto any fig tree that is important to you because you could spread fmv.  Of course, maybe its problem is not fmv but something else but still I would be careful.
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Isaac1

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Reply with quote  #9 
It should not have any weed eater or lawn mower damage, at least nothing recent, there is a T post driven next to it to mark its position so it does not get mowed down.  I think I will try to fertilize it this year, measure it again at the end of the year and perhaps transplant it next winter when it is dormant.  Honestly with its location it has been sort of out of sight out of mind, however I planted a couple of rows of blackberries (Osage and Ouchita ) about 75 feet from it last month and have been watering them using the garden spigot that near the fig tree.
Chapman

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Reply with quote  #10 
Keeping the grass away from it and fertilizing should give it a boost.
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padsfan

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Reply with quote  #11 
My guess-  root rot or nutrient deficiency, possibly a combination, with nematodes added in for fun.  Fertilize and re-plant on a mound.  I know you get a lot of rainfall in LA.

Good luck.

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Isaac1

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Reply with quote  #12 
We do get a lot of rain, but the location where the fig tree is planted is not a low wet area, I live about 100 miles inland 150 - 200 ft above sea level and the terrain is mostly slow rolling hills, fig tree is planted on gentle slope of a hill about 200 feet from the top of the hill and maybe 500 to the creek at the base of the hill.
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