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Fertilizer for fig trees


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What NPK ratio should I look for when fertilizing fig trees? 

I've googled it, but practically every site suggests something different. 

In the past, I simply added mature cow manure with varying degrees of success. This time I want to try something different. 

Any suggestions? What do you use? 

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Look for a slow release COF (complete organic fertilizer) with NPK values under 10%.  

 

I'm all for soil testing, but for a single tree or two or three it may not be cost effective.  A general purpose soil improvement approach would be my choice.  If you have planted an orchard, then yes, hire BGS (Best Garden State) and pay the approx 5000 baht for a comprehensive soil analysis.  Its well worth it to get it right. 

 

Since you are posting this on the Organic subforum, I will assume that you may be interested in the organic and regenerative ag approach, and not wanting to get into the endless chemical dependancy with higher and higher need for high salts fertilizer and pesticide use. Harsh chemistry suppresses benefical biology which is all-important in building resistance to pests and diseases, like mites that vector fig mosaic virus.  

 

Attached photos is what I use. The Totto bokashi is EM-inoculated and pre-digested mineral and biological amendments, so not as harsh as some other products.  The Bat Guano fertilizer product is mostly composted chicken manure with some bat guano. 

Plus I would apply a good quality compost, like the excellent vermicompost produced by Biosurge Thailand 

Organic Fertilizer Worm Winner Vermicompost from Thailand (biosurgethailand.com)

 

This product is also distributed by Best Garden State (on FB), which also carries their own COF products, like their 444 general purpose. 

 

Spread the COF over the root zone, well past the 'dripline' (foliar canopy spread), Mulch on top of that with the compost. Any tillage should be very light surface raking and not deeply disturbing to the lateral root zone.  If you have a number of trees or an orchard, then seriously consider mixed species cover cropping. This is one of the best things you can do for soil and plant health.

 

Good water management is vital through the dry season.  Think once or twice a week deep watering for young trees. Avoid daily watering or drip emitters on a frequent schedule. As your soil organic matter, biology and root fungal associations improve, the trees will become more drought tolerant and you can adust the deep watering to a less frequent schedule.

 

Untill your soil building and tree resistance to pests and diseases is fortified (a couple of years), consider preventive spraying with botanical arthropod pest repellent, like Azadirachtin concentrate from neem seed oil extract. (Thai Neem on FB and Lazada).

 

 

Aza.jpg

Bat Guano.jpg

Totto fert.jpg

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Slightly off topic.

 

I have quite a few bats in the garden. During the day, they live at the centre of the drooping palm fronds of the Fan palms.

Every day, I find the skins, or half eaten yellow coloured figs. They are only about an inch in diameter.

I have never seen any kind of fig for sale at the markets.

Does your fig tree also have these yellow fruits, or are they the same kind of figs that you find around the Mediterranean?

I love eating figs, but the only ones I see are the dried ones at Xmas.

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6 hours ago, Rastatoto said:

Nice and informative topic, from where do you buy your "Bat Guano fertilizer"? any address ? thanks a lot..

The 'bat guano' fertilizer that I pictured was purchased at an ag shop across from MaeJo University outside of Chiang Mai city.  But its not the pure stuff, its mostly chicken manure I believe, with some bat guano.  This week I visited the Best Garden State facility in Nakhon Pathom and saw the great additions to their organic products line.  Pure bat guano is now available. although not yet posted on the BGS Facebook products page. Lazada may have other resources. 

 

Disease transmission awareness and use of PPEs should be considered with all manure products, especially bat poo that can be powdered and airborne when handling. Mask and wash. 

 

I'm sorry to say that I don't trust most fertilizer vendors and its impossible to get an honest list of ingredients because everyone is rightfully scared of copy cat product thievery or they are trying to get around regulations.  I trust Organic Totto and BGS for quality and business integrity.  

 

BGS and Biosurge Thailand are now working together to make a superior calcium-enhanced vermicompost that will, in my opinion be one of the best organic fertilizer products available in Thailand.  They supply some big CBD-hemp grow operations, but the vermicompost will be excellent for food production, tree and landscape soil fertility too. 

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6 hours ago, KarenBravo said:

Slightly off topic.

 

I have quite a few bats in the garden. During the day, they live at the centre of the drooping palm fronds of the Fan palms.

Every day, I find the skins, or half eaten yellow coloured figs. They are only about an inch in diameter.

I have never seen any kind of fig for sale at the markets.

Does your fig tree also have these yellow fruits, or are they the same kind of figs that you find around the Mediterranean?

I love eating figs, but the only ones I see are the dried ones at Xmas.

Ficus carica is the tree species of the mediterranean edible figs.  They are difficult to grow for fruit production in Thailand due to climate limitations, and a grower that I just met has moved his production into green houses after failures outside.  Some members here have posted of sucesses with edible figs, Soidog 2 was one. 

 

There are many other native tree species in the Ficus genus which produce fig fruits, but they are not suitible for human consumption. Your bats are probably feasting on the fruit from Ficus microcarpa (Chinese banyan), F. altissima (strangler fig) or another one of the 90 species of Ficus listed in Forest Trees of Northern Thailand, and there may be more in Southern Thailand.  

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21 hours ago, KarenBravo said:

Many thanks for that information. Very informative.

I don't think bats carry fruit to a remote location to feed on it, so you must have the fruiting fig plant near your palm where you see the fruit/seed remnants, or the bats are feeding on a palm fruit, some of which are smallish like you describe. 

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5 hours ago, drtreelove said:

I don't think bats carry fruit to a remote location to feed on it, so you must have the fruiting fig plant near your palm where you see the fruit/seed remnants, or the bats are feeding on a palm fruit, some of which are smallish like you describe. 

The fruits are definitely not from the Fan palm as I have seen them. They are a lot smaller and are red turning black.

The fruits I'm seeing are directly under the fronds that the bats are living in and there are usually several of them every day very close together, so they are being dropped by the bats. There definitely isn't a fig tree any where near me.

So, I have no idea what is going on.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/6/2021 at 8:07 AM, drtreelove said:

Since you are posting this on the Organic subforum, I will assume that you may be interested in the organic and regenerative ag approach

Yes, that is the long-term aim. However, this year I had to cheat a little for various reasons. I used a chemical fertilizer on my citrus trees this one time only and am going to do the same on the figs. 

 

Thank you for the detailed response and advice. 

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I had a few lovely fig trees, quite heavy bearing. From one year to the next they decided to die,I could just pull them out of the ground. I don't think that any fertiliser would have helped much, my garden doesn't like quite a few species of plants.

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On 11/22/2021 at 5:02 PM, cooked said:

I had a few lovely fig trees, quite heavy bearing. From one year to the next they decided to die,I could just pull them out of the ground. I don't think that any fertiliser would have helped much, my garden doesn't like quite a few species of plants.

Many exotic (non-native) plants do not adapt to the tropical monsoon climate and months of wet soil creating conditions for root rot.  Especially if the soil does not drain well, and does not have healthy soil structure and an active soil biology population that supresses soil borne pathogens.  High salts chemical fertilizers and pesticides will suppress soil biology and not help the situation. 

Organic, regen ag principles, methods and materials may help.

 

And then there are possible toxicity issues .  We have one small area in our yard where I can't grow much of anything inspite of my best shot at soil improvements.  I suspect its a construction materials dump spot, paint or fuel spill. I was hoping that the rains would leach out the toxic factors, and my good organic matter and humate inputs would buffer the problem, but its not happening.  A few feet away plants are growing fine. 

 

 

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4 hours ago, drtreelove said:

Many exotic (non-native) plants do not adapt to the tropical monsoon climate and months of wet soil creating conditions for root rot.  Especially if the soil does not drain well, and does not have healthy soil structure and an active soil biology population that supresses soil borne pathogens.  High salts chemical fertilizers and pesticides will suppress soil biology and not help the situation. 

Organic, regen ag principles, methods and materials may help.

 

And then there are possible toxicity issues .  We have one small area in our yard where I can't grow much of anything inspite of my best shot at soil improvements.  I suspect its a construction materials dump spot, paint or fuel spill. I was hoping that the rains would leach out the toxic factors, and my good organic matter and humate inputs would buffer the problem, but its not happening.  A few feet away plants are growing fine. 

 

 

Yeah it seems to be bad drainage, even though I have improved the soil a lot, also something like verticillium wilt, which prevents anyone in the village from growing solanaceae and a few other plants.

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On 11/24/2021 at 6:05 PM, cooked said:

Yeah it seems to be bad drainage, even though I have improved the soil a lot, also something like verticillium wilt, which prevents anyone in the village from growing solanaceae and a few other plants.

That's a huge statement, for a Thai village not to be able to grow phrik, makuathep and makua. My wife would die without her gaeng keow wan. 

For others who may be interested and for those not familiar: the plant family referenced, Solanaceae, includes potato, eggplant, tomato and peppers.

If vert wilt has been confirmed by a plant pathology lab, or if it is in fact a fusarium wilt or phythophthora, or other soil borne pathogen or combination, then it is absolutely a result of poor soil structure, growing conditions and management, and difficiency in beneficial soil biology that would naturally suppress pathogenic fungi and water molds.   The village should get it together and really be looking at public education for better practices to build soil health along the lines of regenerative ag principles. There is a wealth of information and emerging science coming out of that movement. (See the farming forum discussion on "regenerative agriculture" and the links to videos and papers in English and some in Thai).  

 

There is no good quick fix, chemical fungicides would exacerbate the problem in the long run, by killing off the beneficial soil biology.  A comprehensive program of soil improvement is essential, along the lines of Soil Food Web and perhaps starting with intelligent compost inputs. 

 

But a best shot at a quick fix alternative that I would start with, is a biological fungicide that has a lot of attention and tons of recent scientific research demonstrating effectiveness: Trichoderma harzianum, some specific patented strains and some other Trichoderma species. 

Trichoderma harzianum - Wikipedia 

 

 

 

 

 

 

trichoderma.jpg

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11 hours ago, drtreelove said:

That's a huge statement, for a Thai village not to be able to grow phrik, makuathep and makua. My wife would die without her gaeng keow wan. 

For others who may be interested and for those not familiar: the plant family referenced, Solanaceae, includes potato, eggplant, tomato and peppers.

If vert wilt has been confirmed by a plant pathology lab, or if it is in fact a fusarium wilt or phythophthora, or other soil borne pathogen or combination, then it is absolutely a result of poor soil structure, growing conditions and management, and difficiency in beneficial soil biology that would naturally suppress pathogenic fungi and water molds.   The village should get it together and really be looking at public education for better practices to build soil health along the lines of regenerative ag principles. There is a wealth of information and emerging science coming out of that movement. (See the farming forum discussion on "regenerative agriculture" and the links to videos and papers in English and some in Thai).  

 

There is no good quick fix, chemical fungicides would exacerbate the problem in the long run, by killing off the beneficial soil biology.  A comprehensive program of soil improvement is essential, along the lines of Soil Food Web and perhaps starting with intelligent compost inputs. 

 

But a best shot at a quick fix alternative that I would start with, is a biological fungicide that has a lot of attention and tons of recent scientific research demonstrating effectiveness: Trichoderma harzianum, some specific patented strains and some other Trichoderma species. 

Trichoderma harzianum - Wikipedia 

 

 

 

 

 

 

trichoderma.jpg

Yes it's all the fault of the villagers and me personally, of course. I have, as I mentioned, done wonders with the soil I was lumbered with, but the fact is that a soil that is more suited for brick making than plants. Water table just under the surfach tree months a year.People were growing chili etc years ago but this has now become impossible. I imported some soil, filled a concrete ring, and got some chili growing but after 6 months the dreaded verticillium moved up through the soil. Solarisation helps to some degree.

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