Fig trees can live up to 200 years, and some rare specimens can live more than 250 years. However, fig tree fruit production begins to drop off when the tree is between 30 and 50 years old. So, many farmers replace their trees long before they die of old age. If you are growing a fig tree in your yard, you do not need to replace it. Figs can continue to produce fruit for over 100 years.
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What is the Average Lifespan of a Fig Tree?
It is common for fig trees to live for at least 50 years. This makes them a very long-lived species of fruit tree. It is difficult to determine the average age of figs because they are rarely found in the wild. They are almost always farmed, and many farmers replace their figs after their fruit production slows down past age 50.
- 50 years is a normal fig tree lifespan.
- Fig farmers replace their trees every 30 to 50 years for maximum fruit production.
- Despite their long lifespan, fig trees grow very quickly.
Because of their long lives, it would make sense to assume that fig trees grow slowly. However, this isn’t the case. Fig trees grow at rates that may surprise you. Your fig tree may reach a mature height in 5 to 10 years, but it will still continue to thrive and produce fruit at this size for decades.
What is the Oldest Living Fig Tree?
The oldest living fig tree is 286 years old. It is still growing today in Bulgaria, on the grounds of a church. This fig tree is so monumentally old that it was planted before the American Revolution. When planted in the right conditions and tended to properly, figs can survive for centuries.
- Currently, the oldest living fig tree is 286.
- There is at least one other living fig that is over 200 years old.
- Several fig trees are approaching the 200-year mark.
Although 286 is a remarkable age for any tree to reach, there are several other figs with exceptional lifespans. One Spanish fig tree has reached the age of 203, while two trees in Italy and France have each reached the age of 183. So, there are several figs that have stood the test of time.
How Long Do Fig Trees Produce Fruit?
Fig trees will almost always produce fruit for at least 50 years. After this point, fruit production will decrease. In many cases, it is still possible to harvest figs from a tree that is as old as 100 years. If your fig tree is old, that doesn’t necessarily mean it needs to be replaced. In addition to producing fruit, figs make excellent shade trees as they age.
- Figs can produce fruit for 50–100 years.
- Very few gardeners need to replace their fig trees due to age.
- Most fig trees do not produce fruit in the first few years, but they are worth the wait.
Fig trees do not produce fruit right away. You may have to wait several years after planting before you get your first crop of figs. Patience is essential with this fruit tree. Once it begins producing figs, your tree will continue to produce one or two harvests per year with very little maintenance.
What Kills Fig Trees?
Figs can be killed by old age or a variety of diseases. Like all living organisms, figs will not live forever. At a certain age, your fig will begin to die naturally. You may see a decline over several years as the fig tree reaches the end of its lifespan. However, unless your fig tree is nearing the age of 50, death by natural causes is rare.
- Old age can kill fig trees as they reach 50 years old.
- Fungal leaf blight can attack and kill figs.
- Mosaic virus infections can kill your fig tree.
- An insect attack or a root knot nematode infestation can spell disaster for your fig tree.
Fungal diseases, such as fig rust and forms of blight, can attack and kill trees. So can viral infections, like the fig mosaic virus. Insects and soil organisms can destroy fig trees. Fig borers attack your fig’s bark and trunk. Scale insects feed on fig sap, which can destroy a tree. Root knot nematodes destroy the tree by infecting the root system and killing the tree from the ground up.
How Do You Know When a Fig Tree is Dying?
The first sign of a dying fig is leaves dropping off before the autumn dormancy period. This can result from drought stress, disease, or other factors. Dry bark and brown, brittle branches signify that a fig tree is dying. In many cases, acting quickly to identify and solve the problem can save your fig tree.
- Leaves drop off the tree prematurely.
- Branches are dry and brown.
- The bark on the trunk or branches is loose.
- Large branches continue to die.
- Fruit production suddenly decreases or stops altogether.
A fig tree that continues to suffer the death of large branches year after year is dying. As age or disease destroys the tree, it will continue to struggle, grow fewer leaves, and produce little or no fruit. If your fig tree suddenly goes from producing fruit to producing no figs, the tree is in trouble.
How Do You Keep a Fig Tree From Dying?
The secret to giving your fig tree a long, productive lifespan is providing plenty of sunshine, combined with cool soil. Fig trees flourish in full sunlight, but they also have specific water needs. By keeping the soil cool and preventing drought stress, you’ll give your fig tree a long, healthy life.
- Plant your fig tree where it receives the right amount of sunlight.
- Provide enough water to keep the fig’s root zone cool.
- Prune off dead and sickly branches to prevent disease and deadly insect infestation.
Figs rarely require fertilizer, so adding fertilizer usually won’t help your tree. They are a low-maintenance tree that thrives on sunlight. It is a good idea to keep your fig tree healthy by pruning. Even if you limit pruning to the removal of dead and diseased branches each spring, you will help prevent tree diseases and premature death.
Which Fruit Trees Live the Longest?
Olive trees are generally considered the longest-lived fruiting tree, with a lifespan of up to 500 years. Fig trees are very close behind, along with apples and pears. If properly cared for, apple, pear, and fig trees can live for 100 years without trouble.
- Olive trees have a 500-year lifespan.
- Fig, apples, and pears can live up to 100 years.
- Ancient apples, pears, and figs can still produce fruit.
It may seem incredible for a fruit tree to live such a long productive life, but it is true. My family’s farm has an 80-year-old apple tree that still produces fruit each year. So, think ahead when choosing a place to plant your fruit trees. They may be providing fruit and shade for your grandchildren.
What is the Lifespan of a Fig Tree?
Fig tree lifespans are shocking. Here are the facts:
- Fig trees live 50 years on average.
- It is not uncommon for figs to live to 100.
- The oldest fig tree is 286 years old.
- Figs produce fruit for 50 to 100 years after planting.
- Sunlight, water, and gentle pruning will extend your fig tree’s life.
Common fig trees are amazing survivors that can grow for centuries with the proper care. Whether you’re interested in planting a fig tree in the ground or growing figs in containers, you may be surprised by how long they thrive.