Things You'll Need
Fig trees are well suited for warm, dry climates and can be grown successfully outdoors and in containers. Fig trees are available in fruiting and non-fruiting varieties and have interesting twisting branches and attractive green foliage. Fertilizing your fig tree is not always necessary, and improperly fertilizing can prevent fruit production and can cause poor growth.
Deciding to Fertilize
Measure the length of a branch, starting from where it protrudes from the trunk to the tip with a measuring tape. Do this once a year at the end of summer to track the growth rate.
Fertilize your fig tree if there is less than 12 inches of growth since the measurement taken a year earlier. Look for fertilizers specifically for fruit trees, which will work well for fig trees. Otherwise, use a high phosphate and high potassium fertilizer to promote fruiting. Fig trees don't need much nitrogen, so look for fertilizers with a low nitrogen composition.
Apply fertilizer three times during the year while the tree is dormant: in late fall, in winter and in early spring. If your soil has few nutrients, you may want to use potassium sulfate.
Do not fertilize the next year. Continue to track the growth of the tree from year to year and fertilize only when the growth slows.
Fertilizing Your Tree
Spread the fertilizer in a circle beneath the tree's branches, just inside the drip line. Do not spread fertilizer around the trunk of the tree.
Create a small mound of soil, using the garden rake, in a circle around the area where you applied the fertilizer to prevent the water from flowing away from the fertilizer application zone.
Using a soft spray hose setting, thoroughly soak the area where the fertilizer was applied for optimal soil absorption.
Always follow the directions on the fertilizer for application. You can use granule, liquid or time release fertilizers on fig trees.
Never apply fertilizer during the six weeks before the usual first frost date. Doing so will encourage new growth that will be easily damaged by the cold.