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Plant Diseases/What plants could survive in a fig orchard


Hi again and thank you for your answers.
My fig orchard is between 2 and 4 years old (total 600 trees planted about 20 feet apart in different levels surfaces). Unfortunately the drainage is poor in the winter months,(lebanon middle east),  but I keep digging 15 inches ditches around the periphery of each levelled surface.. that help somehow.
Thinking of planting thyme (or oregano) outside the tree canopies in between.
1. Was told that fig roots won't let anything grow after few years because they are tortuous and spread a great distance. Is this an exaggeration?
2. Would putting in thyme  (or oregano) help in sucking up the extra moisture in the rainy days (that is so harmful to fig trees) ?

Thanks a million

Dear Tony, I'm very sorry that I am only now writing to you, but for some reason I haven't been getting my questions until they are overdue.  I will try again to get the problem fixed.  At any rate, fig trees have very shallow roots and they spread out a pretty good distance, so you wouldn't want to plant anything that would cover the roots with extra dirt.  Fig trees also secrete toxins that discourage many plants from growing very close to them.  So, to answer your questions:
1.  The fig tree will naturally try to overtake all of its surrounding area and it does discourage many other plants from growing.  
2.  I think you could probably plant thyme or oregano or other small herbs in between the trees and away from the canopies.  In some places where the roots are very close to the surface, you will have to adjust your planting space.  The most important thing is to not cover the roots with any extra dirt.  
Other than placing the herbs between the trees, just try to work on the drainage.  Fig trees are much better than most trees at growing in poorly drained areas but it is always good to try to improve it.  I hope this answers your questions.  Good luck, Melissa

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Melissa Johnston


Plant diseases, landscaping, tropical plants, roses, herbs, plant care, grafting, horticulture, plant identification, anything about plants I can likely answer.


35 years experience in various plant businesses, 1984 Certified Texas Master Gardener.

Master Gardener Association of Texas charter member

none as of yet, but I have a plant q&a book I am in process of submitting.

Magna cum laude graduate of Texas A&M, 1978

Awards and Honors
Plant growing awards, highest grade for Texas Master Gardener graduates.

Past/Present Clients
Past member of and was very highly rated. Owned landscape company in the past, Almost Paradise, and was very successful despite little equipment, no help, and no advertising. Lived well for two years until 9/11.

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