My Fig Tree Died


“Hey. Fig tree. How you doin’?”

“Um… not so good, actually…”

My once beautiful, resilient fig tree was a victim of attempted murder by the evil psycho bitch winter of 2014. Or, quite possibly, a victim of my negligence. Hey, don’t you judge me! I never asked for a fig tree! Do I look like someone who would lovingly tuck in a tree for winter? Fig, no! I’ve got way too much else to focus on here. I don’t even have a figging kitchen! And I don’t even like figs!

And also, I just started watching Game of Thrones from the beginning, so that’s like super time consuming…

Still, I did take pride in my pretty fig tree. My pretty tree that I did absolutely nothing to care for. “Hey, that’s a pretty fig tree!” “Thanks! I did nothing to make it that way, but I will totally take credit for its success!”

Fig tree from afar with mulch around base

But this spring, with my fig tree barely clinging to life, I had to make a difficult decision.

Dead fig tree with weeds at base

Do I save it? Do I learn all I can about fig trees and apply that knowledge to nurse it back to health? Do I invest the time and energy to rehabilitate it so that maybe, just maybe, in time, it could grow to be a bigger and better fig tree? Do I try to make it a tree that I actually deserve to take pride in?

Base of dead fig tree

Of course I don’t.

Seriously? Do you not know me at all?

My parents recently came to visit from North Carolina. My dad truly despises New York. If it wasn’t for my mom reminding him that he loves his children and, as a dad, is supposed to want to visit them periodically, he would never set foot here again. The whole time he’s here, he’s focused on going home. Unless… we distract him.

This works to my advantage because distractions are very easy to come by at my crappy house. This trip, I was able to distract dad with my gutters full of slimy leaves, my filthy lawnmower with dirty oil that had never been checked, let alone changed, and my nearly dead fig tree.

Dead fig tree in backyard

I asked my dad if he wanted to be in the pictures. He said, “I don’t want to be on the internet.”

Dead fig tree almost cut down

But then he told me it was OK to take this shot. So, what’s the deal, dad? You don’t want to be on the internet, but ass shots are OK? What kind of message does that send?

Dad cutting down fig tree

Dad took the tree down to a nub and I helped him bundle the carnage.

Fig tree stump
Cut fig tree branches
Bundles of fig tree branches
Bundles of dead fig tree branches by the curb

Kind of sad to see it all laid out like that. Like twiggy bodies.

After spending a few hours pulling out all of the weeds, this is what I’m left with.

Backyard with fig tree stump

The ugliest yard ever. You can see the grass I planted isn’t looking so hot. I am just no good at this outdoor stuff! My fig tree never really stood a chance.

RIP fig tree

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  • Sally

    Give it a chance, it may grow. Did you put any fertilizer down? Osmocote is time released and you only have to put it down about two or three times a year. You would be surprised. Is your Dad in the Witness Protection Program?

    • My Crappy House

      I liked it when it was a fig TREE, but I have no use for a fig bush. I’m going to remove the stump and plant something else. Something that bears no fruit to attract bugs and animals. Something VERY low (by low I mean no) maintenance!

      Dad’s afraid if I put his face on my blog, he’ll start getting recognized in public. I don’t blame him. Fame is rough…

  • Teena Free

    I have a few things to say. I got upset about losing 1 squash plant! You are tougher than I. I’m still having a hard time letting go.
    I can clearly imagine your father’s complaining about NY, one of his favorite topics is how much it sucks! Oh, he’s just too sexy for free public shots! (I was happy to not see a plumber’s crack, it would have hurt my eyes )

    • My Crappy House

      If I had planted the tree… if I had liked the tree… maybe I would be sad. I’m slightly sad for my cousin, Tommy, who loved the tree and doesn’t yet know it’s passed on. He may be devastated…

      I made sure dad’s ass shot was tasteful.

  • Sharon Turner

    Now listen, do not weep for this sad, very dead tree. I told you before YOU DO NOT WANT A FIG TREE. They are the plague of all plagues. You are very fortunate that that little sucker hasn’t uprooted your house (by the way, did you check to see that it didn’t?). Their roots go EVERYWHERE and destroy EVERYTHING! The fruit falls to the ground and rots and draws ants and rats (and you have to rake the leaves and clean up the sticky fruit). Plant lots of geraniums … no one can kill geraniums … and they’re pretty.

    By the way, here in Greece ALL shots of men bending over show more than you really want to see. Your dad has kept his modesty intact!

    Is he still there? What’s the next job? And when’s the next post?

    P.S. I don’t see Egor lurking around, not even in the window.

    • My Crappy House

      You are SO RIGHT! Good riddance, fig tree!

      Mom and dad left, but they usually come back around August, so maybe I’ll get to distract dad with a few more projects then. In the meantime, I’m working on trying to work on something…

      Today is Egor’s 6th birthday! I’ll make sure my next post features him prominently.

  • Barbara H.

    Hate to break it to you, but your tree is not dead. It’s coming back from the base. I get that you don’t want the tree, but maybe something can be salvaged from the new growth to give to your brother so he can have his very own fig tree. I discovered a few years ago that I really like fresh figs. Since then we’ve had a succession of cold winter weather in NE Alabama that my fig tree has died to the ground. It comes back but no fruit for two years in a row. Very disgusting.

    • My Crappy House

      Maybe I’ll clip him a shoot or something before I dump a bag of charcoal on it and light it up. That’s the plan…

  • Jengland

    I taught my grandson how to use a chainsaw on 5 crepe myrtles that took over the front of my house.(Now I have to paint) Taught him how to drive a tractor to pull out the roots.(Now I have to plant grass)Funny how things workout. (looks like you need siding!)

    • My Crappy House

      I wish I had a tractor to pull out the roots… Hopefully, burning the stump to the ground will do the trick, but we shall see…

      YES, I do need siding, but I need to resheath the two sides of my house first so I can side all at once. I’m hoping for late fall on that project. That’s not one I can do myself…

  • Miz Kizzle

    The bundles of sticks all laid out like something from the Blair Witch Project were kind of creepy.
    Your dad is awesome, BTW.

    • My Crappy House

      lol thanks for noticing! I tried to make it uncomfortable…

      Thanks. He totally rocks

  • Lisa

    I’m so sad. My condolences on your fig tree, even though you don’t seem too upset over it. Fig trees are people, too! Ok, they’re not. But they’re delicious, especially wrapped in bacon and stuffed with cream cheese and sprinkled with brown sugar and baked at 450 for just about 10 minutes.

    • My Crappy House

      I’m glad you don’t like your people like you like your figs… Actually, that does sound quite good. Maybe I get my cousin to grow a fig tree. Then HE can have them all he wants and I can pick up just a few so you can make that recipe for us…

  • Ellen

    I did not know I liked figs till I was 50 so maybe it is a maturation thing. A fig tree will grow from a little sprout, and usually pretty fast according to my late mother. She said her mother planted one every two years when they moved. Her Daddy was a Baptist preacher so they moved a lot. Ours almost croaked over the last winter here in Alabama, but it is now greening up and growing. the do attract birds, but I don’t know about rats. At any rate, your dad sounds like mine would have (they didn’t have the Internet in his lifetime).

    • My Crappy House

      I did give the figs a fair try – though I have the palette of a 6 year old (i.e. not sophisticated), so that could be why I’m not fond of them. I’m going to see if my cousin wants to try starting a few sprouts to try to grow it at his place. He loves the figs. It would be nice for the tree to live on where it would be well cared for.

    • My Crappy House

      I know, right? I have to resheath the two sides of my house before I can side. I’m hoping for this fall!

  • Sharon Turner

    By the way, meant to say that I have read/heard that if you nail a copper penny onto each shoot of the stump of the tree, it will surely die. I don’t know if that kills the roots too (do some Googling on that), but if it does, then it would be way easier to remove, since those roots sprawl out underground just about everywhere. Was not joking when I said to check the foundation of your house (next to the tree).

    • My Crappy House

      I’ve heard that copper nail thing – I wasn’t sure if it was true or not. I’ll look into it. I know the roots definitely sprawl. My cesspool line runs about 8 feet from the tree. When I first moved in 4 years ago, I had problems with the line backing up into the basement. Turns out it was totally compromised by roots from the fig tree. That could be why the tree was so resilient – it was on a steady poo diet for who knows how long. Yum.

      The part of the house the tree is near is on a slab and it doesn’t appear to be damaged, so I think it’s fine. I’d like to plant another tree in its place. Just not sure what kind yet.

  • Gina

    Ah! Is it wrong that I’m totally fascinated by your fig tree posts? My neighbor recently cut his down to the nub like you did and it’s sprouting baby fig leaves. Give it a shot!
    Meanwhile, I recently took four fig cuttings from my parents’ house as they were moving out. I transplanted them in my yard in Rockland County two months ago, and nothing yet. I’m giving up hope. And I have no source of fig cuttings since the house doesn’t belong to my parents anymore. Must find another way.

    • My Crappy House

      Maybe your neighbor will share? I think my cousin is going to try to start a fig at his house from mine. We’ll see… I don’t want it to grow back here. I’m done with fruit trees!

  • Susan

    Fig trees can be “finicky”. They DO NOT like the winter elements in NY at all. The fact that it survived all of these years is amazing. Generally, they have to be wrapped in burlap for the winter, and the ground has to be heavily mulched to keep the roots warm. The winters in Northern Italy, particularly Tuscany, are mild and those trees are fully wrapped (most of the time). Having said all that, a tree as large as yours should have been very established and is difficult to wrap. I’ve seen trees that large and larger that are not wrapped for the winter, and beautifully survive the elements. So many things could have gone wrong – – and none can be helped. Not your fault. Get a dappled willow. Zero maintenance and a beautiful color white from early spring until mid summer. You can shape it however you want, or NOT. Up to you. I can text you a pic if you want. Since I do not check back here until you make a new post – – text me if you want to see it.

    • My Crappy House

      I just googled the dappled willow. Very pretty! My favorite tree is actually the weeping willow, but I know they have shallow roots and can cause problems. I might go for an evergreen and plant it away from the house a bit for some privacy from my stupid neighbors.

  • the misfit

    I am way south of you, and my two fig trees (both smaller than yours, but not much) that were killed by winter 2013-2014 came back up from the ground in summer 2014. One grew four feet just that summer. Then they died again over winter 2014-2015, which I was displeased about; this last winter was milder than the prior one, and I even wrapped them! And covered their bases with lots of dead leaves! Ingrates. I need them to survive above-ground for at least a year or two so I can get some more figs. I do my figs on tinfoil on the grill (it’s too hot to turn the oven on in the summer here) with honey and chevre and bacon. Though I’ve also had them with sausage; that’s good too. The figs I didn’t get to were eaten by birds (as berries also tend to be), since birds can fly and everything. I am bewildered by the suggestion of rats. Really??

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