Fig trees are deciduous fruit-producing trees that are one of the oldest cultivated fruit trees in existence. The sweet fruit can be eaten raw, dried or made into baked goods. Fig trees can be planted at any time throughout the year. In colder climates, however, where temperatures fall to 15 to 20 degrees F., it's advisable to wait to plant until right before the trees are set to break their winter dormancy.
Select a suitable planting site for the fig trees that will provide maximum sunshine. Because these trees grow large, their root systems can be extensive and often will invade nearby areas. The ideal location should be 25 to 30 feet away from buildings, planted areas or walkways.
Dig planting holes 10 to 14 feet apart for each fig tree, depending on the variety you are growing. Make the planting holes three times the diameter and about the same depth if you are planting balled and burlap fig trees. If you are planting trees growing in 1-gallon containers, dig each hole 12 to 14 inches wide by 14 to 16 inches deep. If planting fig trees in 5-gallon containers, dig holes 18 to 20 inches wide and 20 to 24 inches deep.
Amend the soil you removed from each of the planting holes. Mix into the soil between 1/2 and 1 cubic feet of aged steer manure, dehydrated compost, leaf mold or similar organic matter. Fig trees will grow in a wide variety of soil types. Improving the soil with organic matter will prevent moisture loss and heighten fig yields.
Cut along the sides of each planting container, starting at the rim or drain hole, using a pair of stout snips. Do this all the way around the entire container until you can easily extract each fig tree from its planting container. If you are planting balled and burlap fig trees, sever any string or ties around the trunk of each tree.
Inspect the root system of the container grown fig trees. Cut off any damaged, dried or broken roots. Use your fingers to crumble the soil of the root system to expose more of the roots.
Set a fig tree into one of the previously created planting holes. If you are planting balled and burlap fig trees, cut back 1/2 the material encasing the root ball to expose the top portion of the root ball. Check to make sure the fig tree will be planted 2 to 4 inches deeper than it was growing in its original container, as recommended by Calvin G. Lyons and George Ray McEachern, extension horticulturists at Texas A&M University.
Scoop soil into each planting hole, enough to set the fig trees securely in their holes. If the soil appears overly dry, fill each planting hole 3/4 full with water. Let the water settle back completely before you fill the planting holes with soil, gently packing it down as you proceed.
Water each of the fig trees thoroughly. Provide each tree with 5 to 10 gallons of water.