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How Destructive Are Common Fig Tree Roots?

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Nothing about the common fig tree is small except its fruit. The tree grows to 50 feet in height, and tough, twisting branches extend even wider. Leaves are bigger than adult footprints and roots are extensive, though not aggressively destructive.


fresh fig image by .shock from

A fig tree's root system serves two purposes: to anchor the trunk to the ground and to bring it nutrients. Fig roots extend far beyond the tree canopy, but stay relatively close to the surface of the soil.


Plant fig trees in a location with full sun, good drainage and sufficient water. Do not plant anything -- not even grass -- near a young fig, so that its roots have no competition for moisture. The less moisture, the farther the roots will extend in search of it.

Potential Damage

A fig's roots are not aggressive enough to injure masonry, building foundations or pipes. The roots may damage sewer pipe, according to the Alabama Cooperative Extension, and should be kept away from sewers and septic systems.

Grow A Fig Tree

Everyone loves a sweet tasty fig, either in a Fig Newton or on a cracker with goat cheese. This unusual fruit is surprisingly easy to grow. First, you need to purchase a tree. Black Mission figs are one of the most popular varieties of fig trees. These are most often grown in California and have a dark skin, pinkish flesh and a rich flavor. A more cold-hardy fig is the Brown Turkey. The U.S. and Canada contain 11 planting zones based on climate. If you live north of zone seven, plant your fig tree in a container that you can bring indoors. Dig a cone-shaped hole deep enough to cover the root ball. Fill in the sides around the tree with soil and tamp it down on top, then water it thoroughly. Your fig tree will need about eight to 10 hours of sunshine a day, so make sure you find a good spot for it. Don't prune a tree when it's flowering or when there are figs growing on it. However, if your fig is in a container, add some fruit tree fertilizer to the soil a few times each year. Let the figs get ripe on the tree before you pick them. Some trees produce two crops a year, in the spring and the fall. Then, make a delicious fig feast and invite your friends over to share the harvest.

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