Che/Mulberry/Fig PH

Hello everyone,

I bought EL’s Seedless Che this year, and it arrived with some nutrient deprived leaves. I fertilized the hell out of it, so we’ll see what happens, but I’m wondering if I should add lime as well. In my experience and I think many Fig growers would agree that Figs really like alkaline soils. As a result I’ve got really healthy dark green leaves on my Figs. Seeing as how Che is in the same family as Figs & Mulberry, I’m wondering if it would also be beneficial to add lime.

Also, by reading reports from many of you, Che takes a long time before it stops dropping fruit. I wonder if proper fertilizer/lime would aid in this.

I suspect fruit drops with Che are a pollination issue. The Che from edible landscaping is said to be seedless so naturally I would suspect fruit drops longer if I’m right than say if you had a male and female Che. Would also suspect the seedless Che will tast much better. My fig tree does like my alkaline soil so I suspect they at least tolerate it with no problem. Sometimes water problems ( to much or to little) can look like mineral problems. May also not have a lot of roots. Can you post a picture of the leaves? I’m guessing but the Che could mature at different rates which causes changes in its fruit holding ability. So one matures at a year and the other 5 years. Hypothetically the seedless ( female Che? ) may hold it’s fruit if a male was in the proximity much earlier and not be seedless any longer.

I really cannot address your main question, but I do have a comment.
I know most of the fig people use lime, but every single University paper, or extension service write up says they like slightly acidic soils. I myself keep pH for figs at about 6.5. In many photos in the fig forums, I see some rather poorly leafed plants from time to time. I suspect too high a pH.
I myself never add lime to the fig mix.
Here are my plants I rooted from cuttings this winter.

Second leaf plants

Osborne Prolific


Since leaves supply sugar to the fruits, it’s best to have well developed leaves. Your figs will be sweeter. The 2nd leaf plants are starting to develop figs, some did a week ago. These two have small figs at this point, just forming. 3 or 4 of the first leaf cuttings have figs too.

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Nice looking leaves, Drew!

I think if it’s not the ph, it’s at least the calcium/magnesium the lime provides. They definitely really love that stuff.

Went ahead with the lime. We’ll see what happens.

Yes I add gypsum, and this year green sand. They provide micros without changing pH unlike lime.

I think you need to add some iron chelate based off that yellow leaf with green veins If those are random leaf spots it could be fooling me and it be a nitrogen deficiency. It sounds like you already know but if the ph is down in the 5’s and you add the lime it can correct the ph problems which helps to correct the nitrogen problem. The ph can be tested and determine that.

That should lower the pH too…

The first thing we need to know (I know you know but i’m saying this for other people) is what the current ph is. This link might help diagnose the problem and this link has a chart to double check conclusions Symptoms of Nutrient Deficiencies - Greentrees Hydroponics. It looks like iron chlorosis to me

Yes and adding lime should make it worse. If that is what is the problem. Again for others, as the pH becomes high, it could inhibit iron uptake, a low pH for that matter too. Although it depends on the plant too, and I know little about Che plants! Also what type of lime makes a difference.

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My seedless Che went through about a 5 year juvenile period before it reliably held a good crop. It was worth the wait for the nice seedless fruit!


Well the lime didn’t help from what I can tell. I bought some greensand to cover my micro nutrients, and will apply that tomorrow. May end up picking up that chelated iron at some point anyway, but I think greensand is a valuable thing to have for many of my plants, so I’m going with that first.

So the addition of micronutrients helped the overall health of the plant. It finally put out some new leaves, but the older leaves are still yellow AND some of the new leaves have similar symptoms but not as extreme. Maybe add more micronutrients?


Ross, mine has been doing the same as yours for several years now. I get one flush of growth in the spring, then it stops growing and the leaves turn pale. This year I added more urea to the 10-10-10 plus micros that it usually gets and that helped. I have sandy soil and must leach nitrogen faster than I thought.

Thanks for the info! I just checked this video:

which is of EL’s Che tree and it too has the same yellowing mine does, so I’m just not gonna worry about it. I am still skeptical about a lack of nutrients being the cause of fruits dropping.

Here is what mine looked like the last two years. It started to yellow again this year, gave it some urea and the yellow went away after a couple of days.


Yes, that could be. The lime you added will not work for about 6 months. It could make it worse.
Often trees in non native situations are only adapted to native soil, when a soil has a much different pH or general composition of the soil is way different, the tree suffers.
In Utah the soil is extremely basic and maple trees from Michigan all suffer extreme iron chlorosis when planted in Utah. Now the native Utah maple trees never suffer.

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