I have had the pleasure of living next to many mature fruit trees at the variety of places I have lived over the years, and they are always a welcome joy. Mature fruit trees are very easy to care for. Normally they just need to be fertilized about once per season (varies depending on variety of tree), and pruned once a year. They don’t require much if any watering other than what they naturally get from ground water and the little rainfall we get here in Southern California.
When we moved into our new house, we were very excited to find out that years ago someone had planted a fig tree in our backyard. We still do not understand why they planted a tree that can grow to be 50 feet tall in a raised retaining wall brick planter, and not directly in the ground next to it. Perhaps they were attempting to control the size, but it seems that all it did was raise the tree higher.
At some point, someone also planted a pretty rose bush below the fig tree. When we moved in, this rose bush (along with all of the others on our property) were looking very dehydrated and in very poor condition. I started fertilizing and watering the roses regularly in order to try to revive them. Roses need a lot of water to thrive, and are definitely not the most drought friendly plants.
Unfortunately, mature fruit trees do not appreciate tons of water near their roots. Fig trees in particular are a Mediterranean tree, and thrive in drier conditions. I started getting under-ripe yet rotten fruit dropping. I finally figured out that the figs are rotting before they had a chance to ripen from the excess water they were getting from being near the roses. One of the poor fig tree’s roots even poked up above the dirt!
The rotten fruit has all either been eaten by critters or added to the compost bin. I am trying to find a good watering balance to allow the roses to survive (even if they don’t thrive), and prevent the fig tree from getting root rot. It will be an experiment that I am hoping will go well. I am planning to definitely relocate this rose bush once it is dormant.
When planning a garden, it is so important to take into consideration how certain plants will fare together when placing them next to each other. Place plants with similar water, light, and soil requirements near each other. Roses do their best with more sunlight than being under a big shady tree provides, so all the way around, this is a horrible location for this poor rose bush. If you notice in the pictures, the rose bush is starting to reach out in all kinds of strange directions, searching for enough sunlight to survive.