I had a large fig tree (8 ft tall, had buds on the ends). Arkansas flood water covered the tree in May. Afterwards no leaves grew on the tree. The branches were dead. A week ago I cut back the dead branches. At the base, new leaves and branches coming out. There will not be any figs this year. It was cutting from my mom's tree in 1997 and grew into this large tree. The figs are large. I'm 55 and my mother's fig tree is older than me. What do I need to do to keep from losing the tree/bush? Can you tell me what happened to the tree?
It is most likely the roots were overly saturated by the flood water and now the tree is under a lot of stress, which is why it is now sukering (the growth at the base of the tree). While it is not for certain the the tree will come out of this, it is possible to grow another from its suckers.
If you dig around the base of the sucker, check to see if it has its own root system. If it does, you can simply dig it out and cut it away from the parent plant. Then place it in a pot and give it plenty of water until you see new growth. Then it can be planted out in the ground. If you do not see that it has its own root system, scrape a little bark away from below the soil line on the sucker and then cover the wound back up with soil. Check back every month or so until you see roots develop and then follow the instructions above.