Gardens and Outdoors Plants

How to Prune Fig Trees

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Fig trees are simple to grow in your own yard but some caring procedures can pose some difficulties even for experienced gardeners. Pruning is a good example. It’s essential to remove dead or diseased limbs from your fig trees to keep them in top shape. But that’s not the only type of pruning that may need to be done.

Aside from maintaining the plants in good health, pruning fig trees is a required process in other situations like after the first transplant. During the initial growth stages of fig trees, you need to be careful about pruning. Unless you do it correctly, you might risk creating more problems for the trees later on.

1. Pruning Fig Trees After Planting

Many gardening experts agree that fig trees require pruning very soon after planting. It depends on the rate of growth of the tree, but you should probably start pruning it once the tree starts to establish itself. If it seems that the fig tree has some difficulties acclimating to its new planting location, perhaps it’s best to wait until early spring before buds appear.

When you’re pruning a fig tree for the first time, you need to reduce the size of it by a lot. Most experts recommend making the tree more compact by approximately a half. The idea is to encourage the tree to grow stronger by developing sturdy roots instead of growing larger in size. All branches growing at around 50 degrees from the main trunk should be cut down significantly. Use the pruning shears carefully when removing branches to avoid infecting the tree with diseases. It’s recommended to clean them with alcohol after each cut.

2. Pruning Fig Trees That Are Established

Wait for the winter season to prune a fig tree that’s already well established. This is because the tree enters a dormant stage offering the best opportunity to safely remove unnecessary or damaged branches. Maximizing the fruit yield is all about keeping the number of branches growing to around 5 or 6 evenly-positioned ones. The strong limbs should be reduced further, and don’t forget about eliminating very small branches. We’re talking about those little branches that start to sprout from the main growing limbs at large angles.

Inspect the tree for any remaining deadwood that needs to be pruned off. The fig tree will also need a pruning around its base. Lots of suckers take away the tree’s energy and some of them may not even be branches but other trees. The quick and efficient removal of these suckers is essential for the health of your fig tree. After the third winter, we recommend checking the fig tree again for any random branches that drain the energy of the main fruiting limbs. These need to be pruned off correctly. It’s safe to say that in subsequent years, you won’t have to do as much pruning maintenance as the tree starts to thrive and produce a lot of fruit.

3. Pruning Indoor Fig Trees

Some fig tree species are used by many people as indoor trees for decorative purposes. Not all of them produce fruit. It can be a good idea to handle the pruning of your indoor fig tree so they can be more easily accommodated to their pots as they grow. Prune off deadwood and suckers at the base of the fig tree. Inspect the plant’s shape to get rid of any branches not conforming to the desired shape of the indoor tree. When you’re pruning an indoor fig tree for the first time, it’s recommended to reduce the length of the main limbs by approximately one half.

By Stefan Bucur

Stefan is the founder and owner of Rhythm of the Home. He has 6 years of experience in home improvement, interior design, cleaning and organizing.

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