For your fig tree to bear a lot of fruit, it needs regular pruning. We show when the perfect time is to prune and how to properly cut figs in the tub or the garden.
Does the Mediterranean fig also grow in your garden? If so, a skillful cut can ensure that she produces more of her sweet and sought-after fruit. Fig trees ( Ficus carica ) are rarely found exotic species in the United States, but their number is steadily increasing. Especially in milder areas, the tree with its sweet fruits can grow very lush.
Basically, figs don’t need to be cut. Even without human intervention, the trees develop their typical expansive shape and produce abundant fruit. However, to stimulate growth and improve the yield, pruning can be worthwhile. Bald fig trees can also be brought back into an appealing shape in this way. Below we’ll show you when and how to prune your fig tree.
When do you prune fig trees?
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Like apple and pear trees, figs are also fruit trees. And like other fruit trees, fig trees should mainly be pruned in early spring.
Pruning fig tree in spring
When pruning a fig tree, it should always be done in spring, when it starts to get warmer. Bringing figs growing in the bucket outside is the right time to cut them. Usually, this is the case in March or early April. For pruning, choose an overcast day that promises no precipitation. This allows the wounds to dry well and heal quickly, protected from excessive sunlight.
Pruning fig tree in summer
Fig trees should generally not be pruned in summer, as the tree does not tolerate pruning as well as it did before the growth phase in spring. Pruning would cost the fig too much strength and also endanger the harvest. If you find out in summer that pruning is necessary, wait until next February.
The pruning fig tree in autumn
Autumn is also not the right time to cut back the fig tree. At this time of year, the tree produces the last of its fruits and lets its leaves fall. He is preparing for winter. A cut is always a major intrusion and affects the plant. However, this should now be fully dedicated to preparing for the cold season, i.e. the wintering of the fig tree. In addition, cuts do not heal as well over the winter, and frost damage can occur. In early spring, when the tree is back in sap, it can seal wounds faster and more efficiently.
Pruning fig trees: this is how you go about pruning
Since fig trees do quite well on their own, they don’t need drastic prunings. Still, a cut can improve the shape and secure the yield. Make sure to use clean and sharp tools for the cut and always cut back to the next suitable fork or bud. In principle, the procedure is similar to that for other types of fruit trees:
- First, cut back dead branches to the next fork.
- Remove shoots in the lower trunk area.
- If necessary, thin out the inside of the crown with a few cuts. For this purpose, intersecting branches or branches that are close together should be removed. By thinning, figs can ripen more likely on this year’s wood.
- Bring the crown of the tree in balance. Identify the main shoots and make sure that they are roughly equally strong. If the main shoot is dominant, it can be weakened somewhat by shortening it to the next fork.
It is important to know that the main yield of the fruit does not come from the annual shoots. These also bear fruit a little later in autumn, but the figs mainly thrive on two-, three- or four-year-old wood. In spring you can already discover the roots for the later figs with the thick buds. This will give you a feeling for the branches and twigs on which a particularly large number of figs will grow.
Older wood hardly delivers any more yield and can therefore be cut back a little from time to time. To always get enough fruit-bearing wood, you should make sure that you leave enough one, two, and three-year-old wood to stand with every pruning.
In the case of bald trees, you can also prune a little more radically. Do not make a harder cut every year, but only if absolutely necessary.
You should generally spare young and freshly planted fig trees from heavy pruning so as not to impair their growth.
Tip: You can use cut shoots as cuttings to grow a new fig.
Cut back the frozen fig tree
In this country it does happen that fig trees are damaged by the heavy frost in winter. The thick branches are less affected than the younger shoots. If you notice such damage in the spring, you should definitely remove the frozen branches and twigs to stimulate the formation of new shoots. Cut such branches back to the next bud or fork in the healthy wood.
Cut the fig tree in the bucket
The same applies to fig trees in the bucket as to fig trees that have been planted out. Prune these trees as soon as you take them outside from winter quarters.
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