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  • Pruning recommendations

    Hi,
    I was wondering if someone had recommendations regarding pruning some of the fig plants I purchased. The first picture is of a Vdb tree and suckers keep growing next to the main trunk. I can see by the rootball there seems to be a hardened portion of wood right next to the main stem. Overall the tree is not putting out many leaves apart from the suckers. If I sawed through the roots right next to the main stem would that stunt the tree to much or should that be fine. Basically I want to prevent the tree from putting out suckers and devote its energy to the main stem.

    The second picture is of a yellow long neck I purchased from a nursery. It looks very bushy and non of the stems are lignified. Would it be better to wait until the end of season and select a main stem if I wanted to grow it in a tree shape or should I cut the other stems mid season. The other option would be just leaving it in bush form long term.

    Thanks!
    You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 2 photos.

  • #2
    It depends on what tree style you're ultimately going for and if you intend to put it in the ground....

    First pic - Figs sucker a lot. It's what they do. You can air layer them to make more trees or prune them off.

    Did you purchase the YLN looking like that? Looks like a tissue culture tree. If so I hope you're in no rush for fruit. If you want to stick it out, you can pick a leader and prune off the rest.
    Guildwood Village - Toronto, Canada - Zone 6

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    • #3
      Refrain from cutting anything in the summer. Pruning = Dwarfing. For the Vdb just rub off any new leaves on the sucker clump. Growth will eventually happen along the main stem. In the winter carefully cut off that sucker clump growth.

      For the YLN it’s better to bend the branches down and leave one main vertical and it will dominate. It’s called training not pruning. You could prune the side branches off in the winter unless the plant doesn’t grow that much in that small pot and then grow it out like that another season and then prune them off next winter but YLN’s are usually very vigorous.

      Of course just leave it alone if you want it in bush form.
      So. California, Zone 10a

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      • elnappor
        elnappor commented
        Editing a comment
        Thank you, by bending the branches down would you bend them to stick into the ground ?

    • #4
      Originally posted by Finodejete View Post
      Refrain from cutting anything in the summer. Pruning = Dwarfing. For the Vdb just rub off any new leaves on the sucker clump. Growth will eventually happen along the main stem. In the winter carefully cut off that sucker clump growth.

      For the YLN it’s better to bend the branches down and leave one main vertical and it will dominate. It’s called training not pruning. You could prune the side branches off in the winter unless the plant doesn’t grow that much in that small pot and then grow it out like that another season and then prune them off next winter but YLN’s are usually very vigorous.

      Of course just leave it alone if you want it in bush form.
      Curious... what's your concern with summer pruning? I prune all the time... I'm actually coming up to the time when I do some heavy thinning to allow light into the canopy. My in ground trees especially are very bushy and need a haircut.

      Guildwood Village - Toronto, Canada - Zone 6

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      • Finodejete
        Finodejete commented
        Editing a comment
        That’s totally fine and recommended with vigorous in ground tress. My comment was directed towards the size and conditions of the OP’s plants only.

      • TorontoJoe
        TorontoJoe commented
        Editing a comment
        No judging here. Just curious. I've always found good pruning to promote vigour in most plants. I've had some pretty sickly, sluggish fig trees take off after a good pruning.... We're all learning here.

    • #5
      The vigor from pruning is actually a response to stress (the plant wants to live) and can be very effective at the right time for the desired effect.

      I just did some summer pruning on the only in ground fig tree I have.

      I did a second summer pruning already on a purple orchid tree that seems like it grows a foot every week.
      So. California, Zone 10a

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      • #6
        elnappor ,

        I would just air or ground layer multiple single stemmed plants and grow them out next season if you are looking to create tree form plants and you have at least 8 weeks (to grow adequate roots) to the end of your growing season.

        The 1st photo with partially buried stems will continue to produce suckers.

        The 2nd photo with multiple stems growing from the pot appears to be a VdB type, has young growth that should root quickly in an air layer.
        Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

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        • elnappor
          elnappor commented
          Editing a comment
          Good eye with the second picture. You are right I bought two small plants from the nursery that were shaped liked that and this is actually the Vdb and not the yellow long neck. The larger tree is also a Vdb. It was my mistake mislabeling the earlier picture.

      • #7
        is it me or are there some old (dead) girdling roots on the first picture? I wonder what lies below the surface, especially if as you say , it isn't growing much on the main stem.
        Brendan, Massachusetts Zone 6A
        My figs: Hardy Chicago, Florea, RdB, Improved Celeste, Takoma Violet, Nordland, Campaniere, Desert King

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        • #8
          @elnappor

          For the first one, if it is in the ground, you'll just keep rubbing off any new growth. It is part of the fig culture. Not much you can do. If it is in pot, during off-season, you can just lift off the entire root ball. Cut off the portion of the old stub, along with the roots. You may be able to make a couple of new plants.

          For the second plant, I'll just cut off any branches you do not want to keep. If won't hurt the plant since it is still very small now. Cut them flush to the crown. So no suckers come off those stubs.


          Princeton, New Jersey, 6B
          flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/red-sun/albums
          http://growingfruit.org/ for all fruits

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          • elnappor
            elnappor commented
            Editing a comment
            Thank you, I think for the tree I will put it into the ground. I am still debating if I should do it now or wait until the season is over, but at that point will try clean up the stem/roots where the suckers seem to be emerging.

        • #9
          First decision is do you want a fig tree or fig bush? If bush then stop worrying and just let them go, up to maybe 6 stems. Plenty of differing opinions/info on bush vs tree to be read in previous discussions.

          If you want a tree:
          Hard to know what’s going on with that big clump of sucker-producing wood w/o digging it up or around it to look. Toehead mentioned you may have a circling root…remove it if you find one. If the main stem has its own good set of roots then you could remove that chunk (and plant it). But it might slow down your main stem temporarily…might not. Or you could just keep removing the suckers.

          On the other one you have to prune off or airlayer off all but one stem. And keep removing them.
          CJ in Memphis 7b/8a….tight eyes, nonsplitters...Pons figs, French figs, Mario figs & tasty Cali seedlings!

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          • #10
            On a couple of my in-ground trees, the original trunk wasn't terribly vigorous. As I wanted a bush form to keep the tree smaller, I let a few suckers turn into new trunks. They grew much better than the original trunk and I eventually pruned it away. I ended up doing this to both in-ground trees.
            Jason. San Diego, CA - Zone 10A WL: Boysenberry Blush

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