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  • Hardy Fig Dieback - to pinch or not to pinch?

    Hi all,

    I have a hardy fig of unknown variety (i'll post pictures when I get them in the fall) that died back to the ground last year and I didn't get any ripened fruit from it.

    The new branches were 3-4 feet tall before it went dormant in Nov. I've read that pinching the ends after 5-6 leaves will force fruit to form earlier.

    Would pinching a tree that had died back to the ground take too much energy out of the tree that is needed to feed the roots?

    I mulched and wrapped it much better this year so hopefully it will not dieback to the ground again this year.

    Kevin (Eastern MA - Zone 5b/6a)

  • #2
    I'd still pinch.
    SE PA
    Zone 6


    • #3
      IMO, I'd first consider my desired shape and size for the tree...
      Then I would prune the tree to establish the main branches, scaffold branches and fruiting branches...
      The fruiting branches are removed yearly or every 2 years depending on breba or main crop production...
      The Main and Scaffold branches are permanent and allow for earlier fig production when winter protected.

      If growing as a bush form, the 3 - 4 main Scaffolds should be established this season by pruning....
      Pinching with figs especially in colder zones should only be used on fruiting branches along with rubbing out newly formed buds, to stop or slow vegetative growth.
      Click image for larger version

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      Last edited by AscPete; 02-19-2015, 03:49 PM. Reason: revised graphic
      Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b


      • fitzski
        fitzski commented
        Editing a comment
        thanks, Pete. This fig doesn't have a breba crop just a main crop. The diagram will help in my pruning this year.

      • AscPete
        AscPete commented
        Editing a comment
        You're welcome... You may also want to browse some more info, http://figs4funforum.websitetoolbox....h-form-6388743
        The pruning info is for potted trees but its completely applicable to in-ground.

    • #4
      I had several trees that died back last year but grew back over 5' tall during the year. I started pinching about mid-summer and they all did very well. Good amount of ripened figs. I'm a strong believer in pinching. If the tree is not fast growing to begin with, I wouldn't pinch.
      Frank ~ zone 7a VA


      • #5
        Hey fellas, nice topic. With my inground trees, I found out that pinching forces them to sprout more buds, stems ,from below which will later result to more figs! I think it all depends on the amount of warm weather you get after pinching the tips and of course like Frank said it has to do with the ability of the tree to grow quick enough to produce embrios that will rippen on time! When pinching, however, you loose at least a week of growth ,that's about how long it takes new buds to form from each node below! Tree size is also a factor! Pinching forces the tree to grow fuller and wider rather than taller! Observations of one season of my Celeste trees only! Bottom line you have to try a few branches and see how the tree reacts to it.


        • #6
          Thanks for all the comments, definitely a few things to try this season.
          Kevin (Eastern MA - Zone 5b/6a)


          • #7
            In my experience, the older a tree gets (spreads more roots) the better it is able to bounce back after a freeze. I would follow Pete's advice and prune to the desired shape rather than pinch.
            Littleton, CO (zone 5b) - In Containers
            N.E. of Austin, TX (zone 8b)- In Ground.


            • fitzski
              fitzski commented
              Editing a comment
              Yes, that's what I plan on doing this year is to prune to shape so I can easily protect it for the winter. I might pinch the branches that will be removed at the end of the growing season so I can get fruit faster from them. I'll probably mark the branches I want to keep and then pinch or air layer the other branches. We always need more fig trees, right?