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  • Pruning When Planting In-Ground


    I planted my first tree in ground a couple of weeks ago (a ~4.5 ft VdB from a 5 gal pot). Should I agressively trim the tree back to promote root growth? I've seen this recommendation from multiple sources on the internet, but wanted to check in here for some discussion. I'm a bit hesitant!


    SoCal, zone 10a

  • #2
    Welcome Andy.

    I have about 80 trees in ground and did not prune any of them when placing in ground. I do prune them now for shape and productivity.
    newnandawg 7b Newnan, GA


    • #3
      Hi Andy,
      I have in ground trees and have never pruned them for root growth. They really don't require a lot of attention and will grow long healthy roots on their own usually. I have seen some folks recommend removing fruit from young trees to prevent them from wasting resources there.
      Houston, TX Zone 9a


      • #4
        Cool - thanks for the feedback! I'll just let it be for now.
        SoCal, zone 10a


        • #5
          It depends... If they are potted and have a good root ball, then you are probably fine not cutting the top back. If they are bare root, you need to cut the top of the tree back to 3 feet off the ground and remove all side branches to give the tree a chance to develop strong roots. This is a proven method used in all commercial orchards in California. I have planted thousands of almond, walnut and other types of fruit trees using this method. It shocked my wife the first time she saw me do this to a newly purchased fruit tree but by the end of the season we had a nicely shaped tree that was 12 feet tall.
          Chowchilla CA
          Central California Zone 9A


          • #6
            As Steve said if the roots are good there is no need, leaves drive the machine. If the roots though are not so good OR if you have to break the root bound tree up when you plant it you may have to. If you plant it and the tree starts to wilt badly removing a few leaves can help.
            Cutting sales will start Tuesday Nov 1 at 9:00 eastern


            • #7
              IMO, there are several factors that should be considered...

              1. Is the tree dormant or actively growing.
              2. Do you have a planned shape and size.
              3. How much figs do you want the tree to produce.

              Dormant trees can be pruned back severely while actively growing trees should have minimal root disturbance and require staking to train the existing main stem and branches.

              Training and Pruning from an early age will get the fig tree to desired shape and size quickly, especially with your long growing season. Staking and training to a single stem will increase Main stem caliper and create the "Base" for a single stemmed tree or multi stemmed bush.
              When I first started cultivating figs I found very few detailed instructions for pruning and training potted fig trees other than the standard recommendation to

              Establishing the permanent mains and scaffold branches can and will increase fig production on the "Fruiting branches" similar to most commercial fruit tree orchards.
              In your zone, once the mains and scaffold are established, pinching to produce multiple bud break / branching can quickly enlarge the canopy and increase fruit production.
              Just a friendly reminder that we are getting to the season to start pinching your figs! Pinching off the growing tips can help promote development of fruit instead

              Good Luck.
              Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b


              • #8
                Thanks a lot for the great info. This tree started out as a 1 gal from Dave Wilson, that the nursery didn't sell last year and then up-potted to what is really a 3 gal I guess. Seemed like a good root ball - full, but not starting to circle at all. And now that I look closer, more like a 3 ft main stem, with branches reaching up to 4ft or so. Lots to learn, I'll have study the ongoing process of pruning more!
                SoCal, zone 10a