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  • Is it time to pinch your figs?

    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 of shoots, especially in northern climates. My container grown plants are just about at 5 leaves or will be shortly.

    Per herman2: In May and June pinch branches after 5 leaves to promote fruit set. Stop pinching after early to mid July and focus on thinning branches if needed. Remove any fruit set after mid to late July as they will not ripen.
    Last edited by Kelby; 05-17-2015, 07:06 AM. Reason: can't spell
    https://www.figbid.com/Listing/Browse?Seller=Kelby
    SE PA
    Zone 6

  • #2
    thanks, Kelby. This is the first year I will be pinching my figs as I didn't know any better before, I just let them do what they wanted to do.

    I'm looking forward to seeing the difference in fruit production.
    Kevin (Eastern MA - Zone 5b/6a)

    Comment


    • #3
      I would also notice that the fruit removal / pinching approach is for the colder regions ( less than 9? ). In my 10a I am still getting ripe figs in December.

      Actually, I am curious, what zones are getting the ripe fruit in December ? Is 9 too optimistic ?
      USDA z 10a, SoCal. WL: De la Roca, Raspberry Tart, Boysenberry Blush

      Comment


      • tyro
        tyro commented
        Editing a comment
        I get ripe fruit through first frost.The quality of it is another story.

      • Rob Ster 010
        Rob Ster 010 commented
        Editing a comment
        I'm in Europe 8b and get ripe figs until late november. Skin thickens but the interior is actually still good.

    • #4
      IMO, Its never time to "pinch" fig branches for fig production in potted fig culture. Pruning establishes healthier growth and better future fig production. Herman2's recommendation applies more to established in ground trees or established potted trees because the pinching is done on the 'yearly fruiting branches'.

      Establishing the main and scaffold branches then Pruning to reduce the quantity (limiting the number) of fruiting branches or growing tips will usually result in earlier and larger figs. My personal simple rule of thumb is one growing tip (fruiting branch) for every gallon of container size. Allowing the reduced number of fruiting branches to grow out then pinching off the late developing figs will create a healthier more productive tree.
      Click image for larger version

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      Last edited by AscPete; 06-03-2015, 09:02 AM. Reason: Revised diagram with added pinching info.
      Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

      Comment


      • AscPete
        AscPete commented
        Editing a comment
        You're welcome.
        I've revised the diagram by adding a note to the pinching detail...
        (Missing and not required is technical info of the physiological changes that occur when the balance between auxins and cytokinins are disrupted by pruning or pinching.)

      • Pino
        Pino commented
        Editing a comment
        Good points Pete!
        What about in ground espalier or low cordon? Does pinching these leave them too short? Do you pinch them when they reach the target height or not at all?

      • AscPete
        AscPete commented
        Editing a comment
        Pino,
        Haven't had to pinch any of them as yet, since the pruning technique actually limits the total # of fruiting branches anyway.

    • #5
      Hi Pete,

      I use pinching as my primary pruning tool for all my potted stuff.It doesn't hurt that it
      also promotes ripening.Here's a Vista that was pinched back a while ago.
      You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 4 photos.
      Paul Robert,Simi Valley,Ca. 9b

      Comment


      • tyro
        tyro commented
        Editing a comment
        Hi Pete,

        I think we can agree that "pinching" will promote fruit growth on 1st year wood.I'm in 9a
        and have not seen branching resulting in new fruit growth at a node that had a ripening fig on it.
        Maybe I haven't been paying attention.If you're "zone pushing",say Preto in New York,pinching
        may be the only way you'll get quality fruit.

        As far as structure,warmer zone's,etc. perhaps we can discuss that in another thread.I'll
        create one on "Structure" if you'd like.

        Cheers,

        Paul

      • mountainfigs
        mountainfigs commented
        Editing a comment
        Paul,
        Is Vista your best breba producer by any chance? Or do other cultivars outshine it?
        Tony

      • tyro
        tyro commented
        Editing a comment
        Hi Tony,

        There's only one breba in that photo,the one directly above my hand.The rest are main season crop.
        Even on my tree,which occupies an 8'x8'x8' area I've only 6-7 breba hanging.

        Cheers,

        Paul

    • #6
      Paul,
      I agree that pinching can be used as a primary pruning technique / tool but in shorter growing seasons when pinching is practiced without rubbing out (pinching) the many resulting new buds the result is usually increased vegetative growth (multiple branches) with a reduction in harvested figs.
      Thanks, I would welcome a discussion on fig tree structure.


      Kelby,
      I agree that pinching as a technique / tool can and should be used but used properly. The point that I've tried to make is that the "structure" of the tree should be formed before pinching is performed. I use pinching to remove unwanted buds and figs but I don't often use it to promote branching. IMO, Herman2's posts on pinching is about removing the auxins and speeding the development of fig embryos and less about creating new branches for fig production.

      Can you do a simple photo sequence or tutorial to demonstrate pinching for fig production? Thanks.
      Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

      Comment


      • AscPete
        AscPete commented
        Editing a comment
        Kelby,
        Thanks, It would be appreciated.

      • 71GTO
        71GTO commented
        Editing a comment
        Hi Pete, what is the difference between pinching and rubbing out pinching? I've never heard of rubbing out before.

      • AscPete
        AscPete commented
        Editing a comment
        Marcus,
        Rubbing out is "pinching" or removing the entire bud or side bud to form a "scar", like a leaf scar at the point of origin. Rubbing out small buds can be accomplished by pushing sideways with your thumb, breaking it off flush at its branch connection.

    • #7
      I'm going to bump this up, I just pinched most of my in-ground figs today since they were at 5-7 leaves.

      It's worth adding, especially for those with lots of dieback, that you should consider removing excess shoots. My in-ground plants have shoots and sprouts all over the place. I went ahead thinned each 'stump' back to 2-4 of the strongest shoots. This should also hasten fruit production and allow for stronger growth on the remaining shoots.
      https://www.figbid.com/Listing/Browse?Seller=Kelby
      SE PA
      Zone 6

      Comment


      • Kelby
        Kelby commented
        Editing a comment
        If anyone is curious, it's just about 1 month since buds were visible on my earliest to emerge plants. RdB started a little later and isn't at 5 leaves, but since it ripens fast I'm not too worried.

      • 71GTO
        71GTO commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks Pete!

    • #8
      I've been pinching a lot myself. No doubt it helps push figs out.
      As for the green shoots, I'm experimenting with those and seeing if I can root them in various ways.
      Frank ~ zone 7a VA

      Comment


      • #9
        Have been pinching mainly at 4 leaves about 3+ weeks back. Need to be less greedy to initiate
        earlier setting of figlets. In my zone -- if main crop figlets have not form by mid June, it is
        possible the figs would not ripen to its best taste. Presently many varieties have main crop figlets
        like LSU Tiger, HC, RdB, VdB, Nero600M, LSU O'Rourke, Champagne, White Honey, Noir de
        Caromb, Enrico, Dark Portuguese, Barbillone, Melanzana, White Grk, Maltese Falcon, B. Alasche,
        Blava, Verns BT, Blk Greek, Long White, Vasilika Melissi, Kesiarani, Morena, Norella, Scotts Blk
        Ld'Aout, Blk Celeste etc.

        Please note -- supporting the pinching endeavour, I use Miracle Gro fruiting fertiliser on my
        potted larger fig trees twice a week. Heavier concentrate until now for a month and lighter use
        starting June & no more in July.
        Last edited by paully22; 05-30-2015, 11:27 PM. Reason: correction

        Comment


        • #10
          All my figs are in ground.
          I pinch my figs at knee high.
          The tree doubles the branching, so it explains the extra spots for fig formation.
          My new wood all produced fruit last year when I pinched the tips.
          Not all figs ripened last year. It was a bad year with a harsh winter.
          Interesting how older trees get more hardy each year and out grow
          younger trees when they all started at the ground level.

          Doug

          Comment


          • #11
            Doug -- do U have issues with trees getting too big. I have a few trees that are getting large.
            Just about ready to call in a backhoe and have them taken out. I will not plant them directly
            in ground but via a pot and allow the roots to grow into ground. This way, I can have some
            form of control regarding tree size by balancing pruning of canopy to root base.

            Comment


            • #12
              I will be keeping my trees cut back.
              I prefer bush shape and I planted my orchard to
              be pruned into a hedge.
              Doug
              Last edited by SCfigFanatic; 06-02-2015, 12:18 PM. Reason: In the future, if trees start getting too big they can be cut to ground in fall then mulched well.

              Comment


              • #13
                Ciao

                I bring tis post back up because I confused. I understand HOW to pinch. But do pinch help make new leaf or fruit? I have blanco fig 3 year old and no fig. The tree it came from made fig all the time. Tis tree is large and should have 100's of fig starting now. I pinch tips off most all branch and just started new leaf? What I do wrong?
                Attached Files
                Zone 5 Chicago IL Wish list:
                1) Rest peacfully Amico Bello Buddy 👼🏼.
                2) This weeks ebay auctions.

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                • #14
                  Hi Mike, my first attempt at pinching was on a 2 or 3-year old White Genoa, since it's plenty big but no figs last year. I have a picture on my intro thread where you can see three or four figs sprang up at that area, plus a bunch of shoots.

                  Since that happy event, I went on a pinching rampage of all my other bigger potted figs at the 5-leaf length or longer and am getting both figs and lots of new growth tips as a result. The tendency to get figs, shoots, or a proportion of both seems to vary depend on variety, at least in my limited experience of pinching for a couple months!

                  I didn't know that pruning but NOT pinching was recommended for potted fig culture. I noticed Pete's post on this above on this thread when I joined the forum. Oops. Well, I'm still getting figs this year, though whether it's because of the pinching or the trees being a year older I don't know!
                  Sarah
                  Bay Area, CA (zone: 9B)

                  Comment


                  • AscPete
                    AscPete commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Glad to hear that it's working for you.
                    The idea is to Prune the tree for shape then Pinch the selected fruiting branches as needed to hasten (induce) fig development.
                    In colder zones with short growing seasons the new developing branches (buds) usually have to be removed to get the induced (developing) figs to ripen. But in warmer zones,which are almost twice the length of mine (zone 5B/6A) the new branches have enough time and warmth to lengthen and ripen more figs.

                  • Sarahkt
                    Sarahkt commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Ahhh... that makes sense. Thanks for explaining.

                    There's so much to learn. Thankfully I live in California so the learning curve is a lot softer. It's much harder to mess things up when the winters are warm.
                    Last edited by Sarahkt; 06-17-2015, 09:21 PM. Reason: spelling

                  • AscPete
                    AscPete commented
                    Editing a comment
                    You're welcome.
                    Removing new buds (rubbing out) is the part that is most often missed in the explanations on pinching to induce figs in colder zones...

                • #15
                  Grazie for you response. I was understanding if I pinch off the small very top new leaf growing out it would make fig. I did not understand that it is meant for new growth with hopes of fig. You say you pinch off at the 5 leaf or longer? Do you mean break off 5 leaf per trunk?
                  Zone 5 Chicago IL Wish list:
                  1) Rest peacfully Amico Bello Buddy 👼🏼.
                  2) This weeks ebay auctions.

                  Comment


                  • #16
                    Where this years growth started, count the first 5 leafs and remove any growth beyond that leaving the first 5 leafs on the tree.
                    Scott - Colorado Springs, CO - Zone 4/5 (Depending on the year) - Elevation 6266ft

                    “Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.” – Bill Mollison

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                    • #17
                      Yep, what Scott said. I was going off of advice I saw on the F4F -- letting the actively growing branch grow until it had at least five leaves, then pinching the tip off after that so it wouldn't get longer. Then what happened was I'd see some combination of lots of figs and/or new growth nodes on that branch form. Usually both, though some seemed to want to put out more new branches than new figs.

                      I thought the whole motivation for this was to making fruit set sooner and at greater numbers than it would have otherwise. I wanted this because I had enough leaves and was impatient to have more fruit! I didn't think about it from the perspective of getting fruit to set and ripen earlier in the season in areas where the growing season is short...

                      Whatever the motive, I got fruit this year. Maybe I got more figs in spite of this, or because of this, but I'm just happy to have them!
                      Sarah
                      Bay Area, CA (zone: 9B)

                      Comment


                      • #18
                        After pinching 5/28 I now have figlets setting on my in-ground Sal's and Bari, proof you can get figs in zone 6 with minimal protection. Nothing yet on RdB, disappointingly.
                        https://www.figbid.com/Listing/Browse?Seller=Kelby
                        SE PA
                        Zone 6

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                        • #19
                          Wow! 5 leaf from where new growth start tis spring??? That mean my tree will be -1/2 its size now. If it help greatly I will do. I zone 5. Also if I do tis can I root the fresh cutting or do I strip of leaf and put in fridge for fall?
                          Zone 5 Chicago IL Wish list:
                          1) Rest peacfully Amico Bello Buddy 👼🏼.
                          2) This weeks ebay auctions.

                          Comment


                          • Kelby
                            Kelby commented
                            Editing a comment
                            I wouldn't remove anything but the tip. Ideally it should be pinched at 5 leaves, but if you're at 7 or 10 leaves, pinch that tip.

                        • #20
                          Oh yes at least 7-10 leaf. And leaves are huge size too. Do you think is slow producing because it is focusing on make new leaf and accommodate the existing huge leaf? Would pinch new little baby bud leaf and maybe some of the bigger leaf ( couple per branch) make any different vs just pinch baby leaf?
                          Zone 5 Chicago IL Wish list:
                          1) Rest peacfully Amico Bello Buddy 👼🏼.
                          2) This weeks ebay auctions.

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                          • Kelby
                            Kelby commented
                            Editing a comment
                            I'm not an expert, but some varieties are more shy to fruit than others. Could be a fertilizer issue too (too much nitrogen). Removing the tip alters the hormone flow and can help promote fruit set.

                        • #21
                          Okay. I just pinch off about 20 tip. Was bleeding white (maybe gross I had to taste it ) leaves a tingle sensation in tongue. I wonder if collecting the sap when cutting it pinching could be used for something?
                          Zone 5 Chicago IL Wish list:
                          1) Rest peacfully Amico Bello Buddy 👼🏼.
                          2) This weeks ebay auctions.

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                          • Kelby
                            Kelby commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Bass makes cheese with it.

                        • #22
                          I just read tis

                          http://www.m.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/i...5/fig/source-3
                          Zone 5 Chicago IL Wish list:
                          1) Rest peacfully Amico Bello Buddy 👼🏼.
                          2) This weeks ebay auctions.

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                          • #23
                            It also say sap is poison and canaje burning rash on body. I touch fig sap whole life no problem. (Yet)
                            Zone 5 Chicago IL Wish list:
                            1) Rest peacfully Amico Bello Buddy 👼🏼.
                            2) This weeks ebay auctions.

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                            • #24
                              Originally posted by Taverna78 View Post
                              It also say sap is poison and canaje burning rash on body. I touch fig sap whole life no problem. (Yet)
                              Last year I applied sap to a bee sting immediately after it got me. The pain went away instantly.
                              Frank ~ zone 7a VA

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                              • #25
                                IMO, Pruning or Thinning of the multi-branched fig bush should be done before pinching... Reducing the number of branches (fruiting branches) will induce earlier fig production.

                                http://figs4funforum.websitetoolbox....-today-6904797
                                Herman2,
                                If the tree starts from soil level,you will have something like 10 -20 trunks growing at once. If you leave them all, they will grow slow and produce fruits late, and fruits will not ripe. In that case we have to reduce to three trunks (as soon as they appear)and let The three trunks, grow and fruit as they please till August 1. At that point we can pinch the tops,of trunks and take out the half grown young fruits. This way we get about 2 to 3 dozen fruits that will ripe and a healthy strong tree for next year.
                                Pruned scaffold branches, Herman2 taken May 2011
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                                Last edited by AscPete; 06-18-2015, 12:35 PM. Reason: added photos of Herman2 (VS) pruned scaffold branches.
                                Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

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