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  • The first cut is the deepest...

    Hello everyone,
    I just bought 4 fig trees in 3 gallon pots. I'd like to train them in the Japanese tree form for containers that I've read about. That requires me to cut these 6 foot tall trees down to about 2 feet. Am I being a scaredy-cat for no reason? I've searched these and other forums, but I just wanted some reassurance I'm not making a bad decision.
    Houston, TX Zone 9a

  • #2
    I would air layer the tops off. Then you will have a spare of each should the worse happen.
    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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    • #3
      I agree with Scott, air layer the tops and you will have just doubled your fig tree total and you'll have more to experiment with.

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

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      • #4
        You are not making a bad decision, but the time of year is also important because you may not have enough of the season left for new branch growth before dormancy. Your zone and location would help.

        I agree with the advise of air layering the top of the trees, since there is enough time left in the season for most zones. After removing the air layers the training and pruning would follow the prescribed steps, http://www.ourfigs.com/forum/figs-ho...-espalier-form . A few photos could help.
        .
        They also should be up potted to larger containers because if they are that tall they may already be root bound in those 3 gallon pots. Good luck
        Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

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        • #5
          My apologies...I'm in Houston, TX zone 8b. It seems to stay warm here mostly until October. I have read up all about air layering, so I will do as you guys are suggesting and try that. I am planning on using the plastic bottle covered in aluminum foil technique that seems to work so well.

          AscPete, the first thing I bought was some of the bigger tubs I found at Lowes. The plants have been in them growing for 2 weeks as I wring my hands trying to decide what to do. I'm using your guidelines from that link as my example. I will try to attach pics to this posting to show what I'm dealing with. 2 of the plants are the 6 footers. The other 2 are 3-4 feet. The one with no leaves had figs and leaves, but dropped everything when I replanted it. It now has new leaves emerging.

          Click image for larger version

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          Click image for larger version

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          Houston, TX Zone 9a

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          • #6
            Visceral,

            Some bad news. Those tubs are not UV rated, they will fall apart in a year or two at best.

            Proper pots will be needed.
            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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            • #7
              Instructions for adding a "signature line" with your zone and location is located in the index FRT, http://www.ourfigs.com/forum/figs-ho...erenced-topics Its useful info for other members in discussions.

              Judging by the photos you may not have enough active growth at this time to air layer the tops of the trees. Air Layering requires healthy active leaf growth to produce roots. My recommendation is to get the trees back to healthy growth before considering air layering. As an example the attached photos from the pruning topic, are of trees that were bare rooted and up potted. The initial minor pruning was to remove all the tips which produce auxins (hormones) that prevent branching. Major pruning to get the tree form shape was done after the trees had resumed healthy growth the before and after photos are exactly 69 days apart (May, 5 to July, 12).

              I don't know when your growing season ends (first frost), but a plan also has to be made for the dormant period (6 - 8 weeks before) slowing the trees' growth / hardening them off for winter dormancy.
              You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 4 photos.
              Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

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              • #8
                From the photo it looks like you may have them in a rather shady spot. They should get a least 6 hours of direct sun per day. That will make your pruning manipulations progress more quickly not mention make the trees more productive.
                Steve
                D-i-c-k-e-r-s-o-n, MD; zone 7a
                WL: Nantes Maroc

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                • #9
                  CoGardener, I wasn't aware of that issue. It is water under the bridge at this point though. I'll re-pot when they fail.

                  As for waiting for healthy growth before air layering, I'm guessing that will mean no air layers this year. I see lots of new root growth in the pot, but up top is mostly the same as when I bought them. Would heavy fertilizer be the key to getting some of that growth so that I'd be ready for next year, or should I just leave them be and let them get ready for dormancy?

                  The photo was taken at dusk. This location gets sun from morning until around 2pm. I could move them to a full day sun exposure location if that would help though. This is Houston, so the sun is definitely baking every plant I have from afternoon to sunset. Can a newly potted fig take that?
                  Houston, TX Zone 9a

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                  • Rewton
                    Rewton commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Sounds like they are getting enough sun.
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