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  • Tree form vs Bush form

    I am thinking of making all of my young trees and bushes into standard form single trunk trees mainly for aesthetic reasons. Does anyone else do this? I understand that I will probably experience a short term drop in productivity and will have to reach a bit higher to harvest most figs. Are there any downsides besides these?
    Augusta, GA

  • #2
    Andreas makes fun of my bushes all the time.

    I get 4' to 8' of new growth each year. If I were to put that on top of a tree that starts out at 6' that means I would need a ladder for most of my fruit and I very much want to avoid that but if you're okay with using a ladder, go for it. That is a traditional method and some have said that climbing a big old fig tree as a kid was a lot of fun.
    My fig photos <> My fig cuttings (starts late January) <> My Youtube Videos


    • #3
      I am getting a lot of and on my bushes too, but I don't really want to mess with tanglefoot. Maybe this will help with ants too.
      Augusta, GA


      • #4
        If they are being planted in ground the problem is that if they are left unprotected in winter they may die back to the soil line in colder winters (zone 8 and below) and the trees will naturally try to grow as bushes. If the main trunks and scaffold branches are protected for several years they may remain as trees if the winters are not severe.

        I've "salted" the areas around my fig trees with used Coffee Grounds to eliminate Ants, it takes a week or two and has to be repeated a few times each season but may be worth a trial. Good Luck.

        BTW, All my in ground trees are being pruned as single trunk for ease of maintenance, but the scaffold branches are kept low for winter protection, http://www.ourfigs.com/forum/figs-ho...ound-fig-trees
        Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b


        • #5
          Never had any fig trees that were not trained as single-stem, standards. No disadvantages once basic structure is established, but this process of training a tree form will take a few years, depending on climate, die-back, etc. Easier, if trees are containerized and winter-stored in a cool garage/shed.

          Pick out a fat stem for the main trunk, and encourage dormant buds to sprout from the upper portion of said, trunk....which should be about 3ft-4 ft tall. Rub/pinch out all buds below this point, and grow a rack of STRUCTURAL branches, to give tree its basic form. Throughout subsequent seasons, pinch back all new growth to increase ramification, and to increase the number of branches that will bear figs. Prune away all other branches that do not fit into your envisioned design for the fig "tree". I strive for a 3ft-4ft trunk, then 8"-18" structural branches, then comes the shorter, fruiting branches...keeping the total height of the tree around 6 ft. This will give you a "Patio Tree". (Note: Length of trunk and branches are just suggestions).

          The final, exact height of the tree can vary, but it can be controlled and held to about 6 ft. by pruning and pinching. Result: no ladders will be needed to pick fruit....and Brian will be happy.

          After basic structure has been established, let the fruiting branches/twigs produce all the figs that they can ripen, and then, the following spring, prune them back to control growth. However, in the cooler climates, it may be best to just let main-crop figs develop, and pinch back all new growth to between 6-8 leaves especially, after June 21st.

          Pete (ascpete) has posted several excellent threads that explain how to prune fig trees for both basic structure, and fruiting production. It takes some effort, but it ain't hard to do.

          Good luck,

          Last edited by BronxFigs; 09-29-2015, 08:14 AM.


          • #6
            Thanks for the tips. These trees are all in ground. I have seen some nice large shade trees in Norfolk which I think are all Celeste. I'll be sure to post pictures a year from now.
            Augusta, GA