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  • Top prune or not?

    Ive read in some posts that its mandatory to top prune a fig when planting in ground if the roots had to be cut to loosen the root ball after removing from the pot. Ive also read that its not. Can anyone comment on this issue? Im going to be planting 9 or 10 varieties in ground in the next few weeks. Some are small enough that I can loosen and spread out the roots when planting, no top pruning required. Others are in 10-15 gallon pots Im sure the roots will have to be cut some to spread out. Those are the ones Im concerned about as they are starting to sprout leafs and brebas as we speak. Some I really want to sample ASAP. What would you do?

    Rob

  • #2
    I've never pruned the tops of my trees to bring it into "balance" with root pruning. In Seabrook, the humidity levels should be high enough to minimize transpiration while the roots catch up.

    On a quasi-related topic... Have the in ground trees in the area started leafing out?
    Last edited by Bijan; 02-26-2015, 01:02 AM.
    Littleton, CO (zone 5b) - In Containers
    N.E. of Austin, TX (zone 8b)- In Ground.

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    • #3
      Thanks for the response. I will just plant them and let'em rip!

      I haven't seen any local fig trees in ground start leafing out yet. All my potted figs are just starting to break buds with the exception of a few. I'm sure there just around the corner.

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      • #4
        I'm an advocate of pruning, whether in ground or containers.
        If you have an idea of the desired size and shape pruning will get your trees there faster and make them more productive.

        IMO, Pruning early to establish the main and scaffold branches, which do not produce figs and
        establishing them as support for the fruiting branches will reduce the harvest for the 1st year but will increase the harvest in the long term.
        Removing small branches and sections of close inter-node spacing closer to mains or scaffolds creates a smoother flow of nutrients and increases overall plant growth.

        It removes apical dominance and creates multiple bud formation which help to form the desired canopy.
        Last edited by AscPete; 02-26-2015, 03:12 PM. Reason: typo
        Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

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        • #5
          To me, I would say it depends on how much the roots are pruned. Minor damage or a few cuts to redirect the roots is usually not an issue, however a heavy root pruning may effect the tree and some top pruning is usually prudent.

          Scott
          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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          • #6
            I suppose I should have restated my comment as, "I never pruned the top of my tree just because I was root-pruning."

            Scott, I do not know about other fruit trees, but I've not had a problem even when taking 75%+ of the root mass. The key is the tree needs to be dormant (or just breaking dormancy). In the case above, the environment is extremely humid which reduces moisture loss due to transpiration. This will ease the demand on the roots. In general, I have found that trees will delay breaking dormancy for a little bit when major root work is done, but I have not lost a tree.
            Littleton, CO (zone 5b) - In Containers
            N.E. of Austin, TX (zone 8b)- In Ground.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Bijan View Post

              Scott, I do not know about other fruit trees, but I've not had a problem even when taking 75%+ of the root mass. The key is the tree needs to be dormant (or just breaking dormancy). In the case above, the environment is extremely humid which reduces moisture loss due to transpiration. This will ease the demand on the roots. In general, I have found that trees will delay breaking dormancy for a little bit when major root work is done, but I have not lost a tree.
              This past year (in Nov/Dec) I repotted/root pruned almost all my container blueberries. I was quite vigorous in some cases because I mainly was changing the mix to retain more water (drought considerations). I thought I even might lose some because I removed so much root material. But not yet. Though blooming and vegetative regrowth has been more spread out time-wise in the BBs this year. But who is to know if that's because of their roots being seriously hacked, or our very unusual winter (weeks of 80* weather, plus a week of near frost).

              Thanks for the info. I wonder if working on roots might be a way of extending the blueberry fruiting season in individual plants. Might be too much work just for that.
              SoCal, zone 10.
              www.ourfigs.com Invite your friends.

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