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  • Crazy Crazy Question but maybe there is an answer to it

    How can I get my fig tree to give branches in the middle of the trunk, not way high or way low?

    my tree is mature and over 5 years old but I only get branches about 4.5 feet high and way low about couple inches from the ground. The past years I have been cutting the one by the soil level hoping it will stimulate getting branches a little higher with no luck. Is there any science or logic in this?
    Chandler, AZ Zone 9b

  • #2
    There is an answer, cut the trunk back to the height you want branches. That's the only sure way. You can try forcing buds in the middle by notching above the bud. But that's a long shot compared to cutting back. The plant will regain the lost height in a few months.
    Alpine, Texas 4500ft elevation Zone 7


    • #3
      Look at trunk around where you want a new branch for a little irregular swelling which would be a node and make a cut into bark ABOVE it an inch higher and maybe 1.5 inches from side to side. then prune off any branches you do not want higher up on trunk, also prune the branch immediately higher above the cut you just made on the trunk back maybe 50%, water and fertiize well and Mother Nature will likely give you what you want.Worked here.



      • #4
        If all else fails, you can always read up on chip bud or T bud grafting and take buds from higher up on the tree and graft them to the trunk where you want branches.
        “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
        – Chinese Proverb
        MA 5b/6a


        • ginamcd
          ginamcd commented
          Editing a comment
          I tried a couple last year with sub-optimal buds, but otherwise have no personal experience with this. I did see it discussed that you could potentially graft a bud anywhere on your tree on a video (perhaps one of Ross'...?).

          Of the four I tried last summer, two buds that were off a tree in pretty bad shape failed, the other two healed and swelled just a bit, then sat. They still look healthy, so I'm waiting to see if they do anything this summer.

        • fruitnut
          fruitnut commented
          Editing a comment
          You can T or chip bud half way up the trunk. But T buds don't do well in thick bark and can't be done until wood is slipping. But those won't grow any better than the buds that are already there unless you cut the trunk off above the buds.

        • ginamcd
          ginamcd commented
          Editing a comment
          I was thinking this would be a last gasp effort if there were no (or not enough) buds/nodes lower down on the trunk where branches were wanted. In my case it was a variety I am going to cull anyway and decided to experiment with T bud grafting after seeing it done on a video.

      • #5
        Ditto, fruitnut
        Its basic Plant Physiology, Pruning to remove "Apical Dominance" is the best way to induce branching on lower / basal stems.

        For fig tree pruning removing all Apexes / Auxins will induce more branching.

        Click image for larger version  Name:	Pruning to remove apical dominance.jpg Views:	0 Size:	243.0 KB ID:	697397

        For well established trees (potted or in-ground) it would require only one to two seasons to regrow the new "scaffold" and "fruiting" branches... Good luck.
        Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b


        • #6
          If you are looking for a shorter tree with lower scaffolds, you can end up with 2 trees at your desired height. Set a air layer on the top of your tree so the upper branches are at the height of the tree you want. After you remove the layer, do as fruitnut suggest, cut the remaining trunk to the height of the tree you want. You will end up with 2 trees but it will take 2 seasons to get the second tree, from trunk, to bear fruit. The air layered top should give you figs this year if you use a good size pot and allow it to fill with roots before removing it.

          Grafting has also been suggested, if you want to keep the tall tree.

          As for the soil level branching, don't know how to prevent it. Just keep cutting them back as close to trunk as possible. That is what I do.
          Ed B. West Coast of Michigan L.P. 6a/6b


          • #7
            wow , thank you all for the info. I guess I will be testing your suggestions this spring, happy growing to all.
            Chandler, AZ Zone 9b


            • #8
              Plant hormones can be put on buds to encourage them to create branches. I’ve added 2% BAP 0.3 IAA in lanolin base with positive results.
              Wish list. CdDM, BFF, White Baca, Rigato de Salento PB, Iranian Candy, Nerucciolo D’Elba, Saint Martin


              • #9
                This is what I am doing to promote branching.
                Experimenting that technique I couldn't get 100% success if I made cut ebove node only.
                Here is a little something that I learned ! Little strip must be cut out like on picture below if you want 100% success.
                Click image for larger version

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                Looking for De La Gloria.Your best teacher is your last mistake !


                • figneer
                  figneer commented
                  Editing a comment
                  nice, thanks for the picture, I will definitely try it on 1 node and see. if successful then I will do more the same season.