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  • Tree OR bush! how do you know which variety favors either shape?

    during the past two seasons I have followed ascpete's guidelines about pruning to concentrate on forming a tree for the first 3 years. My question is, "will a bushy variety be well suited when being forced to become a tree, or should you trim it to maintain its' bushyness"? How can one know whether a variety is a bush when only judging from a cutting?

    Wish List: 🙏🏼 Mavra Sika

  • #2
    Thanks for asking this question. I hadn't even thought of that as something to consider. Looking forward to the responses.
    Bryant...Franklin County, VA...Zone 7a. Wish List: a 32 hour day....more sleep


    • #3
      I would think if a varietys fruit is only or better taste on hard wood I would prune to tree shape. I think if fig taste good no matter if on hard or green wood I would let bush out. Only because you want eat as many good Fig as you can Sì ? Is just my think.
      Zone 5 Chicago IL Wish list:
      1) Rest peacfully Amico Bello Buddy 👼🏼.
      2) This weeks ebay auctions.


      • #4
        Yes, it is a good question. I tend to prune container figs in a single-stem, open-vase shape while in-ground trees are pruned to have 3-5 main trunks. I like to have the branching of the container trees occur maybe 6-12 inches from ground level. In zone 7 and lower you are going to often get some dieback for in-ground trees if they are not protected. Having multiple trunks is supposed to increase the odds of having some viable above-ground plant tissue even if there is damage. I'm not sure if the bush type gives better yield but it might. As for which varieties favor what type of growth, at least in containers I have found that all of my varieties can be shaped to single stem though some will want to put out more suckers than others. I just periodically remove these.
        D-i-c-k-e-r-s-o-n, MD; zone 7a
        WL: Castillon, Fort Mill Dark, White Baca


        • Admin IT
          Admin IT commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks for great observations. Definitely helpful.

      • #5
        I'm following the same model as Steve. My container trees are for the most trained to a single stem with branching starting 12-24 inches above ground level.

        My inground trees will be multiple stems(3-5) so there's a better chance of 1 or more of them surviving the winter.

        Most of the figs I have in pots tend to sucker and that just provides an opportunity for an air layer or cuttings in the fall.
        Kevin (Eastern MA - Zone 5b/6a)


        • #6
          How close to the ground do you guys trim your in ground trees to protect them?
          Jose in Glen Arm, Maryland.... Zone 7a


        • #7
          I rooted an El Molino u/k late last summer and the new growth is branching out at every single node. It's a very healthy looking "shrub" lol. At a foot high it has at least 9 or 10 branches already lol. Some pruning will be in this little one's future.
          London, ON, Canada zone 6a


          • #8
            My VdB puts out suckers like you would not believe. I just leave it alone and let it do its thing. I'm just not going to keep up with maintenance like that. All of the branches give me fruit and that's all I ask of it, really.

            Varieties I've had with a similar, seemingly innate bush-habits are this unknown Adriatic type and Celeste. Hollier has also put out vigorous suckers but not as many as the others.

            I only grow in containers and I usually aim for kind of a mix between a tree and a bush. Each plant has one or two main trunks that I prune so the buds along the sides of the trunks turn into branches. Then, I prune the branches back. Why? I have about enough room to comfortably fit 12 - 16 twenty five gallon pots. I don't want the trees to get so tall that they'll get easily knocked over with a storm wind. I also don't want to grab a ladder each time I want to get fruit. If I need to move them, they're not so huge I'd have to struggle but they're not so small that I'll ensure a small harvest.

            Whether that's best for the fruit quality or the health of the tree remains to be seen but it's what makes sense for me right now.


            • #9
              I go with the variety's tendency and use that as a guide. Needless to say, some of my trees are bush-form while others are single- trunked and tree-like.
              Ryan aka churl82 on ebay: http://www.ebay.com/usr/churl82
              "wherever you stand be the soul of that place" ~ Rumi