Pruning Fig Trees For Better Fruit Production

Figs are an ancient plant going back literally to the beginning of ancient times. Figs were originated in Asia Minor but were spread throughout the Mediterranean region by both the Greeks and Romans. In 1592 they made their way to the United States by Spanish Franciscan missionaries who settled in California.

Figs are rich in fiber as well as potassium, calcium and magnesium. They can be eaten fresh directly off the plant, dried, or processed into jams. Figs typically grow well in zones 8-11.

There are basically two time to prune fig trees; when the are first planted and in the dormant season.

When planting a new fig tree, it is important to prune it soon after planting so it can put energy into developing a solid root system. This pruning will seem quite drastic. Remove any branches that are growing at less than 45 degrees to the main trunks. Next, reduce the length of remaining branches half, being sure to make cuts just above buds.

This pruning will reduce the amount of fruit grown in the short term but increase the bushiness of the plant, and the fruit yield, down the road. Be sure to clean the pruners between cuts to reduce the spread of diseases.

Pruning an established fig tree is done during the winter dormant season.

  1. Select 6-8 main fruiting branches that are growing from the base of the plant to keep. Remove all others that are growing from the base.
  2. Remove any diseased or dead wood,
  3. Remove any suckers or water sprouts. These are branches that are growing very straight. The sap energy out of the plant and do not produce fruit.
  4. Remove any secondary branches that are growing at less than 45 degrees from main branches. This will open the plant up some allowing more room for better fruit producing branches.
  5. Reduce main branches by ¼ to 1/3. This will allow the plant to put more energy in to fruit production as well.

Pruning fig plants the correct way will increase the quantity of figs you harvest and result in a nicer looking ornamental plant.

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