Help! Old overgrown fig trees

Ptrosss(7)February 26, 2014

We recently purchased an older home (@1964) in the SC upstate with a completely overgrown 1/2 acre yard we're working to reclaim. One of the many treasures we've discovered here is a stand of fig trees. Other than some miscellaneous cuts that the trades apparently made when we had foundation work done before we moved in, these 12-15 ft tall trees haven't been touched in at least 10 years. They were loaded with rotting/falling figs last fall when we moved in. I know NOTHING about fruit trees, so any advice would be much appreciated regarding pruning, feeding, etc. I read Herman's advice on pruning, but this is a little overwhelming to me. There are photos here if you cut and paste the link: Thanks so much in advance.

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What a nice find at your new house! There is a nice video on you tube about Pruning figs trees at this link:

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 2:04PM
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You can shape them however you like, the key is they grow shoots out of the nodes so wherever you see a little node, that's where a shoot will come from. The last node on a limb will usually push the new growth after pruning so you can use that to guide you in where you want a limb to grow and what direction. Typically ppl leave outward facing nodes as the last node so the tree develops a spreading habit which allows air and sun into the middle more to ripen fruits and avoid mold, etc. also keeps fruit reachable.
Good luck and email me if you have extra cuttings after u prune, I'd love some! Have a great day!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 3:41AM
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It is better to wait for next year for pruning, old fig trees, maybe you will find something special.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 12:35PM
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Ptrosss, Contact Bass ( ) ,he is figs hunter and introduced many figs cultivar to the trade.
I contacted him twice ,but without responce.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 12:21PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

Ptrosss, I'm in upstate SC also. Near Fountain Inn.

I have an overgrown fig tree that was on the property when my parents bought the place in 1979, the house was built in the 60's also.

After my parents died I bought out my 4 brothers portion of the land and house. My Dad never trimmed it and wouldn't let me trim it. He was afraid that it would die.

It was about 30' tall and 40' wide with lots of "new" trees sprouting up from where the lower limbs touched the ground and set roots.

In Dec. of 2012, after a little reading and some advise from folks on this forum I decided to break out the chainsaw and just go at it! It took me about 12 hours of cutting and untangling the limbs.

It came back with a vengeance! It put out new limbs everywhere and produced more figs that it has ever produced last summer!

I have never fertilized it and I don't really think it is necessary, from the looks of your tree I think that you can do the same.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 1:15PM
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I hope the figs were good! Do you know what variety of dig tree it is? I wish I had the same problem, my trees are all young.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 8:17PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

No Terry, I don't know the variety for sure, but I think it is a brown turkey.

They are very good! The birds and bees love them too, but there is enough for all of us!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 12:51PM
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I wish I had that problem (overgrowth). Most of my fig trees are small. I used to have one about ten feet tall. it Gave me lots of green colored figs for about 8 years. Then, it started to die. I salvaged some cuttings and planted them around the house. I believe this fig is an Alma fig. Within the last few months I have bought and just planted the following varieties: Brown Turkey, Texas Overbearing, Black Mission, Sierra (new variety), plus two varieties that I bought at a flea market with no name. I want to get a Texas Blue Giant next, but I can't find it in my area. I' m willing to trade cutting with someone who has a variety that produces large fruit. Happy figging :-).

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 5:53PM
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Thanks so much for all the responses! I will put your suggestions into use very soon.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 7:34PM
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It would be best to cut 2/3 limbs per year to the ground. Now is the best time to do that. Keep the new sprouts at a manageable height. Make some 8" tip cuttings off what you have cut back to root

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 12:30AM
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