Pinching Back

stunatoApril 12, 2011

I have read on this forum before that pinching back the terminal buds on the branches will improve the crop of figs.Do you pinch back all branches or just those with figs on them? When approx. would trees (Hardy Chicago) begin to set the main crop in zone 6 (southern Ohio)?

Thanx for the benefit of your experience.

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wabikeguy(7 AB)

Following Herman's advice, I pinch back new shoots when they show 5 or 6 leaves. I'm in zone 10 and most of my fig trees are begining to show their first main crop figs now.


    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 9:43PM
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+1.....5-6 leaves is a good rule but also keep in mind this encourages new branch growth so if you're trying to shape your tree in a certain manner you might want go go beyond the 5-6 leaf rule.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 7:41PM
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I mis-understood Herman's instructions. It must be difficult to mess up pinching. I pinched some of the new stems with 5 leaves on them, whole stem. Just a few. Then I re-read instructions and pinched a few pointy ends off some of the branches with 4-6 leaves. I left a few un-pinched. The pinched branches--all of them have put out 2-3 baby figlets. This is a super technique!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 9:54PM
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wabikeguy(7 AB)

It sure is. I pinch back everything on my young trees but the few branches I am trying to encourage...usually no more than three or four per tree. Looks like lots of figs this year, and most of my trees are only a year and a half old.

Thank you Herman for sharing your knowledge and experience.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 12:01AM
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I live near Dayton, Ohio and have used Herman's method the last two years at least, pinching after the 5th to 6th leaf. It works very well. The Hardy Chicago fruits in September for me.


    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 12:54AM
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Oh boy that what I need to do. I have a Brown turkey, 3 year old never had even one fig. I will start pinching the tips of branches. Hopefully I get some Figs.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 2:22AM
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Now it is getting very hot here and a couple of weeks without rain, so to nourish the new baby figlets (so exciting!) I put a 5 gallon bucket with a pin-hole in the bottom. Twice a week I am filling the bucket with water for a deep, gentle drink. Oooooh, my dear Herman, the Johnny Figseed of summer delicacies.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 7:39PM
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Stunato:When they put on fruits depends if they are in pot or in ground.
If in pot,and alive when taken out they will put out embryos,right away,as soon as starting growing.
If in ground,then the buds are set back,by the cold conditions they had to go trough,so they leaf out on May first and put on fruits on June first.
Yet Hardy Chicago is enough quick in growing them that they will ripe on about 15th of August,even thow they started late in life.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 1:11PM
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Does any one espalier fig trees?

    Bookmark   April 30, 2011 at 10:49AM
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Pinching really works. I have a brown Turkey which never produced even one Fig except lots of leaves. I pinched most of the buds and in a week It showed two Figs. I think it will have more.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2011 at 2:42AM
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I am pinching my figs after the fifth leaf this year,earlier than before(after sixth leaf),in order to have earlier main crop.
The reason Why,I pinch after the fifth,is that when pinching after sixth,the first and second leaf will not form embryos fruits,but only the third leaf will.
In fact I can see that in the future I might have to pinch after the forth leaf in order to force the tree to form fruits starting with the second leaf.
I started pinching on May 10.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 2:00PM
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I think I recall posting this info before. I have an Italian friend who does quite the opposite. He learned this from one of his friends who worked in a commercial greek fig orchard. Around the first of May (in Pittsburgh), he removes all the leaves of the fig branches except for the very end of the branch in which the distal 4-5 are left. As you can imagine, this opens the tree to more light but he claims the method forces the figlets to grow at the cut leaf nodes and the tree will produce larger and more flavorful figs.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 11:01PM
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Leon :your posting is interesting:
I am thinking to start experimenting on one tree with this newer method!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 8:20AM
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wabikeguy(7 AB)

I agree, Herman. Sounds like it's worth a try. Thanks for sharing this, Leon.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 7:49PM
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4th and 5th leaves are just emerging here in northeastern Pennsylvania. Will pinch after 5th leaf, as done in past couple of years - this method has worked well for me. Thank you Herman!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 7:58PM
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I have been pinching for two weeks now myself I have pinched from 5th leaf to 6th leaf I do not get to picky I just pinch alot. I have many varieties with main crop figs started. I now tell everyone to pinch pinch pinch. I do not worry about branching as I usually prune the tree back into the shape I want in the fall.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 6:18PM
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I did Removed leaves,on a Mission,and Ronde de Bordeaux figs ,by the Method described by Dr. Leon.
Very interested to see the results.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 10:25PM
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Pinching question...Have a brown turkey in ground. It started new shoots from the bottom. They are now about 18" talk and have about 5 leaves on them. If I pinch the tree will only be 18" this correct or am I missing something?

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 7:23PM
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