How long to let a young tree grow fruit-less?

greyongrayMay 29, 2012

Just wondering how long (and if) everybody here picks the fruits off a young tree to make it grow larger. First year, second year, etc?

I know the conventional fruit tree wisdom is no fruit production for about the first two years, but figs seem to be an exception.

I have 4 little trees at the moment, varying sizes but I have only had all for less than 6 months. Even the littlest 1g is putting out figs but I have not let them stay on.

When do you decide that a tree is ready to produce fruit?

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I always eat the little things, period. Yeah, my fig trees are not the best, but I cannot help myself, and it hasn't killed any of my trees. Even on cuttings in a jar of water, I get the occasional fig, and I just sit back in anticipation.

Anybody else out there want to give this post some rational, sensible advice? Unlike my own?

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 9:13PM
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noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)

Hi Bud and Grey,

I would think it would depend upon how large that tree is and how many figs are allowed to stay on the tree.


    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 9:26PM
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On a Second year tree you should leave no more than Half dozen fruits,third year 2 dozen or less 4th year three dozen or less,and so forth.
Any more fruits left and you risk a tree that will die over the next Winter,when grown outside Ideal climate like southern France or Fresno California.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 11:09AM
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Hey Herman can you explain why it would risk death? I had a tree with wonderful fruits last yr and it was young. It had a couple that never ripened before cold weather. It didn't make it through the winter and I was very disappointed.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 11:18AM
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Got eight new cuttings from a Greek guy today. Four are black fig tree cuttings and four are purple fig tree cuttings. Unknown varieties. The Black figs came off of a 13 year old tree which right now bears about 80 ripening figs. Mr. Kostopoulos knows his figs!

There are I think six little figs on the cuttings shown on the left. Anybody know if I should pop them off now to conserve the fig's energy, or to push my luck and hope to eat them in two weeks right off the cuttings? Help!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 9:23PM
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1.Remove the figs- take too much energy from cutting
2. Remove leaves except one, then cut the leaf in half with scissors.
3. Place your jar of water with cuttings inside to a shaded but warm place.

Be patient, I have seen updates on YouTube, figs4fun that rooting may take a while... Weeks or even a month

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 10:57PM
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Hey, thanks jenniferarino83

Living in Florida, near the Greek community of Tarpon Springs, fig cuttings are abundant and free. I now have 7 figs in the ground, 3 in pots, and 8 cuttings in water. I will remove the baby figs from the cuttings in the morning. I like your advice and will follow it to the letter. Thank you!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 12:31AM
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Well Timmy:You risk ,death of the tree because it happened to my trees,when I left too many fruits on.
It is from my experience.
Now As my opinion,here is how I would explain.
Fig trees are very willing to produce fruits,as they think that is a way to preserve themselves,by producing seeds if a male pollen is available.
That is because most fruits producing fig trees are Females.
The more fruits the female produces the farther the seed will fall when eaten by a creature.
So some of them will grow into new trees.
The Young new plant,read the adverse environment is in, when in a pot in the north east,so,knowing is in peril,it produces fruits way before it is able to sustain those fruits ,and this is done for survival.
At the end of season it exhaust itself of all energy reserves,to grow those fruits,and so when Winter come it has no energy to survive the abnormal cold it has to endure in the North east cold Winters.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 10:48AM
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Herman2 is now my fig guru.

Well explained! You just took away half of the mysteries I've ponder regarding life and death of figs. Thank you, herman2.

(Note: he must spend a whole lot of time thinking about these things.)

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 9:36PM
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noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)

I believe Herman is gifted with insight having to do with figs, Bud. I would trust anything he says about figs.


    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 1:34AM
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Right you are, noss!

Herman2 explained exactly what happened to my dearest fig tree, Steve. After a Greek friend of mine, Steve Kordis passed away, his back yard was torn out and Steve the Fig Tree was thrown away. Left out in a trash pile last August for four days in the brutal sun, Steve the Fig Tree had full root exposure. I found the dead stick that he had become. I took it home, planted it, watered it one time and just ignored it. In December, Steve had a leaf pop out at the top! Over the winter it made a weak recovery, and in early April, I got two black figs. I ate them, and a month later, the tree just took a terrible turn for the worse. I couldn't understand it until Herman2 offered up his wisdom about a dying momma tree.

But now, in it's organic orchard, mulched heavily, Steve is rebounding. By the time I put him in the orchard, all he had was 3 tiny penny sized leaves. So sad. But he's back!

Thanks again for the 'dying mother' explanation, Herman2.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 11:15AM
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noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)

Bud! That's a great story about Steve and what a great tribute to your friend. I hope his namesake lives and produces delicious figs for decades.

Don't you just love fig trees?


    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 11:53PM
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A better question would be, how many figs will the birds let you have. Between the critters and the elements, it's a struggle getting some variants from tree to mouth. So, the only figlets I ever pull off are when those on very young cuttings.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 7:52AM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

Part of it depends where you live. In the south in zone 9 for example you basically have twice the growing season of someone in zone 5 or 6. So 1 growing season in z 9 is almost equal to 2 growing seasons up north. I think size of the plant is a much better indicator of when a plant should be allowed to fruit than a calender.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 3:43PM
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You are right our season is very short I am trying to add few months to it by using the green house. I hope my trees will oblige.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 10:30PM
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