Fig Tree Pruning

khays(10a)May 5, 2010

I have a fig tree that is probably 60 years old. There's one branch that's getting too tall (it's about 5' over the roofline of our single story home). I'd like to prune it but the branch is pretty big (about 7' in circumference), and I'm worried that it might 'shock' the tree. FYI - the first figs of the season are just about ripe so I don't know if that makes a difference.

In the picture, it's the branch that's growing vertically, just to the left of the white birdhouse.

If it's ok to prune, do I just saw off the branch where it intersects w/ the bigger branch? Do I need to seal it with anything?

Here is a link that might be useful:

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If your concern is shock then you can prune that branch in stages starting from the top and waiting a few weeks in between, each cut just above an existing side branch. I am not an expert but that is what comes to my mind after reading on pruning suggestions in the past. You will have a nicely pruned tree by the end of the season.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 7:58PM
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What Ottawn says is good or just wait till late fall when leaves come off and it goes dormant and cut the branch you want and you can use prune seal on the large wound its a tar like substance that will seal it and prevent any infestation bought at most nursery's. I recently bought a can for 7.00 it comes with small brush attached to lid and has enough in there to last a very long time, i use it on my fig plants.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 8:34PM
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I like to hit the cut with a propane torch and burn it sealed or cover with ashes ( wood,coal ) during growing season.
You can use candle wax while dormant. Just light up a candle hold sideways and let the melted wax drip onto the cut.


    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 8:44PM
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giants_2007(10 PSL FL Sal)

How about tar to seal cuts if I remember correctly that is what my family used. I have not as of yet tried i just dab some moist soil don't remember if I read that on forum or seen it done

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 8:21AM
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that would work very well, i think they used heat in the civil war period to seal wounds on soldiers the word escapes me.
Sal , you may have read the spit and dirt thing i always did on forum until last season. : ) Dad used to use paint on the regular trees.
the neighbor next door uses a tar like substance and thats what gave me the idea to go to the nursery and see whats what and this stuff is and smells just like it its thick and gooie and of course i got a little on my hands and hard to clean off with just soap and water to really have to scrub but i see it as being very effective at keeping the bugs out of a larger type of wound on a tree.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 9:24AM
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The stuff you and Sal are talking about is oil based product. I will try to spell it right: Petroleum, Hope I got it right.LOL
But it works well.
I may have to resort to using it now because I don't have my torch or any ashes ( too windy to burn today ) and candle wax will not stop the bleeding on my Kadota tree.

I just had to make a cut, I kick myself in the @$$ sometimes. LOL


    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 10:09AM
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peterknop(z7 VA)

As a consulting forester and fruit tree grower, I believe the conventional wisdom among the "experts" is not to use tar. It actually increases bug and disease issues. The torch can work, but would damage healthy tissue around the cut. Best just to make the cut at the collar line and leave it be. With a big branch, cut it off a couple of feet away from the collar so that when breaking or falling off it dows not tear the bark off. Then cut the last couple of feet which is light and easy to manage - but watch the last tiny bit at the cut as that is where the piece cut off will start to fall and tear the "hinge".
Figs are tough and unless other problems no problem in cutting off as much as you like (we have 400 plus trees in our groves.
BTW, the "collar" is that little ridge around the base of the branch where it attaches to the trunk (or the ridge on the trunk where the branch attaches, depending on which way you look at it, and it has specialised cells in it which help it grow over the 'wound' when branch is cut off

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 1:18PM
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I lost my torch and can't find the tar. The candle wax was my only option and can't seem to stop it from "bleeding".

It is on one of the branches which is about 10 or 12 inches long. This "bleeding" will not go away easily. should I leave it alone then?
What do you suggest? Should I cut the whole branch off?


    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 1:34PM
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