Herman...Pinching Fig Question

figtreeundrgrnd(6ANJ)June 5, 2006

Hi Herman, I read the previous post where you advised to pinch the leaves to encourage fruit.

I'm not clear on how to do this. I have a lot of new (green) branches and lots of leaves but not even the bud of a fig anywhere except my one nice sized breba.

Do I remove all leaves below the new branches? Count up 6 leaves on the new branch and pinch off the tip?

Could you spell it out for me, I'm kind of confused. Thanks.

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herman2_gw

Count up 6 leaves on the new branch and pinch off the tip!!!.That is the answer.

Also you people do not have to understand that if you do not pinch you are not going to have fruits.
In your case you will have fruits on new growth if you pinch or not,if you wait long enough..Pinching is done to limit the number of fruits per branch and to speed up the growing of fruits.
Pinching is usefull in short growing season like up north and other cold climates.
Pinching also makes the remaining fruits to grow larger and better tasting.
Pinching makes the tree mature a smaller calculated number of fruits in cold climates where otherwise,if left alone a lot of fruits(Very large numbers) will grow to normal green size but will not mature till the winter come.

Keep in mind i am not a college educated Horticultor.
All these opinion are mine and i got them from experience ,and i practiced them and they work.
I was introduced to Pinching a few years ago be a site from New Zeeland Called:"The incredible edible fig ".If you gogle it you will find more information about it.Regards

    Bookmark   June 5, 2006 at 7:34PM
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figtreeundrgrnd(6ANJ)

Thank you. I could not understand the concept/reason. I have often found that experience beats book smarts. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2006 at 7:40PM
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herman2_gw

You Welcome

    Bookmark   June 5, 2006 at 7:55PM
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allrawpaul(z8 seattle)

When you say pinch the end bud off the new branch, do you mean that only the tips of new branches are to be pinched and not the older branches or the top? Thnaks!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2006 at 12:34PM
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herman2_gw

You pinch the Tip of the old branches or the top if you want to make the tree grow side branches,and you pinch the new growth branches if you want to induce earlier fruitting.
Hope This will make you figure it out.If not just Google the site i am indicating above.Regards

    Bookmark   June 12, 2006 at 9:30PM
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eukofios

This is the site. It's great! It has an illustration which is helpful. It's where I learned how to prune figs.

The one thing that i would add is that i pinch so that the last node faces outward, to encourage outward branching. If that means pruning at the 4th, 5th, 6th, or 7th leaf, I think it's OK. If the node doesn't point perfectly outward, that's also OK (in fact, I havent heard that anyone else worries about node orientation). I just try to get most in the right general direction and right # of buds.

By pinching at about the 5th or 6th node, the tree size is also limited, so it's easy to reach the figs and the tree doesnt take over the yard. If it's a containerized tree, it's easier to move into the garage for the winter. The total # of branches for the tree increases, relative to height (because pinching encourages branching), so maybe the # of figs is eventually more in the long run, too. This method might also leave more branches for next year's breba crop.

Most importantly, it gives the gardener something to do while he or she is out staring at the fig trees, so the neighbors dont think he or she needs to be institutionalized - important in this era of rising health care costs. (This is also a rationale for pruning tomato plants, but that is a different forum).

Some people never prune and still get fruit. Other people prone WAY back and get fruit. I appreciated Herman's comments about pinching to get earlier / better fruit by limiting number, and improving yield in short growing seasons. Important in Seattle, I'm sure. That may be why I had figs for the 1st time last year.

I think this is probably a very good method, but you probably wont hurt the tree if it doesnt perfectly follow the textbook (and there doesnt seem to be a textbook).

Hope that helps.

Here is a link that might be useful: Incredible edible figs

    Bookmark   June 12, 2006 at 10:11PM
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allrawpaul(z8 seattle)

Thanks Herman for the clarification! I think I've got it now. Thanks for the info and the link Eukofios! My tree is at 4 leaves per new branch right now so I am gonna wait a little on the new branches. I will difinately pinch the top now and the older branches in about a week. Cant wait to see the baby figs forming! Thanks again, Paul.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2006 at 4:21PM
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fortisi876(Z6NJ)

I think I need to pinch something cuz this fig bush of mine is getting too tall!

Can someone just, please, define PINCHING?
Are we cutting the end off with pruning shears or actually pinching the tip with pliers or something?

I looked at the linked site and Im still confused about 'pinching'.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2006 at 11:23AM
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eukofios

Cutting the tip off. I usually use a kitchen shears. A true traditional gardener will use the thumbnail. All that you are doing is removing the small shoot at the end. It works - most of my pinched shoots are starting to form fruits.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2006 at 11:40PM
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etneo0

Dear Herman,

If you pinch after 6 leaves, will the plant not try to make new shoots below the cutting ? Where will the following brebas be produced, in the cut branch or in the possibly generated new shoots ?

Thanks for your valuable information

Etneo

    Bookmark   June 27, 2006 at 8:53AM
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herman2_gw

Dear etneo0:You are
right:You will get two new shoots right there at the cuttings wich will be the new branches for next year breba.
In my case i have to pinch those new branches too after the sixth leaf because the tree is too vigurous and i try to slow it down.I am just experimenting to find the best solution.Regards

    Bookmark   June 27, 2006 at 12:24PM
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fortisi876(Z6NJ)

After pinching, is it normal that it bleeds?
(Can you tell how new I am to this? :D)

    Bookmark   June 27, 2006 at 12:30PM
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herman2_gw

Yes it bleeds,no problem!!!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2006 at 12:41PM
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ponnie1996

can I pinch now? live in the northeast - tree full of small fruit

    Bookmark   June 27, 2006 at 6:18PM
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herman2_gw

Yes you can!!!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2006 at 9:04PM
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ponnie1996

Herman, tahnks for the resposne. i nervously "pinched" several of the branches with medium sized fruit. I tried to count 6 leaves upwards and then "pinch". I am playing it safe and leaving some of the others alone - for now. is that ok, can you pinch in intervals? how long do you speculate until the figs ripen? Again I'm in Fairfield county, CT in teh northeast

    Bookmark   June 28, 2006 at 4:26PM
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herman2_gw

Well it takes 70 days of sommer time from when you notice the figs till ripe.If you think you do not have 70 days left ,pinch all branches and hope for the best.
If you think you have much more than 70 days of hot sommer then live half unpinched because you got time.
Any way in our climate you can not leave more than four figs on a young new branch .If you do you run the chance to have figs that do not ripen till cold come. So it is all up to you now.!!!!Regards

    Bookmark   June 28, 2006 at 8:04PM
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pitangadiego(San Diego, CA)

Herman,

I am looking at my fig trees, which I do not pinch, and almost without exception the first 4-5 leaf nodes do not have figs, The figs start at the 5th or 6th node, and there might be anywhere from 3-10 figs in most cases. If I had pinched back to 6 leaves I would have only 1 or 2 figs, or there would have to be figs at nodes which do not currently have them.

Did I miss something?

    Bookmark   July 1, 2006 at 11:21PM
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herman2_gw

Well Jon-Good question and i believe you about not having any embrio on the first four or five leafes.
the figs in my Climate behave exactly as in New Zeeland as that fig site describe,in that they start producing after first or second leafe and i believe because of the ample rain quantity in these climates.
Now it is my opinion that in your Climate wich have very little rain,the fig has to gather some streng and amunition before starting producing figs.
Wich is not a problem because the sommer is long in San Diego so it got plenty of time to start having leafes and later fruits.
In my climate also the fig might be in a hurry because the season is short,but what ever it is it does start puting out fruits after the second leaf,and some of them even sooner.
For Example the most productive young trees in my back yard:Sal's Fig (Thankyou,Jon and Leon)The maryland Celeste,and Ta Cenc that i received in trade from,George in New Jersey(Thank you George)and Also Pastilliere from UCDAVIS,have 70 percent fruits starting with the first leaf and 30 percent starting second leaf.
Pastilliere from UCDAVIS is not much of it but it got two little brunches 10 leafes and 10 fruits about 15 grams each,as we speak.Hope this will help.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2006 at 11:49PM
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goodground(z6 NJ)

Herman,

When does your fig growing season end? Around what date do the figs stop ripening for you?

What are the benefits if you don't pinch now and allow the branches to keep growing?

    Bookmark   July 5, 2006 at 12:30PM
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herman2_gw

The fig stop ripening when First freezing ocure after 1st. of November usually.
If you do not pinch now or earlier you have the benefit of having a large Ornamental fig with a lot of fruits but only a few will ripe till end of season,if seazon long enough,if not, you do not get ripe fruits at all.Hope this will Help.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2006 at 1:24PM
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larry_ny_z6

Okay, I pinched off the tips. Now, new side branches are growing from the top leaf nodes. Do I pinch these off also or just let them grow?

    Bookmark   July 7, 2006 at 9:09AM
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herman2_gw

It Is up to you how large you want your tree .I want mine compact so i pinch after the sixth leafe again.,and again and again,till fall come and leaf drop.
But it depends on how willing you are to do the work ,and how large you want your tree.Hope this will help.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2006 at 10:58AM
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pepee(UK)

Hello from the UK. My Brown Derby fig has done well with about 15 nice ripe ones this year. It is in a large pot and is about 5' high with about 6 branches. I want to prune it but not sure where to cut. Each branch only has leaves and fruit at the end so if I cut it I will lose the growing tips. Any help appreciated. Have read all your tips but they don't seem to cover my problem.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2006 at 2:44PM
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herman2_gw

Dear pepee: am sorry i did not point that tip pinching is done only till August and no later.If you want to prune your fig ,is best done in Spring.If you want to reduce the size of your fig just because you want it smaller then in the Spring you cut every branch where it forks and leave stubs wich every should have at least one live bud.That is How you can reduce the size of a large tree.You can also do this after leaf fall in Autumn.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2006 at 7:19PM
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alfred

I think this is a good time of the year to bump this thread up...Quoting Herman, "I hope this will help."

Thanx, Herman, for this great info!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 2:28PM
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ponnie1996

are we supposed to pinch inground figs or only container grown figs.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 5:03PM
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herman2_gw

Ha!!! Back to this tread.By all means pinch all of them,you can't do any bad by pinching.
I allready done all my 6 figs that got more than six leaves growth.
Peace

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 9:54PM
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chills71(Zone 6b Mi)

My new brown turkey is exactly 6 inches tall and has 9 leaves, all within the top 1 - 1 1/4 inches. It is putting on a leaf (or two) each week, but hasn't added any height. Its in an east facing greenhouse at work (plenty of sun and warmth). I am tempted to pinch, but I worry I might not get anymore height if I do so (and it certainly has got to get taller....)

~Chills

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 6:17AM
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herman2_gw

Well Chillis:Do not pinch.
Your tree is still a rooted cutting with more or les roots.
This metod only apply to well established trees,In second year of life or older.
Yours is not established yet.
I had trees acting like yours and at the end some died and some lived.
What we do not want is to have a reason to blame the pinching why it died.Peace

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 9:44AM
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chills71(Zone 6b Mi)

I'm glad to hear that. Its up to 11 leaves and is still just 6 inches tall.

lol

~Chills

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 6:10PM
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figtreeundrgrnd(6ANJ)

Hi. Glad to see this post resurrected...Herman, its testimony to your great advice.
Here's a picture of my four year old fig. I had to trim almost every branch due to die back (even though I wrapped it really well). All have new branches growing from the cut area and there's about 30 breba on the old wood. The most on one branch is four, the others have one or two and they're as hard as a rock.
I don't see any evidence of a main crop...is it too early?

I'm counting 5 leaves up on the new growth and pinching. Will doing this speed up the main crop?
Thanks. J

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 4:01PM
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herman2_gw

Very Nice tree J.
If you do not see main crop figs yet,it is because your fig is still very young.
I have main crop only on four years or older trees.
They are the size of a kernell corn seed now.
The younger trees form the main crop later ,after 15 of June in my climate.
The same fig will get main crop earlier,every year till 5 years old.Usually that when it gets it in the right time according to cultivar.
But still some cultivars get earlier main crops than other any way.
Pinching after fifth leaf will surelly make the main crop grow faster and mature earlier.By all means do it on your tree,as it has enough branches to get a lot of fig if pinched after the fifth leafe.Peace

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 7:50PM
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figtreeundrgrnd(6ANJ)

Thanks Herman. I'll be pinching the rest tomorrow. This is the same 'fig stick' I buried 4 yrs ago. All of your great advice has helped me raise this baby.
I also have one in a pot.

This one is in its second year. I added lime when I brought it outside...is there anything I need to do to this one?

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 10:15PM
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herman2_gw

No. It looks very healty.Just,make sure it got good drainage holes,more holes than the plastic pot come originally with.Peace

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 8:22AM
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dahle101(3/4)

This is so intresting I just started a tree in a pot do you incourage new branchs by pinching the top the first yr planted or wait a yr?

    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 2:10PM
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herman2_gw

Wait an year!!!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 5:04PM
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rich204(6PA)

Herman,

so on every branch, just count from the inside of the branch up to the tip, 6 leaves and pinch or cut only the tip off?..........and just keep doing this on new growth?.

richard

    Bookmark   November 3, 2007 at 7:23PM
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herman2_gw

Yes.
And,Pinching by hand is safer than using a cutting device so you do not spread deasese to new branches.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2007 at 11:28AM
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alsfigs

I know that this is too early to bump this up already. But a recipient of one of my figs says that she cannot open the link that I sent her.

The above link to the New Zealand site doesnÂt work anymore.

For newbies: This technique is for figs in climates that do not always ripen their figs before the cold weather sets in. Apparently it increases yield too, but IÂm not sure of that. As I said, itÂs too early for most people to start using this technique because figs in colder climates are just starting to grow this season. Unless your fig is already well established, do not start pinching at the first set of six leaves.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2008 at 10:21AM
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mrhappy(z8 - Austin, TX)

Here is the new link
Look around and see what you like.

Here is a link that might be useful: Incredible Edibles

    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 9:18PM
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alfred

Thank you, MrHappy, for the link. However, that is the general-info fig page that used to have a link to their fig-pruning page; that fig-pruning link is not there anymore. Here is a quote from that missing page, minus the illustrations:

"Summer tip pruning
This is possibly one of the most fundamental aspects of fig management as it directly alters the size and shape of the plant's development as well as the fruiting habit and quality of fruit produced.
This technique involves the removal of the growing tip when 5 or 6 leaves have developed (about mid December). This interrupts vegetative growth which diverts the plants energy into fruit development until the vegetative growth resumes. This results in earlier maturing fruit of a higher quality. Fruit shape may change slightly. Some experimentation in individual climates will help to find the limits of the summer prune timing but it must allow enough regrowth to develop and form buds for the following season's early figs since this method maximizes double cropping.
Overseas literature may sometimes recommend summer pruning as the breba figs are harvested, but in the NZ climate the mid December recommendation will fit best, especially where the autumn temperatures may drop off sooner with colder nights, effectively shortening the growing season.
This method will on average reduce the overall growth for the season by about 1/3.
The illustration below shows the summer growth tipped at the 6th leaf, and below it is the resulting summer-autumn growth with 3 tips which will potentially produce breba figs the following summer."

DonÂt forget that NZÂs December is the equivalent of June in the northern hemisphere.

Since it takes a couple of months of warm weather to ripen newly formed figs, I would think that itÂs already time to stop pinching for fruiting in my climate; however, I continue pinching for the purpose of controlling size and shape. For this purpose I pinch at 8 to twelve leaves instead. Removing those small terminals is the least damaging form of pruning.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 2:14PM
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mrhappy(z8 - Austin, TX)

Alfred,
You are right. They pinching part was removed. I scrounged around and found a link that may fit the bill.
Richard

Here is a link that might be useful: Royal Horticultural Society - Gardening Advice: Fig Pruning & Renovation

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 10:23PM
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dieseler

Thanks for the good reading mrhappy.
Martin

    Bookmark   July 25, 2008 at 8:30AM
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svanessa(9/SoCal)

Using the Wayback Machine (archives.org) I found the original page on pruning figs minus the images. Hope this helps.
Sue

Here is a link that might be useful: Incredible edible fig archive

    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 12:11PM
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sandsquid(7a)

On Friday morning, I was looking at my Jack's Quarter Pounder, grown from a dormant hardwood cutting I received form Jack back in Feb-Mar.

It had lots of good healthy leaves and has been growing up and up like a rocket but no side shoots.
I pinched the tip and it spurted out the milky sap for a few minutes like a stuck pig, and then stopped.

When we got home from our road-trip on Sunday morning there were side-shoots all over the place, some over 6" long!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 2:03PM
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ottawan_z5a

Thanks Sue for your search and posting. It helps.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 4:18PM
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oxankle(6/7)

Herman, you are a doggone national treasure. Going out there right now and pinch back my new Joe Morle Paradiso. It is almost six feet high, has only three branches and is loaded all up and down the branches. I want RIPE figs.

I pinched a James Robin Kadota whip that was not branching. Got an offshoot branch at the pinch site and a cluster of figs right under the pinch.
Ox

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 12:48PM
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herman2_gw

Oo Thanks Ox.
Do not let it go any higher than 6 foot for this year.
Pinch it again and again,to stop it from growing and put all energy in riping the fruits.
Happy Gardening.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 1:10PM
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viza

I have a 3 year old white fig tree that was in a pot untill this year when i planted it. It was in trunk form and now grew huge shoots from the bottom and did not bear any fruit. should I let it grow in shrub form now? what pruning shoud I do to get it bearing fruit again, I need help

    Bookmark   November 11, 2008 at 4:24PM
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herman2_gw

Well Viza:you can shorten it now if you need to cover it for the winter.
Yet do not cut any trunk at the soil level Now.
Only in the Spring you thin it to 3 trunks only ,That will Help it fruit.
BR

    Bookmark   November 11, 2008 at 4:32PM
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ottawan_z5a

The technique described by Herman is now located at the following site. Make note that the timelines mentioned are for Southren hemisphere (incl Newzealand & Australia etc) so add 6 months to the schedule for Northern hemisphere (i.e. they start pinching in December and we start pinching around June (+/-):
http://www.tharfield.co.nz/varieties/figgrowing.htm

    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 2:59AM
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hubbaj

I have a Texas Everbearing that I planted 7 years ago. It is about 20 feet tall. I had to cut off several low limbs after hurricane Ike. I'm not sure it survived the storm as the tree currently has no leaves on it. Is it okay to cut off the tallest shoot at this point or should I wait until spring?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2009 at 8:35AM
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herman2_gw

hubbaj:No Storm will kill a fig tree.So this is the good news.
Maby a very hard frost,,rarelly can do.
Do not cut any trunks at the soil level now.
You can shorten the tree,let's say to 10 foot now,if you want,and if it loolks very ugly now.
As for making the shape you want ,do it in May not now.
Best Regards

    Bookmark   March 1, 2009 at 2:59PM
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campzama(z7 NY)

Herman my question pertains to your answer to Hubbaj where you advised him to shorten his tree from 20 feet to 10 feet now but wait until May before shaping the tree. If he were to do that I'm guessing he will not have any figs this year as it will leave him with long stumps and no branches. Am I correct?

I have a similiar situation in that my fig BUSH is about 10 feet tall. I could just reach the top figs standing on a ladder last year so I don't want it to get any taller. Being a beginner, I didn't know a fig bush would grow that tall. After reading all your posts, I plan to pinch back new growth this year to maintain its current height and then in late June cut back approximately 1/3 of the thickest stumps to ground level (2 inches) to encourage new shoots. I hope to maintain the new shoots at about 6 to 8 feet and in several years after again cutting back 1/3 of the thickest stumps I hope to have a 6 to 8 foot bush. Does that make sense? I'm just afraid of winding up with no figs for for several years. Thanks for you reply and obvious patience in dealing with beginners like me.

Incidentally, I got a ton of figs last year! I and all the neighbors were very happy.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 2:59PM
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recoil_rob(6)

Herman,

I live in southern NY, I've had 3 trees in containers for about 10 years now and I have never gotten good harvests because I didn't know about pinching. Every year I would have 20-30 figs left on each tree that never ripened in the fall. This year I will start to pinch back after the 6 leaf and see if I can do better.
Here are some photos of my trees currently tied up and in the garage.

They are still dormant, is it too late to prune the branches back? Should I even prune them back? I have many smaller branches as you can see, some only 10-12" long, should these be pruned to let the bigger branches do better?

I would appreciate any help.

Thanks, Rob

[IMG]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v323/hvpcno1/P3300005.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v323/hvpcno1/P3300007.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v323/hvpcno1/P3300006.jpg[/IMG]

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 10:34PM
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recoil_rob(6)

Sorry, I read that this forum used HTML for pics but apparently not.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 10:36PM
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dieseler

recoil rob,
dont give up yet on your pictures,the forum does use the HTML code for pictures.
You copied the image code from photo bucket which is the last of the four under your picture, the html code is right above it or its the third one down below your picture try it again on forum but hit preview button instead of post button to make sure once you copy and paste it here.
Best Luck
Martin

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 11:40PM
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gorgi(z7a_NJ)

Rob's pics:

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 2:26AM
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herman2_gw

This answer is for the 2 gentelman from New York.
The first poster.
If the tree is cut from 20 foot to 10 foot,it might look ugly now,but in June it will grow young lateral branches at every knott,that will be producing branches,full of fruits.
Thre are dormant buds down the stock waiting for years for a chance to grow ,so now will be the chance.
The guy with the 3 figs in pots.
You can use the pinching method and prune ,as much,as you want,with success,and have a lot of fruits this year if your fig is a main crop fig.
If it is Desert King,or other breba type fig,then this method do not work very well.
Antonio Espo,on this forum perfected a method for keeping Desert king productive.
Best Regards

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 8:11PM
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recoil_rob(6)

To all,
gorgi, thanks for posting my pics, I'm used to the IMG method and screwed up. Good of you to correct it for me.

Herman, thanks for your response. I'm not sure what kind of figs I have, they were given to me years ago. I know that one plant gives dark brownish purple figs with a purple interior (Turkish) and the other two give green figs with a yellow interior.

So, it's not too late to prune the branches back now, in spring?

    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 4:28PM
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recoil_rob(6)

Here are some more photos of my plants, the garage jungle. Buds are beginning to form at the tips of my branches so would it be counter-productive to prune now?

Thanks, Rob

    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 5:01PM
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herman2_gw

Rob:If you do not know if this is a breba ,fig or a main crop fig,or both,then:
Pinch off the sharp buds at the ends of the branches only.
That will make your tree more productive and more compact,as it should be when in container.
You have 2 kinds of buds,round and sharp,angled.
The round buds are breba fruits,and the sharp buds are the new end growing tips.
Best Regards

    Bookmark   April 3, 2009 at 8:51PM
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garden98011

This looks like the perfect place to find an answer to end or confirm my fear. I agressively pruned my 7 year old fig tree last fall, unfortunately, I have no idea the variety. It was about 7 x 7' and produced tasty green fruit. The branches were so long and leggy that I just whacked it back close to the trunk....I am now concerned I was too brutal and it will not revive. It's still early in the PNW, but most other deciduous trees & shrubs are showing signs of new growth-just not my fig. Should I start looking for a replacement? Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 11:04AM
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yjfu

I am a beginner and still confused after reading many threads of this forum. Attached link (http://www.flickr.com/photos/14966915@N06/3426181112/) is my fig tree picture. It was not pruned from the last season. Most branches are long and have

    Bookmark   April 9, 2009 at 3:49AM
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herman2_gw

Garden 98...You could cut some fruits buds out,if it is Desert King(breba fig)but that is all damage you can do.
Yifu:I did not see the picture but I assumed your fig is unpruned for a long time and now it only makes leaves at the end tips,while the rest of the branch is bare and void of leaves.
If it is like that you are too late for pruning this year.
You suppose to prune it before the growth of the leaves.
Next Year prune it the shape you want,in winter, and then when new branches grow,then you pinch the tip off after sixth leaf.
VS

    Bookmark   April 9, 2009 at 9:40PM
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oxankle(6/7)

Herman;

My little last-year's fig trees are coming on with a top knot and little or nothing below.

Would I be wrong to pinch out the terminal buds this early to make them branch out in a bushy shape?
Ox

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 9:19PM
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herman2_gw

Oxancle:Live them alone for about 3 years.
You are wrong lf you pinch a very young fig.
You will weaken it.
H

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 11:17PM
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oxankle(6/7)

Thanks, Herman;
Glad I waited for the answer!
Ox

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 11:42PM
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radovan

oxankle, never leave a fig tree for 3 years unpinched if you want your fig tree to branch out in a bushi shape, particularly containerized trees.

even one season could be to long for some trees, you could grow a single fig stick 8 feet tall without a single side branch and that would be a disaster for you if you grow your figs in containers. do it early.
i rooted my cuttings before Christmas and they are 23 inches high, tip is pinched, got 3 new side branches and started tiny fig formation already.
that's my practice and my experience for growing figs in containers.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 5:05PM
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herman2_gw

Good Point Radovan:I was assuming his trees are inground.
In container,yes you can pinch any time,but it will still weaken the tree by producing too many fruits at a too younger of an age,if all the fruits are left on.
Yet,yes it can be done,but I do not pinch very young trees anymore for the above reason.
Hope this will help
H

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 9:31PM
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steve_nj8(6a NJ)

Herman,
So you would recommend leaving a young tree to grow without pinching or pruning for the first season or two? Even if it is not branching much by itself?

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 10:22PM
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oxankle(6/7)

Radovan, Herman: Thanks to you both. I apologize for not making my question clear.

My in-ground trees were cut back in the fall both for cuttings and to get them under cover. Of four, two seem to be coming out from the roots, one was sprouting and got nipped by the late freeze, but it is pushing new buds now from its branches AND its base. Too early to tell about the fourth, but I am betting it too will come out.

The trees I want to nip are those still in pots from last year. Some got frosted and lost their terminal buds so are coming out along the stem. Others are three feet tall with only a top knot. Those I want to bush out along the main trunk. I will nip them a little later in the season and not allow them to carry more than a handful of fruit.

I thought I had lost my two Kathleen's Black, but both are coming out from buds low down on the stem.

Unless I get medical attention I will have to hire a freight car to carry my figs to shelter this fall. This stuff is addictive. I am actually out looking for warm spots here in which to plant figs. '
Ox

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 10:57PM
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davidc99

Thanks Herman! And the rest of you for your contributions....

I just bought a home in Atlanta, GA and it came with two 15 footers , variety TBD, very leggy, and need some attention...I have 6 very large figs on one and about a dozen of small figs on the other..... we are going out this weekend to do some pruning per all your recommendations.

My folks have two 40'w x 20'h granddaddys in Macon GA that we pull approx 50 lbs of fruit each July...and that is just one day of picking! I'll try to get a photo uploaded for you all...they are amazing!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2009 at 10:16AM
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recoil_rob(6)

I am still a bit confused about where to pinch. I have read this through several times and also looked at the Tharfield diagram but still have questions.

My 3 trees are container figs in NY. This spring when I took them out they had both sharp (leaf) and round (fruit) buds. I know that it is the leaf buds that are to be pinched after the 6th leaf appears.

My trees are gangly, the stems are average 4 feet long and are mostly woody with the last 6 inches being green. I am beginning to think they should be severely pruned back come winter but for now I'll stick to pinching and fruit questions.

Here are pics of my plants.

Am I supposed to count 6 leaves on the entire stem and pinch or 6 leaves on each green growth and pinch?

Here are some pics with specific questions, I am sorry but I am not sure of the varieties, just the color of the fruits.

For example, picture 4 shows a lot of stems coming off the main stem, each with a group of 4-5 leaves at the end, some with a fruit bud just below. These are brown figs, probably Turkish but I'm not sure, the flesh is purple. Am I supposed to pinch each grouping back to 6 leaves or are there only supposed to be 6 leaves on the entire stem?

Picture 5 shows a plant that bears green fruits, here is a grouping of leaf bundles. Should the entire stem be pinched back to just 6 leaves or should each grouping get 6 leaves?

Here's picture 6, it shows a dead woody stem that is left over from pruning a few years back. I thought when I pruned it it would branch out on the sides but it just died. Should I trim it back now or wait? How can I prevent killing the entire stem when pruning and get it to grow side shoots?

Thanks to all...

Rob in NY

    Bookmark   May 16, 2009 at 12:33PM
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recoil_rob(6)

ttt, could use the help.

thanks, rob

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 11:47PM
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steve_nj8(6a NJ)

Herman is the expert on this topic but I believe he would agree that you should pinch after 6 leaves on each shoot. You should also make sure you thin out the shoots to make sure that the buds get enough sun. Your trees seem fairly mature so I would cut back hard in the fall on half of the branches this year and half next year.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 4:42AM
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recoil_rob(6)

Thanks Steve, what constitutes "cutting back hard"?

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 5:19PM
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steve_nj8(6a NJ)

Rob,

When I say cutting "hard" i meant cutting back far or deep. So, I would cut those branches back to within 2-3 nodes of the main stem.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2009 at 5:24AM
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herman2_gw

Hi Guys:Steve you explained it perfectly.
Personally I am not answering anymore on this thread because it is too large and download very late on my dial up.
H

    Bookmark   May 29, 2009 at 12:55PM
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jolj(7b/8a)

After three years of commits, the 6 leaf pruning technique is still going strong.
Good job, herman2.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2011 at 1:43PM
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CajunTex

this spring I planting a 4 foot black mission twig that was rooted and only had a single limb. the base is only about 1" in diameter. It has grown up to about 6' now and has leafed out nicely. Problem it is it now end of August I have have not seen any fruit. the main branch below the first limb has many nodules but no growth. How do I prune this back to stimulate lower limb growth so that it bushes out and produces in the spring? If I cut off the upper part of the main trunk, can I replant the portion that I cut off? I have included a picture. I should also add I am in the Ft. Worth, TX area zone 7b I believe. Not sure when or how to prune.

This post was edited by CajunTex on Sat, Aug 24, 13 at 16:07

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 3:25PM
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herman2_gw

Cajun:Too late to pinch or trim down your tree.
If you do the new growth will all die next Winter.
What you can do,next Spring is cut the upper stem and start a couple of new tree with the cuttings.
Or:Reaserch ,Layer procedure,and create a layer on the existent upper stem.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 12:28AM
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CajunTex

how far up should I cut it? Just above the 3rd small branch about 1/2 way up?

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 1:52PM
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herman2_gw

Yes,Perfect,good idea,a good place to cut or make a layer.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2013 at 11:31PM
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jerryang(5b)

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" talk...is this correct or am I missing something?

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 5:01PM
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