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What to Expect after Root Pruning

Posted by geoffs_ri 6 (My Page) on
Mon, Apr 15, 13 at 8:23

I'd appreciate advice-info-resources regarding root pruning questions. I've never done a substantial root prune, so forgive me if I'm asking basic questions.

Yesterday, I root pruned a potted fig that I believe to be Celeste. It's five or six seasons old and about five feet tall, grown from a cutting of an in-ground tree. Three years ago, I moved it up to a Home Depot-style, plastic, half whisky barrel with only minimal root pruning. I trimmed about 1/3 of the roots off. There were some roots circling around the root ball, mainly on the bottom, not too much up the sides. I trimmed the bottom four inches crosswise -- i.e., I cut a disk off the bottom. I also made vertical cuts top to bottom and took out wedges of root/soil, leaving a *-like (star) pattern if you looked down on the plant. Repotted to same pot with mix of potting mix, compost, barley hulls, a little course sand, lime, and extended release fertilizer beads (not too much). Questions...

1. What should I expect in the way of fruiting this season? I assume that there will be a decrease in the number and maybe quality of fruit...any thoughts on this?

2. Should I not let it carry as much fruit this year? Should I pick off immature fruits?

3. I usually pinch back the growing tip after about five or six leaves. Since this encourages additional growth elsewhere, should I avoid this? Or continue to pinch and then pinch off the newly forced growth?

4. Fertilizer: Should I fertilize as normal or give additional phosphorous?

5. Is it okay to air layer from this tree this season? Is it okay to go big on the air layer, like a main branch that carries about 1/5 to 1/4 of the leaves?

Thanks much,
Geoff in RI

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: What to Expect after Root Pruning

Forgot to mention...not yet leafed out, but there are fat, green buds waiting for warmer temps. Temps have been consistently above freezing one to two weeks, and the tree has been outside as much.

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