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Dr Tapla, Would Pinching Leaves & Small Figs Help In Ripening

Posted by paully22 (My Page) on
Fri, Apr 9, 10 at 23:24

Hello Dr Tapla And Fig Friends,

I am intrigue as to whether by picking leaves & little figs off the main crop in Sept would in any way contribute some measure of success in helping the figs to ripen earlier. It seems logical that picking the leaves off to allow more sun light would help but last year my fig tree(even fully laden) never seem to benefit from it. Any comments most welcome. Goal is to have more ripe figs apart from using the greenhouse or oiling. Thanks.


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RE: Dr Tapla, Would Pinching Leaves & Small Figs Help In Ripening

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Sat, Apr 10, 10 at 11:06

Hi, Paully. Fig inflorescences (fruit) are powerful energy sinks, so the plant directs current photosynthate (energy it's making today) as well as stored energy to fruit. Eliminating foliage would eliminate current photosynthate manufacture almost entirely, so you would almost be switching the tree over entirely to battery power (stored energy). This would be a decidedly bad decision from the perspective of energy management. In addition, the plant begins to change how it directs it's energy and stores a good portion of photosynthate produced after about Father's Day in preparation for the winters rest AND the spring push, so you can see that removing the trees photosynthesizing machinery (defoliating) and forcing the tree to call on its energy reserves just before it starts shutting down for the winter would leave the tree weakened and less robust in the spring.

Removing developing fruit, however, frees up energy that the tree can direct to larger fruit. It also ensures that energy won't be wasted on fruits that you can't expect to ripen before cold sets in. The practice might help a little in ripening the more mature portion of the fruit crop, but since ripening depends primarily on photoperiod (day length - more specifically, the length of the dark period) and temperature, you shouldn't expect the influence it has to be too dramatic. It should help ensure the plant goes into winter at a higher energy level, so there is no reason to think the practice wouldn't have a somewhat positive impact on next years growth and fruiting, too.


RE: Dr Tapla, Would Pinching Leaves & Small Figs Help In Ripening

Puts to rest some of these issues on getting main crop to ripen in short seasons. Thanks Al.


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