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Pinching Time!!!

Posted by herman2 6b south n.j. (My Page) on
Tue, May 26, 09 at 21:18

My figs are growing the fifth,sixth,and seventh,leaf now,depending upon cultivar.
I allready started Pinching,on the branches,that have a tip long enough to grasp,with my fingers and twist it off.
I do it mostly on some branches that grew longer,and out of shape for now,to make the tree grow the branches that are very short,so it will take a round form eventually.
Later I will pinch all branches that have more than six leaves each.
I described it so people interested will do the same.
I think Pinching improve production,but one has to be carefull,not to force the tree produce too many fruits and weacken itself to death by trying to grow them all.
In that case some fruits have to be also eliminated,if the fig is young especially.
I would say 4 fig per branche is enough for a ,third year fig.
Best Regard
H


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Pinching Time!!!

Thanks, Herman, for the reminder. I've pinched a few in an effort to shape the tree. Unfortunately, while we had lovely weather over the weekend, we are back to cloudy, cold and rain. Lets hope fig production weather improves.

Peg


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RE: Pinching Time!!!

Always nice to read your posts Herman as you have helped many on forum.
My tree's are behind yours in my climate and my head start this year by bringing them in and out of garage has not gone to well this year as weather like most area's of country was not to good.
But im hopeful and soon will do the pinching of limbs.
Best Health
Martin


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RE: Pinching Time!!!

This reminder gives me assurance that I am on the right track. I started on some variants 2 days ago plus those that exhibited lengthy growth than desired from last year. Thanks for the reminder.


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Herman
I remembered you today when I went around my fig plants to see if there was any with the sixth leave. There was none. Later on I went for a second round checking to see if there was any plant with the 5th leaf so that I can modify the Herman (Zone 6) pinching and pinch after the 5th leaf in my Zone 5. There was one so I pinched it and felt good. I was also tempted to pinch some at 4th leaf also just to ensure some early fig embryos but have not done it so far.


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LOL, Herman!!!!!
I guess I was not paying close enough attention when you explained what would happen after you pinch a fig.

I pinched several trees after their sixth leaf, expecting them to branch out below the new wood.

Imagine my surprise when I got only one or two sprouts below the new wood, but every new shoot is branching, the tips are sprouting a new tip and every leaf axil is sprouting a fig.

Mama Mia; They may be eight feet tall by September. Am I to cut them off short this fall or next spring to make them grow bushy and close to the pot?

What now, Coach Herman?
Ox


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RE: Pinching Time!!!

  • Posted by gorgi z6b NJ (My Page) on
    Thu, May 28, 09 at 21:30

>>> Pinching Time.
Ouch, Ouch, Ooouch!
Just kidding. Listen to him Herman...
A good reminder.


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Herman,
You are like Carslos Castanadas in the desert showing the path to grow figs. I pinched the tips of my potted fig tee
and I am checking it every day for figs. The poor little tree has ony produced one fig in five years.
Thank You for the advice!
Terry


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Thanks Terry:
Yes pinching is good for exactly situation like in your case.
If the tree is a good producer,there is no need to pinch anything.!!!
Vasile S


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I have pinched all of my fig tips. Last year the main crop was so late that most of my figs did not ripen. I'm hoping that pinching earlier will result in earlier production. Most are at the 4th to 6th leaf stage. In some cases, I pinched so that they were left with outward facing buds.

One of my trees got some pinching about 2 weeks ago. Those branches are already responding with new embryo figs and buds for new branches.


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I also did exactly as Eukofios did.
I also think the same way:Pinching earlier,at Forth,fifth , leaf make embrio,form earlier,and so earlier ripe fruits sghould be expected.
Of course the number of fruits also vary,and is less if pinched earlier.
Happy Gardening
H


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I did my pinching about the time herman posted this thread, and I can see the baby figs growing. YUM! This year I have gone from one variety (blue celeste) to about 10 varieties thanks to cuttings. I can't wait to see what some other figs taste like!


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I pinched three of the six branches. I'll pinch the last three this week when they are equal lenghs. But it has a lot of main crop figs developing now on those branches. How many is too many for a baby fig that I got this year from EL?? Two or three per branch?? It has one breba fig too.


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If you got six branches,leave 2 per branch,for a total of a dozen figs out of the young fig.
Anymore than 12,fruits is going to weaken your young tree,and next Spring it can turn dead to soil level,or even worse.
Hope this will help.
H


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I pinched all the branches but one. It is only about 2 1/2 inches long with four leaves. I started pinching the fruit, 2 per branch.

Is there a point at which it too later for the fruit to have time to develop & ripen and is it better for the plant to pinch off the fruit regardless? I'm just think about that short branch and keeping it fruitless this year. (My baby is a VdB in a pot.)


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Any fruits that appear on being after the first Main crop,fruit get ripe,I remove.
This is what I do in my climate.
Yours,you might do it ahead ,or later than I do.
The fruits on my early riping cultivars,are starting ripening,after 1 of August,Main crop I mean.
Those are the ones I am talking about.
H


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  • Posted by chills Zone 6b Mi (My Page) on
    Sat, Jun 20, 09 at 12:48

Almost all of my figs are growing well, but I have one, a Celeste I believe, that has just started growth within the past 3 days. (we have gotten thunderstorms almost daily).

Darn thing has wonderful green cambium, but showed no signs of growth (I actually have two without growth, but I've concluded the other is dead!). As of this morning the Celeste(?) is finally showing signs of life, its got 3 inch long fat shoots arising from numerous places on the trunk.

I don't see me pinching this one any time soon.

So far I have pinched: UCR 143-36 (my best grower) Golden Celeste and Mission. I watching a half-dozen others for their 6th leaf so they too can be pinched.

~Chills


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Hello Herman,

After reading your post several weeks ago, I pinched my fig three. I have noticed quite a few figs have sprouted. I have also noticed that anew tip has also formed. Should this new tip also be pinched. I live in Madison, WI, Region 5, and the summer is short here so I have to give it all the pushing I can!

Emilio


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I have two identical fig trees. I pinched one and left the other as is. Both have given me the same amount of figs. I will never pinch a gain unless to shape the tree. All you need is water and some fertilizing. Good luck


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Palestine - You may be living in a "warmer" climate than I am. I live in Madison WI. and have not been successful in getting figs from my tree. This year I did pinch and have noticed many figs. I am actually anticipating eating some! It may be coincidence, but I certainly think that it made a difference!

Emilio


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I noticed that pinching helped my fig plants in my opinion. I even started pinching at 5th and sometimes at 4th leaves.
I believe pinching may be helping in two ways. If a branch is let to continue extending and grow vegetative producing more leaves then it will somewhat delay the onset of embryos. Pinching stops the branch terminal extension and some energy goes toward generating buds and embryos on the existing branch. The second advantage, in my opinion, is that by reducing the number of fig fruits on a branch makes more nutrition available to fewer fruits for size growth toward ripening.
For my Zone 5 I started pinching at 6th but later decided to do it at 5th. If I do not see many fruit ripening (keeping in mind the kind of summer we are having), then I may start pinching at 5th (and even 4th) leaf unless someone with more knowledge let me know the downside of pinching too early.
What will I do with too many figs on the plant if they don't ripen before frost.
The story may be different for the fig enthusiasts in warmer locations with long summer. They may have many ripe figs whether they pinch or not.


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The last 2 poster,are very wise in my opinion.
They did see the light no doubt.
I would also pinpoint to Otawan,that pinching have a third benefit.
Once the growing tip is severed,the branch send the extra energy it fabricates to the roots resulting in a stronger plant in the Fall,that is better suited to take on the oncoming winter.
The only caution,i would signal,is not to let,on, more fruits than the tree can grow.
After pinching some cultivars do grow more fruits than they are capable of maturing,safelly,and so they can comitt suicide,by dyeing next winter.
That is when the grower,has to intervene and brake off some embryo.
In specially after 1st of August when the new Embryo,will never have time to get ripe.
It does seem that fig trees are dependent on Humans, and can't prosper,only if they are in a continuous relationshipp,with the gardener.
Happy Gardening
H2


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I think the lack of sun this year may mean disaster for my crop, my fruits aren't even the size of peas yet!

Anyone else have my problem, I still only have 4 leave on each branch, I have just begun to get figs. Should I pinch off the 5th bud and let the energy go into the fruits or should I let the 5 & 6th leaves develop?


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I planted Violette Du Bordeaux last year. No figs.

This year VDB, in a container started out with 3 figs, and I pinched a few branches. I saw 3 more figs develop. So, I pinched again. I now have 12 figs, and the tree has developed a lot of healthy green new shoots!

I'll be happy with my 12 figs, and stop pinching this year. Since they take 80 days to ripen, and we have heat through September, I think they should all ripen.

I plan to do some air-layering, however to see if I can root a few more VDB right on the tree!!

Suzi


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I've been pinching since April! I've got several different cultivars and that pinching made my Hunt almost jump out of its pot! We've had 90 degree plus temperatures over the last 2 months and it the first day of summer is tomorrow!

I have one LSU Purple, one LSU GOld, one Black Spanish, one Byadi, and one Atreano in huge 30 gallon tubs. I pinched these trees and now I have lots of figlets. I am having to water my trees daily. This Fall I plan on planting these trees in the ground. They are just growing too fast.

Yeap that pinching works and I thank Herman2 for teaching me how to do it. I know if I had not been pinching, I would not have figs from some of my cultivars. Hats off and many thanks to you Herman2, cheers, Dennis


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This has one of my favorite threads on this site, so I read it again today, and want to revive it since it is that time of year again. Thanks to Herman2 for being a fine teacher, and for all the other members who have shared.


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Bob:Yes go ahead pinch the forth or the fifth leaf,it is ok,in your climate.


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  • Posted by sffog 10/SanFran (My Page) on
    Thu, May 23, 13 at 22:13

thanks for the reminder, i forgot all about the pinching, i will pinch my trees in the morning.


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My tallest branches all got pinched today. Thank you :)


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I started pinching this week 4 and 5 leafs on my mature trees. Thanx for the reminder.


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Due to visible changes in climate ,here in the last 2 years I decided,I will pinch at fifth leaf instead of the sixth leaf,like the original,instructions on the New Zeeland site,about 10 years ago.


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Terrible weather here in NJ for the last few days, but tomorrow should be good enough to get some pinching done, thanks for the reminder!


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Is it too late to pinch leaves in my area?


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  • Posted by mrclint z10SoCal Valley (My Page) on
    Sun, May 26, 13 at 20:54

"I think Pinching improve production..."

I think classic pruning to let in light, remove crossed branches, and to maintain balance is best. And pruning after the main crop is harvested is a far better approach. I know of no publication or other document outside of some isolated forum posts that recommend this "pinching time" theory.

This post has been in play since 2009 and no one has questioned its validity. It only proves that we can still be successful with figs in spite of our best efforts, techniques and theories.


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Mrclint,

You must be new to growing plants? Pinching of figs is no different than pinching to promote growth in any other type plant. You pinch the apical bud and the plant responds by producing more branches. More branches equals more fruit.....does not matter if it is figs, blueberries or whatever. It is one of the oldest techniques known to horticulture.

"And pruning after the main crop is harvested is a far better approach"

Really? So you want to heavily prune the fig after the harvest but while it is still growing? Proper technique would be to prune when the fig is dormant not after the harvest is done.


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  • Posted by mrclint z10SoCal Valley (My Page) on
    Tue, May 28, 13 at 10:39

Here are some reliable and accountable sources with clear and easy to understand pruning recommendations for figs:
CRFG: Fig Fact Sheet
Four Winds Growers: Fig Tree Care

"Later I will pinch all branches that have more than six leaves each."
There just isn't any mention of this "pinching time" approach to improve production any where. Both links above recommend pruning as needed after the main crop.

"So you want to heavily prune the fig after the harvest but while it is still growing? Proper technique would be to prune when the fig is dormant not after the harvest is done."

No, on both counts. If you read the pruning recommendations in the links above, they do not recommend heavy pruning especially when dormant. Any heavy pruning would be on a tree running amok.


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MrClint,

Both of the links you posted are very basic care instructions. Neither go in to any detail what so ever on the finer points of pruning. I will make this very very simple to understand....if needed I can post pictures for you but goes like this.....

You have a limb....you pinch the apical bud out and the plant will respond by making we will say 3 branches....if you let those 3 branches each grow out 5-6 leaves and pinch again you then have each of them producing 3 more branches. Every one of those branches will produce figs. The more branches you have the more leaf mass you have the more fruit you will get.

It is no different than summer topping our blueberries here in Florida or pinching out the apical bud on blackberries or raspberries as I was doing this morning. Doing so makes the plant grow more mass laterally and that produces more fruit. It is a very simple concept to understand. A concept that has been practiced for 1000's of years. How you have never heard of this is beyond me....


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In the NE it is an easy, simple and effective way to get fruit in a short season. No need to bring hand tools into the field when your finger and thumb are effective.

Older trees don't seem to need it as much but some varieties act differently. Usually helps fruit production on trees that are 4 years or less in age. But even if a tree is older, pinching does produce an earlier crop. That is important for early October cold snaps that won't allow figs to ripen properly. Anything past October 1st is a 50/50 proposition on ripening.

It is not a hard and fast rule, but evidence suggests it will encourage main crop figs on a wide variety of figs.

I understand that widely respected publications and research facilities don't make mention of it, but it may be that they have not experimented because of no need to do such. If fruit ripens without human intervention, then there is no need to see those effects.

But having had to intervene as such, I have seen very positive marks for pinching. I can't argue with my field tests. Yes there has been fruit production with more open canopies and adequate air flow, but this isn't always the case. Pinching and removing of leaves helps as well. All depends on the circumstances.


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  • Posted by mrclint z10SoCal Valley (My Page) on
    Tue, May 28, 13 at 16:27

nypd5229, I appreciate your response as it is helpful for short season growers and has a friendly respectful tone. :)

Yes, the figs below the cut will ripen earlier, at the expense of more figs that could ripen as the season progresses and as the branch grows. I've seen this on branches that became unruly and I had to prune them back, such as encroaching on a walkway. But it does not improve production as the OP states. And pinching time is not sound general fig advice across the board.

Long season fig growers should just let them go until frost. For me, that can be as late as December in some years.


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Absence of evidence is proof of nothing. Why not just ask politely next time and people will try to help you, Mr. Clint.

"When one has many fig trees, a certain number must be chosen to carry main crop. Here’s how to proceed: all breba figs must be removed, when they will be as big as finger tips. All wounds must be cauterized with lime or powder plaster, so that sap does not spill out. The branch will get more elongated and the main crop figs will appear earlier; when there will be 6 or 8 figs on a branch, the terminal bud will be pinched; the figs will take benefit from this, will grow faster and will have enough time to ripen before the frosts”.

Source: "Le Bon Jardinier, Almanach pour l'année 1833", par A. Poiteau et Vilmorin.


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  • Posted by mrclint z10SoCal Valley (My Page) on
    Wed, May 29, 13 at 10:50

Hi hoosierbanana, evidence that something exists does not make it a best practice. This pinching time technique looks to be a short season strategy that some folks can utilize. I had moved on to be honest because it doesn't apply to me. But now that you've posted I have to ask, do you remove your brebas, pinch the tips of your branches and seal the wounds per your source? If so my hat's off to you, I don't know of too many folks that would follow advice from an 1833 French document.


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"I know of no publication or other document outside of some isolated forum posts that recommend this "pinching time" theory."

There are more references, but only one was needed to correct your statement.

It does improve the production of young trees, try it out if you have any.

Producing figs earlier is in fact a form of improvement in production. For a market grower it means more sales.


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  • Posted by mrclint z10SoCal Valley (My Page) on
    Wed, May 29, 13 at 20:42

You are right, the The Country Gentleman's Magazine ..., Volume 3 from 1875 also recommends pinching (as do some bloggers and message boards, etc). I hope that anyone on the fence will take a look at the CRFG Fact Sheet before they go 'a pinching'.

Yes, I have one young tree and the other two are pretty well established. The young tree is a panache, really a handsome little tree and it's growing well. All of my figs are in ground.

It bugs me to prune fig branches during the growing season unless I really have to. Doing so forces the down-stem figs to ripen earlier at the expense of producing more figs that would come later in the season. It gets blast-furnace hot out here in the summer, so ripening figs is not a problem.

Following directions from reliable and accountable sources doesn't automatically make someone a beginner, any more than doing goofy stuff for many years makes someone an expert. Figs are very forgiving, you can let them go and they'll do just fine in my neck of the woods.


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Thanks, MrClint,this material is very interesting and new to me.
As to the pinching procedure,this method is working for us outside ideal warm climate for fig trees,but for Gardeners like you in zone 10 is not really necessary to use pinching,only if you want.
The Summer is so long and warm in your place that pinching in order to ripe fruits faster is not needed,really.
Most literature ,about growing fig trees was written by people that live in ideal warm climates,and that is why they did not ,found it necessary to mention the pinching method.
Nowadays with the advent of the internet,more and more people grow this plant,in adverse climatic condition,from Korea, China, Sweden,and eastern Europe to Michigan,Ohio,and Pacific northwest.
Those places are in need to use ,methods of forcing the fig tree,otherwise no ripe fruits will be obtained.!
Best Regards


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