Pruning a Fig tree

Duluth, GA(Zone 7b)

Hi everyone!!!

New to this but very enthusiastic about getting into gardening.
My question is How and when to prune a frig tree?
It was planted about 5 year ago and about 7 to 8 Ft from a baby (dwarf) Magnolia; now the fig tree is growing like crazy and overtaking the magnolia. Or should I move the magnolia tree?? (about 10 Ft tall)
I'll attach a picture for you to see what I'm dealing with. You can see the fig tree and to the left of it you can barely see the magnolia overtaken by the fig tree.

I figure you'll need to know I live in Ga.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Willy.

This message was edited Aug 31, 2009 9:59 AM

Thumbnail by sevseasail
Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

I think the fig will take a sharp prune much better as compared to how the magnolia will fare with the move.

Or you could (here come the 'oh no's!!) trim up the bottom of the magnolia. I just had to do so and it took me a loooong time time get the courage to do that to the magnolia.. But it actually looks good! My husband allergic to bees.. the magnolia was blooming all the way to the ground level ...the bees were in heaven but my husband hated to walk past (most often used entrance into the house.) So rather than pull it out ---I trimmed it way up. It looks like a 'regular' tree with a long trunk (about 25 foot high so has a great top!)

Anyway, I'd tackle the fig before I messed with pulling out the magnolia.

Duluth, GA(Zone 7b)

Thank you for your response!!!

Now, remember that we are in the beginner's forum. What's a sharp prune?? Where do I cut and how much?? What time of the year??

I agree with messing with the magnolia. Besides I do not know if this species will ever get to 25 Ft high.

Thank you again!!!!

Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

I meant like a close your eyes and really give it as much of a prune as you need.

Figs take a good beating and still do well.

I actually think they can go to the ground --- of course the bigger the shrub the more figs.. Mine grew about three feet in all directions this summer (first year in from a small plant) (and that small plant was pitiful when I got it) and it even had about 12 figs on it this first season --that the deer helped themselves to.
Maybe you can just get the fig pruned away from the magnolia on the one side and leave the other side of the fig alone.

I think that magnolia will take over as some point - they get pretty big - even the smaller varieties and their root system spreads.

I think you can root your fig and get another started somewhere else and so when and if the magnolia compromises it...you will have another better sited. You can grow in a pot for a long time too.

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

These may be of use to you..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RK3QqGNst2c

http://www.wonderhowto.com/how-to-pruning-fig-trees/

Duluth, GA(Zone 7b)

Thank you guys!!! That's all very helpful to me.

It's amazing how this trees grow!!! We already had hundreds of figs from it and there's hundreds more coming; they'll be ready in a couple more weeks. And I think then it will be done for the season, right? Will it be ok to prune then?

I have no problem with deer here but the birds are almost always one step ahead of me....

About making a second tree; my neighbor told me how to do that and I already started one, I should do a couple in case I mess it up.

Thank you!
Willy.

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

Willy, figs are very easy to start. My father in law had a friend that cut one down to the ground because it was shading his tomatoes. He used the large trunks to put a fence around his tomato patch....the next spring everyone of the trunks sprouted....so much for fig fence posts. Good luck with your tree.

Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

Moon-
Exactly my experience --- figs are like the type of gal I wanted my son to find.. not fussy, no diva, not high maintenance and a great producer!!

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

LOL Missingrosie....I hear you loud and clear....can't ask for much better than that....grin

Delhi, LA

When Dad's figs got to big, he'd out with the chain saw and cut it off at the ground. I believe I'd wait until the sap was down to prune it that drastically. To just shape it up and cut it back partially, wait until the figs are done and have at it.

Duluth, GA(Zone 7b)

Thank you for all your replies!!!
I'm new to this forum and I already love it!!!!

Is there a way to ripen figs off the tree??
Birds are at it all day long and I only have before and after work; so they usually get the best of it; and they don't even wait for them to fully ripen.....

Willy.

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

Willy, in my experience, once the fig is picked, that's it. There is a product called bird netting available at HD, Lowe's and garden centers, that you can throw over the top of your tree to help keep the birds away from all but the very tip top growing figs...it can be a bit of a pain to handle, but it does help.

Leicester, NC(Zone 8a)

sev from what I've seen of Magnolias they get pretty big. I would suggest moving it before it gets that size so your fig can do its thing and be easier to trim as needed. The magnolia will need its on big space for sunlight to show its magnificence.

Delhi, LA

My experiene with Magnolias is they are very slow growing. The figs will grow a lot faster. I use to take aluminum pie plates and punch a hole in them and tie them all over my fig trees. It is pretty effective.

Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

I am afraid the magnolia won't transplant well. However, rooting a few figs will be helpful --if the current fig has to 'go' in favor of the magnolia --- at least Willy will have a few more sited elsewhere and growing big and strong.

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

If for some reason Willy has to cut down the current fig tree, just remember to paint the freshly cut stump with full strength roundup to help prevent regrowth.

Canton,IL &Dent Coun, MO(Zone 5b)

see now I'm not the only one who does that!

We cut down a pine tree that was hanging over our pool...hubby thought I was nuts doing that!

Duluth, GA(Zone 7b)

I love this!!
I just asked a couple of simple questions and I'm already learning lots of things...

Thank you guys!!!

Willy.

Canton,IL &Dent Coun, MO(Zone 5b)

No problem willy, that's what we're here for....

Triad(for a few more, NC(Zone 7a)

WOW! What a gret athread! I posted on another forum a question about moving my fig trees when I move out of state in a couple of years but after reading this I might just take some cuttings and pot them up. When would I take cuttings and how big should they be and should I root hormone them before potting. I have a greenhouse so I could take them now but then they would be all confused cause they wouldn't rest over the winter, so maybe I should wait till Spring?

Thanks for the replies, that I KNOW I will get! lol

is there a fig forum?

Thanks,
Susan

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

Susan, the best time to take cuttings is in mid-winter when the tree is dormant. You can take almost any thickness stem cutting at least 10 to 18 inches or longer.

Cut the tip of the stem off, as this is a leaf bud and will open before the stem can support it. The stress of trying to support the leaf bud can cause you cutting to fail and die
. If you choose to use rooting hormone, that is fine, but not really necessary as figs root very willingly. Keep the potting medium moist, but not wet and you should see some new bud sprouts by mid to late spring.

If you have low growing branches, you can fill a pot with soil and slide it under the branch. Using a garden peg/staple or U=shaped wire, pin the branch against the soil and weight it with a rock or brick, depending on size of branch. cover with soil and keep moist. It will root into the pot and can be pruned from the tree when you move.Instant fig tree.

Triad(for a few more, NC(Zone 7a)

WOW, I have lots of low growing branches! I think I will try both methods! I want lots of fig trees. Thank you so much for the tips. can't wait for mid winter! lol

Susan

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

You are very welcome Susan, Good luck.

Delhi, LA

Suggestion Susan, about 2 or 3 clumps of figs will supply you with more than you can use after about two years. I have two clumps, one is shaded so bad, I don't get many figs and they are small. The other supplies way more than we can use. Just water them good if it turns off dry. We finally had to quit picking them. Couldn't give them away and Jo put up enough preserves for us and the children and our oldest granddaughter.

Moon, you rascal, you know everything. I think I like you. Specially, since you are a home grown girl.

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

Well, I know I like you Jim....grin...not everything...I just completely blew ID-ing a plant....didnt take my time.....got the fingers going befo e the brain....lol

Delhi, LA

Usually with me, I put the mouth in gear before the brain. Could it be a Louisiana thing?

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

Hot sauce-itis maybe.........opening your mouth can get you burned....grin

Delhi, LA

Got that right. Also messes up the shape of your nose. Know what I mean?

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

Yes, Sir, I most certainly do.....grin

Claremont, CA

Our Mission Fig tree is about 50 years old and hasn't been pruned in 12-15 years. There are multiple large trunks and many of the smaller branches are 10-15 ft. long, dipping down the hillside below the tree base. I recall, from 40 years ago, picking 8 lbs of large figs in one day. Now we get barely 1 lb of small figs per day.

How far back should I prune these long branches and when?

Delhi, LA

Hi Padua_girl. It is all about how raidcal you want to get. My dad use to cut his down to ground about every five years and let it put up from the roots. Figs are really hearty. Might check with your local extension agency and get there take on it.

Center, TX

Hi all,
Can I root fig trees and pear trees?
Alda

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

I don't know about pear trees, but fig trees are very easy to root. ...place tip or stem cuttings about 8 inches long with a tiny bit of rooting hormone into a container of soil. water well and wait a few weeks. They should all root just fine.

http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/fruit-gardening/fig-propagation.htm.

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