Need advice on pruning this fig tree in a pot

Duxbury, MA(Zone 7a)

My father passed away a little over a year ago, and I inherited this fig tree. I've done nothing to it for the past 18 months except water it. I've gotten many figs off it and I want to keep it, I just need some advice. I just took it out of the garage yesterday, and was surprised to see some figs already. I read up on it and apparently these are the breba crop. My question is, how could I possibly repot this, the soil must be tired, but the plant is so large I can't dump it out very easily. And can you tell from the photos, should I prune it? And when, I'll lose these figs if I do it now, but is that better than losing the large crop later this summer? I'm not sure why the main stem is so low, if he did that on purpose or if it was an accident, but I suppose I'm stuck with it this way now.

Thumbnail by cindyeo Thumbnail by cindyeo Thumbnail by cindyeo Thumbnail by cindyeo
San Marcos, TX(Zone 8b)

If it were me, I would just dump a few inches of compost on the top twice a year.
The soil line doesnt look to be too low.

Port St Lucie (+ Wk , FL(Zone 9b)

I had one of my figs in a pot about that size, maybe slightly bigger. It looked just like yours. The limbs get like that when the main trunk freezes off and it puts out all those others. If you can keep it warm in Winter, You could just dump it out and root prune it some and cut all but one of the limbs off, then rotate the position in the pot so the one limb is in the center, pointing up (becomes the main trunk). In my experience, it's almost impossible to hurt them by pruning or by re-potting.

Figs root so easily, you could (right now) just cut off and root one of the limbs and start over in a different pot. Of course, I don't know how you can grow figs in MA - I guess your Zone 7A is almost the same as my 7B. I think you could grow it in Palm Beach Co. The nematodes are a real problem for figs in that area though so the pot is still a good idea.

Are you still living in MA or have you moved?

Duxbury, MA(Zone 7a)

pbyrley, you are very observant to notice I had posts about Palm Beach as well. That's a new vacation home for me, Massachusetts will still remain my permanent home, at least for now. The only way to grow the fig here is to move it into the garage for the winter. I like your idea about cutting off a limb and trying to start a new tree. That way I could keep the old tree in the meantime. Thank you for the advice. I've rooted cuttings from smaller plants plenty of times before by just sticking in the soil, maybe a little rootone. Can I just do the same with the fig? I suppose I should choose a newer, green, end of a branch for the cutting, right?

Port St Lucie (+ Wk , FL(Zone 9b)

I think figs are the easiest plant I have ever rooted. When friends sent me 4 short branches (these were hardened wood in Jan.), all 4 of them rooted in my garage and are still growing vigorously. I usually root in Vermiculite but however you have rooted something will likely work for figs. (I've not heard of success in just water)

I think the best rooting is not on the green end of the branch. Use at least 10" back from the green tip to 5" , just above a bud. Warning, don't try too many, you may have to beg neighbors to take fig trees off your hands (I have 4 Celestes I have to give away now).

Paul

Duxbury, MA(Zone 7a)

Thanks for the info, I'll stick a couple in seed starting mix today.

Port St Lucie (+ Wk , FL(Zone 9b)

Good luck - keep us posted on your success.

Paul

Port St Lucie (+ Wk , FL(Zone 9b)

Cindy,
I took a picture of the pot I rooted 3 figs in - I got the idea from someone on DG a while ago. I first put a stopper in the drain hole of a clay pot and then center it in a larger pot. I fill all around the outside with vermiculite and put my cuttings in it. The clay pot oozes water out to keep the vermiculite moist and it's easy to see when I need to add water. The clay pot is full of water in the picture. I really need to take the 3 rooted figs out and pot them but have been too lazy.

Paul

Thumbnail by pbyrley
Duxbury, MA(Zone 7a)

Wow, what a great idea. I did take one cutting and put it in seed starting mix. I noticed the leaves a little wilted yesterday, so I pinched one off, leaving 2, thinking the leaves were taking too much energy. Maybe I'll try your idea to keep the mix constantly moist.

Port St Lucie (+ Wk , FL(Zone 9b)

Oh, BTW, the rubber stoppers can be purchased at Ace Hardware, so either take your pot with you or buy one of theirs.

Duxbury, MA(Zone 7a)

timely message, because I tried to stopper the pot myself by stuffing plastic in, and it leaked, so I need the rubber stopper!

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