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Pruning Fig

jtwyfordjtwyford BuckinghamshirePosts: 7
edited September 2019 in Fruit & veg
Hi there, this is my first post in this forum, so I hope that I can get some advice/help!

We have had a fig for several years (probably 6 or 7), in an 18" pot outside of our kitchen door, facing south (to the right in the photo) and west (behind the camera) - see photo below, taken a couple of weeks ago (since when leaves have started turning yellow and falling off).

For the first several years, it did almost nothing, remaining a couple of feet high or thereabouts.  Then, 2 or 3 years ago, it started going mad, growing like crazy and producing very prolific crops of fruit.  As can be seen from photo, the highest bits are now approaching around 3 metres high, and becoming entangled in the Wisteria above.

It seems relatively fragile and, despite attempts to tie it to the wall with twine, when there is string wind it thrashes around like crazy, and I'm sure that, particularly if it is allowed to grow any more, a particularly strong bout of wind could probably more-or-less destroy it.

It therefore seems to me that it needs to be pruned, certainly to avoid it growing any higher than it is now, but ideally a bit lower than that.  However, online advice as to how and when to prune seems to be confused, confusing and contradictory, so I would be very grateful for any advice that can be offered. Many thanks.



Kind Regards,  John
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  • jtwyfordjtwyford BuckinghamshirePosts: 7
    edited September 2019
    "I think I'd be more concerned about the size of the pot - once you begin to prune the Fig, it's automatic response is to produce more growth from the base.
    Strictly speaking, they are often better off planted in the ground but from your photo, that is perhaps not an option ? ... Your photo presents a very attractive frontage but the Fig will gradually suffer from being so constricted."

    Thanks for your interest. 

    Maybe it was a misguided idea, but one of the main reasons we planted it in a pot is that we thought that would limit the growth, hence height!

    Were we to consider planting it in the ground, one of the issues with the present position is that it appears that it is probably directly, or nearly directly, over an underground sewage pipe which, judging by where its ends go, is probably less than 18 inches deep. 

    As for 'relocating it, a major problem there is that, although it was 'part of our house' until about 70 years ago, the building you can see to the right of (and just behind) the fig is now a separate dwelling - so, although all the 'ground' is technically ours, we couldn't really just 'move it to the right', since it would then be in front of our neighbour's kitchen window (albeit it's already nearly covered by that {I think} Virginia Creeper that you can see) - and if we move it 'to the left', it would be in front of our kitchen window!!

    Whatever we do about that, I think we are left with the fact that we need to prune it, to avoid it being destroyed by high wind.  We could just pick a point in time to do it (e..g. 'now') and just 'hack off' the bits that we feel are two high for its own good, but I was hoping for some more informed guidance than that!

    Kind Regards,  John
    P.S. Being new to the forum I don't know - is there not a way of preventing my new text being posted as part of the quote?
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 77,323
    You just have to ensure that your cursor is below the Quote box when you start typing. But don’t worry ... you’re not the first and you won’t be the last. We can usually work it out ... Welcome to the forum
    😊 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • CeresCeres Posts: 2,126
    It's a lovely plant but I'd be worried about it going over in a high wind and smashing the pot. Leaving that aside, I'd prune it in early spring. If you prune it now it might just have time to put out some new buds which could get zapped by a severe frost.
  • jtwyfordjtwyford BuckinghamshirePosts: 7
    You just have to ensure that your cursor is below the Quote box when you start typing. But don’t worry ... you’re not the first and you won’t be the last. We can usually work it out ... Welcome to the forum
    😊 
    Thanks.  That's how it works in every other forum I frequent and, perhaps just to annoy me, it's working here now!  However, with my previous post, I just could not persuade the cursor to go below the quote, no matter how I tried.  Maybe it was just a glitch - since, as I said, it now appears to be working 'as expected'!

    Kind Regards,  John
  • jtwyfordjtwyford BuckinghamshirePosts: 7
    Ceres said:
    It's a lovely plant but I'd be worried about it going over in a high wind and smashing the pot.

    That was the initial concern, but the main stems are now well tied to the wall, so the whole thing is unlikely to be toppled over. However, many of the stems still thrash about in in a frightening fashion in moderate/high wind, which is why I think that some curtailing of its height is required!
    Ceres said:
    Leaving that aside, I'd prune it in early spring. If you prune it now it might just have time to put out some new buds which could get zapped by a severe frost.

    Fair enough. Is there any advice/guidance as to where the pruning should be done (i.e. where one should cut) - as you probably realise, I'm no gardener!

     ... and, whilst I'm asking questions, what about the fruits that persist at this time of year (when the leaves are starting to fall). Online advice is again conflicting. In previous years, there have usually been a lot of pea-sized fruits at this time of year, and the majority of advice seems to have suggested that these should be removed. However, this year there are not many of those, but quite a lot of fruits that are around 1 - 1.5 inches long - would you advise removing, or leaving, them?

    Kind Regards, John
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 77,323
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • jtwyfordjtwyford BuckinghamshirePosts: 7
    Many thanks.

    As regards the removal of persisting fruits, the advice given in that article is what we have always done - left the pea-sized ones but removed the larger ones.  However, this year (for the first time) there are virtually none of the tiny pea-sized ones, but a lot which are considerably bigger than that (see photo below - taken today, with yellowing leaves).  Do I take it that I should remove all of them?
     

    Kind Regards,  John
  • CeresCeres Posts: 2,126
    Remove those figs as they will not ripen. The tiny pea sized ones are the potential fruits for next year.  I agree with Dove's advice about pruning.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 77,323
    Mine is exactly the same this year ... quite unusual ... a tree full of half sized fruit and virtually no little ones.

     On reflection I think I should’ve realised that they grew too late to ripen and culled them back in mid August ... that might have triggered some new fruit to grow.

    As it is I think it’s too late for that to happen now so I might just leave the fruit on the tree and see what happens ... in these days of climate change there might just be a silver lining 🤞 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • amancalledgeorgeamancalledgeorge South LondonPosts: 2,302
    Mine is also full of the larger second crop...will drag it in the summer house and fingers crossed they may ripen...after all what's gardening if not hope over circumstance 🤣
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
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