An Older Fig Tree

Filed Under: Fruit Plants · Keywords: Hi, Tree, Fig Tree, Kill, Getting, About · 1439 Views
I own a older fig tree approximately 20 years old and about 10 feet tall, and live in Commerce, GA.
Can I top off the tree on the main trunk at about 6 ft above the ground where it would be approximately 4 to 6 inches in diameter without harming the tree? It keeps getting taller and putting out lateral branches so high that I cannot reach the branches. I would definitely not want to kill the tree.

Art Richard

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Answer #1 · Maple Tree's Answer · Hi Arthur-If the first lower limbs are above 6 foot this would definitely make it hard to care for and harvest fruit. Figs need to be trained in their first couple of years growth to produce proper branching at a reasonable height. I have seen several older trees that were rejuvenated by trunk chopping. These trees can actually be cut back to a stump and still grow back. Although most figs will recover from this cutting back drastically to the trunk or to a stump it may take several years to again develop nice branching and produce fruit. Trunk chopping is done frequently by many to produce smaller bonsai trees with well established and sizable trunks. If the first branching isn't too high for you it may be best to reduce the trees size in steps over a period of a few years. You can cut out 1/3 of the old branches leaving approximately a 1 to 2 inch stub and reduce the other long growing branches by 1/3. New branching will develop from the old branch stubs that were left. The second and third year do the same cutting out the older tall growing branches. New branches will grow from the stubs that were left and can then be pruned each year to keep the tree at a lower height. Be sure to cut out any branching that is touching or interferring with others. Also cut out any branches that are growing towards the center of the tree. Keeping the center of the tree open helps to allow sunlight in and air circulation for good growth and fruit production. If you decide to do a trunk chop you would want to do it during the winter before sap starts rising and any new growth starts to develop. I noted a link to an article on pruning fig trees. If you decide to cut the tree back to the trunk or ground this article will help with the proper pruning to produce a nice tree again as new trunks and branching develops.

ask if you have any other questions.


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Arthur Richard

Arthur Richard · Gardenality Seed · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
Thanks for the advise John, I really appreciate it. So are you saying I can top off the main trunk, but to take it in smaller steps over a few years? Like reduce the height by perhaps 12 inches this year, etc. until I can get it down to a reasonable height?

7 years ago ·
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Maple Tree

Maple Tree · Gardenality Genius · Zone 10A · 30° to 35° F
If the lowest branching isn't to high for you I would cut out 1/3 of the branching down to this height and the remaining branching down by 1/3 their height. Doing a trunk chop may be fine for your situation but it is getting fairly late to do this now. It would be best to do this as the tree goes dormant most likely in January early February in your location. If you could upload a picture of the tree it would help myself and others to actually see the trees condition and the best course of action. To the right of your name below your original question you will see where you can upload any picture you have saved on your computer.

7 years ago ·
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