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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,



I've read that the "appropriate" time to prune a fig tree is at the end of February or when you've had your last frost. I'm in Northern California and either we're having a month-long false spring, or pretty much skipped winter.



So now seems like the right time to prune. The tree's a big overgrown and I'd like to take it back to a more manageable height so I can harvest as much fruit as possible in August/September.



How far back can I/should I trim back? Should I use some sort of spray-on/brush-on pruning sealer?


Thanks for any help or direction you can provide.
 

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Good to see you.

In general fig trees are good growers (too damn good, actually). Given how far north you are, I'd hold off a bit. If you prune too soon, the new growth might get nipped in a late cold spell.

Figs, if my memory serves, have really gooey milky sap which works as their own built-in sealer, so you won't need to use tar, unless you really feel the urge.

All this said, if a northern California fig guru contradicts anything I say, do what they say, and let us know in any case how things go.
 

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We just cut down four fig trees and had the roots ground up. I love the figs, but really don't need them, and they did not contribute nicely to the yard's landscape (originally planted 15 years ago by the previous/original homeowner). Actually, we cut them all down in November, and had the stumps ground a month ago, hoping to never see hide nor hair of them again.

Best of luck with your pruning.
 

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We just cut down four fig trees and had the roots ground up. I love the figs, but really don't need them, and they did not contribute nicely to the yard's landscape (originally planted 15 years ago by the previous/original homeowner). Actually, we cut them all down in November, and had the stumps ground a month ago, hoping to never see hide nor hair of them again.

Best of luck with your pruning.
Hope your grinders were psycho-thorough. They're Zombie trees sometimes, especially the grafted kinds on super-aggressive rootstocks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Good to see you.

In general fig trees are good growers (too damn good, actually). Given how far north you are, I'd hold off a bit. If you prune too soon, the new growth might get nipped in a late cold spell.

Figs, if my memory serves, have really gooey milky sap which works as their own built-in sealer, so you won't need to use tar, unless you really feel the urge.

All this said, if a northern California fig guru contradicts anything I say, do what they say, and let us know in any case how things go.

We're in Davis, California. Just west of Sacramento. This February has been abnormally warm (it hit 80 this week) and it's the first February in recorded history that we've gone without a drop of precipitation. Historically, we would have a week of sub-freezing night-time temps in February, but that didn't happen at all.



March normally has a night time low of 40-45 and a daytime high of 65-70.



Good to know that the natural sap is a sufficient sealer and that cutting it back heavily won't result in long-term damage.



Any advise on how far down I can go and still get fruit this summer?
 

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We're in Davis, California. Just west of Sacramento. This February has been abnormally warm (it hit 80 this week) and it's the first February in recorded history that we've gone without a drop of precipitation. Historically, we would have a week of sub-freezing night-time temps in February, but that didn't happen at all.



March normally has a night time low of 40-45 and a daytime high of 65-70.



Good to know that the natural sap is a sufficient sealer and that cutting it back heavily won't result in long-term damage.



Any advise on how far down I can go and still get fruit this summer?
I think a better place for your questions will be at the University of California, if they have an extension service.

I know we've had unusually warm weather down here, too, and sometimes that's tricky.

Figs are tough, though, so I can tell you that if you make a mistake it won't kill the tree.
 

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Based on your big tree comment, I’d suggest clearing suckers and branches you don’t want. When it comes to trimming back branches you want to keep, I’d only cut them back about 1/2 of what you would really like. If you cut the branches back too far, you won’t have much of a summer crop.

You can do additional trimming next fall or the following year.

Have you identified which fig species you have ?
 

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I am a member of OurFigs.com and lots of California figgers there.
stop by and say hello.

.
 

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Figs, edible, that is, are tough.

Back in Ohio, Italians raised figs, and it was too cold, and they buried them in the backyard, and I thought it was totally nutty. (Still do.)

They'd hack off the roots, tip the tree over, bury it under dirt and leaves, then pitch it back up again, and it would produce so many figs if you liked them you were in heaven.

Then repeat, till either the grower got too old or, I dunno.
 

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UCDavis has tons of information:


https://www.google.com/search?channel=cus2&client=firefox-b-1-d&q=Pruning+a+fig+tree,+UC+Davis


They also have Master Gardeners thru the Extension. I found one up here who would come by & see a Cherry tree on his way home.


I can't even imagine how many garden experts live in Davis, near the School of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences. :}


I was able to email with a Professor of Mycology about little brown mushrooms.

Seems helpful. Don't have this concern but my sister does, forwarding information (and maybe this thread) to her!
 

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I would recommend pruning them in a warm month when you will be sure that it won't be cold. It would be safer and better if you will wait a little more and will catch a good time for pruning. I remember that I used to prune my fig tree in Spring, because by that time it was already warm outside, and I wasn't afraid of freezes. You can check on hausandgarten.com and also ask there this question, on their forum. I think that people there will find how to help you faster because I have noticed that everyone there is a nature geek. I hope that I was useful.
 
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