jgrummer
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Pruning Advice for 2 Neglected Fig Trees

Hello all,

My name's Jordan, and I'm new to this forum and gardening in general. My girlfriend and I moved into a new house in Conway, Arkansas, in December of last year, and we inherited a large, but very neglected garden. Our estimate is that it hasn't been touched in about 5 years, could be longer (or shorter, we just don't know). It's been over run with weeds and honestly looks like a set from the "Walking Dead." Whoever built the garden initially spent a lot of time putting it together, and our landlord said he basically lived off it, and I believe it. It's a shame that it's gotten this bad.
Both trees side by side. I'll call tree on the left Tree 1, and the one on the right, Tree 2
Both trees side by side. I'll call tree on the left Tree 1, and the one on the right, Tree 2
The best part of the garden is there are two medium sized fig trees that are still alive and kicking. However, they aren't 100% healthy. There are lots of dead branches on them, and there are weeds surrounding it. On one of them a huge rose bush was about half way up it. I've trimmed that rose bush down though. I want to prune it, becuase I know it's wasting a lot of energy trying to support all of these unnecessary branches, but I have no idea where to begin. I need to do it soon though because Spring is right around the corner. We have had a mild winter here, so I'm also afraid that it never had the chance to go into a dormant state.
Tree 1
Tree 1
Tree 1
Tree 1
Tree 2
Tree 2
Tree 2
Tree 2
I'm attaching some picutres of the trees. Any advice would be welcomed. I'm particularly interested in how to prune and how much to cut off, what I should remove, what if any plants should be growing around the tree, etc etc.

imafan26
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Re: Pruning Advice for 2 Neglected Fig Trees

Start with pruning basics
Cut out dead wood
Then crossing branches
Cut healthy branches at an outward facing bud. Make sure the tools are cleaned before and after and that the tools are sharp so you get clean cuts. I spray with purple power, it is an automotive degreaser but it works well to remove sap.

Don't try to do it all at one time. You can always come back later.

The rule of thumb except for removing dead wood, not to prune more than a 1/4-1/3 third of the tree at a time. Wait a couple of weeks for the plant to recover to do more. While you are waiting, cultivate lightly and feed the tree. Water when needed. Mulch to control weeds. Mark the branches you want to cut by tying strips of cloth o plastic landscaping tape where you want to make the cuts and step back so you get a better idea of what it might look like before you cut.

Cut lower than what you intend the final height will be. Where you cut will be where the new growth starts.

https://na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/howtos/ht ... screen.pdf
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

jgrummer
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Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2015 7:51 pm

Re: Pruning Advice for 2 Neglected Fig Trees

OK awesome. I'll do that soon because like I said, it's going to turn to spring here soon. If I were to trim when Spring arrives, will that damage the tree and its fruit? ( As I type these questions I realize how much of a rookie I truly am haha).

Also, what to any growth should be around the roots? Probably a dumb question, but it looks like the previous owner planted a rose bush next to one. I can't imagine that is good for the tree to compete for resources. Should I remove all of that growth?

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applestar
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Re: Pruning Advice for 2 Neglected Fig Trees

Could the rose bush have been planted there to protect the fig tree from climbing animals that would try to steal the fruits?
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jgrummer
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Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2015 7:51 pm

Re: Pruning Advice for 2 Neglected Fig Trees

That is definitely a possibility. We moved into the house in November, so we're not sure what's planted where or why. The garden itself looks mostly weeded over, but then again I thought the fig trees were just saplings that happened to spring up and grew on their own when we first moved in. Point being there's been a lot of surprises and that actually makes a lot of sense on the rose bush. I trimmed it down but haven't removed it yet.

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Lindsaylew82
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Location: Upstate, SC

Re: Pruning Advice for 2 Neglected Fig Trees

Here, we trim fig trees to the size we want them. Every cultivar is different, but ours growing up did not require pruning. I would trim the dead branches if you're sure they're not just dormant, and then prune to size.

Figs (at least here in SC) are much more low maintenance that other fruiting trees! Fig jam is my absolute FAVORITE jam! :)

Why do I still not have any fig trees.......? Imma have to get on that....
Lindsay
Upstate, SC
USDA Zone 7b/ Sunset Zone 31

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