How to Prune a Fig Tree (Video)

How and When to Prune Your Fig Trees

It's best to prune your fig trees in the spring. In the video below, you'll be shown how to reduce the height, take out unwanted crossing branches and generally tidy up the look of your fig tree.

You will need some secateurs, a pruning saw and some loppers.


Hi, I’m Andi from Ashridge Nurseries. It's early spring. It's a sort of sunny, cloudy day, but it’s a lovely day. I'm going to tackle this very large Brown Turkey fig tree. We've got fruit that would come for this year, but it's all got a little bit out of hand, so it's going to need quite a strong and hard cut back. It's not going to be a quick job and there's going to be some big cuts.

I've got a pruning saw and some loppers and my secateurs. I'll start by losing all this wispy stuff. And then we'll get rid of some of the crossing branches, and then we’ll probably reduce the height because it's way too high as well for this space. So it's going to be a fairly half an hour job, really, so I'm just going to crack on and we'll see what happens.

You can see at the bottom here, we've had a lot of sort of pruning and pruning back, which obviously encourages new shoots. We don't really want any of this, so I’m just going to quickly come through here and snip all this out.

Not sure how my secateurs are going to take to this over this thick wood, but they’re nice and sharp, so that was easy enough. So I'm just going to work through here very quickly and tidy it up. You see here again, some of the old cuts were done a bit longer than I'd like, so we'll just tidy, tidy. When the wood gets too thick, I’ll get the loppers out.

Again, If you keep your cutting tools nice and sharp, you'll find this is an easier job. Let's see what's left. So I've left this one because I think we're going to leave that for a future stem. I've got this stem, which comes up and then across and away, so he has to go and will be a difficult extraction because it's quite congested in here, and that actually you can see that that’s actually rooted down there, so, again, not ideal for the foundation of the wall.

So that's our very first cut and it was fairly obvious It needed to go. I can see I've got one coming up and across, so that also needs to go, then that should theoretically just pull out. So this is a really awkward cane. It's debatable on how much I can get to that. I should be able to get to it with saw. Pruning saws are very dangerous tools. If you get that across your skin, it will really open you up. So let's just make sure I’m going to cut the right one. That can go first because that gives me some access and that's right in there as well.

We'll actually come out that way. And this is why a pruning saw is such a useful tool because even though that's so congested in there, I can get in.

That comes out of there nicely and immediately that opens the centre of the plant. I'm done with the saw, so I like to put it away and I’ve just got to decide where I want to go next. He's pretty unpleasant. So the first part of this is literally just losing that congestion and opening the plant's up. We have this very awkward stumpy bit here that has nice new growth at the centre, so I'm just going to tidy that and then remove these.

That can go. Now I'm just making very limited decisions about - do I like a branch or don't I. This one here crosses completely, I'm actually going to remove it all again from right down the base, and my pruning saw should just slip into that gap nicely.

We’re going to just face up some of these now. So we stopped this growth coming forward. If we look at this side as well now, you can see that the centre is coming quite nice, it's less congested, but we’ve got a bit of madness going on over here, and I'm just going to have a look and see what I think wants to go.

There is dead in here as well, which needs to go. That's coming off of there, so we can lose that. Luckily figs are very, very soft wood, so they're always an easy prune. Now we're going to look at just reducing this side down again. We have leaf nodes all the way up or branching nodes. We want to maintain this shape, so what I've got to do is, it might not be the perfect height for me, but I find one that goes in the direction I want it. This one is good here. So. I'm just going to cut above that and that'll shoot away from here now. We’ve got a good one there, just on the back.

You can see that it's starting to come together slowly.

I'm doing quite a hard prune here. And already on this side, we’ve got to reduce that. And again, I'm probably going to reduce it to this bud here, I just want to watch that falling on my head. So you can see now we're just starting to get some proper shape into this. Again, I going to come to a backwards bud, and we’ll just nip you out to go that way.

It might seam brutal, but this plant will really appreciate this. One of the things I don't want to do, because this is not a tiny branch here, I don't want to make a cut-through and then the branch just falls off, so I’m going to undercut and then I’m going to do a top cut, and that means I can just snap it off clean. Because I've now broken that off, you can see here it’s the natural colour of the plant, that's where it grows from and I want to get my cut across that.

There you go, that's finished up beautifully.

So this one coming forward, he's going to give us trouble next year. So that branch can go as well. And now we can see that this is really interrupting as well, so that's going to have to go

This I’m going to tuck behind, because, ultimately that's fine and we'll start reducing and then once I've reduced, we can review again, Here we have again, a nice outward bud. I just want to make sure that I'm keeping a nice shape as well and my heights are even.

A love lovely bud  there to cut to. So we have a lovely backward growth there. This curve in line, and then up to the top, because we've got this nice growth here, I'm actually going to take it here and just gently at the end so I don't create any tares.

We still have this big crossover in the centre, which is becoming more and more offensive to me as we go. So that comes right from the front and winds up all the way through. So it is unfortunately time for that to go.

Right, so I’ve got two very low ones, which is clearly going to have to go, and so is this edge from here. When you're really close to a plant, it's very hard to miss what needs to be done. So it really helps to step back fairly regularly and have a good look.

If we look in here, this branch has actually grafted itself on and also behind it's crafted. So as it's coming out, it's grafted onto that and it's grafted onto that, which means we're going to have to cut off this side. It's clearly been there a long time. We are now again going to step back and have a look. You can see quickly though, because this was old wood, It didn't make the greatest of cuts, but I'm fairly confident that it will heal.

We've got a lot of nice new wood, so we've left plenty of new growth in there to come on for us next year. It's flexible enough for me to just be able to tuck it behind that wire, which will invariably help as well.

We’ll come back in 12 months.

Tags: pruning  Fig Tree 
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