help with fig sprouts

Asked January 9, 2016, 2:45 PM EST

I cut back a big fig last year and now have perhaps 100 big sprouts front the stumps of the original tree. can I prune this mass of sprouts to get most figs in the future...some sprouts are branching...are they the best to leave?

Lexington County South Carolina

1 Response

I would thin out the sprouts quite a bit, otherwise your growth will likely be too dense to have good fig production. You can remove about a third of the sprouts by cutting them to the ground. This is something you'll have to do each year, although as the shoots you don't cut grow, you should have fewer to cut in the future. Try to look for sections where several shoots are growing close together and remove some in order to create better spacing. Figs are not nearly as particular as apples or peaches as to what shape they are pruned to or even how often they are pruned, but removing some of the excess now is important.

I'm not sure if the tree was damaged or just overgrown before you cut it back, but in the future cutting the whole tree down to the ground is not the best strategy. Try to periodically remove some older branches and allow younger ones to take their place. This will help control the size and also help production.