Pruning single leader Kadota fig tree

Asked June 2, 2016, 4:29 PM EDT

Hi! I'm wondering if this single leader Kadota Fig tree will eventually branch all the way down to the bottom, or if it will just keep branching out at the top as it grows? I'm raising it in a container and doing root pruning periodically. I ask because I'm wondering if I should have bought a multi-trundled tree instead of one with a single leader, just for ease in harvesting figs. Thanks for any advice you may have. I've included a photo.

Marion County Oregon

3 Responses

Wait until winter . Begin training to bush form at time of planting by cutting off one-third of the young plant. This forces shoots to grow from the base of the plant. Let these shoots grow through the first season. Then, during the late winter after the first growing season, select three to eight vigorous, widely spaced shoots to serve as leaders. Remove all other shoots. Be sure the leaders are far enough apart to grow to 3 to 4 inches in diameter without crowding each other. If they are too close together, the leaders cannot grow thick enough to support themselves and their crop and tend to fall over or split off under stress of high winds. If this happens, remove the damaged leader and select a new one late the next winter by choosing one of the many suckers that arise annually.

Beginning the second year after planting, if more branching is desired, head back the bush each spring after danger of frost is past but before growth has started. Do this by removing about one-third to one-half the length of the annual growth.

Also, prune out all dead wood, and remove branches that interfere with growth of the leaders. Cut off low-growing lateral branches and all sucker growth that is not needed for replacement of broken leaders.

Fertilizing: Fig trees grow satisfactorily in moderately fertile soils without fertilizer. However, fertilizer is needed in soils of very low fertility or where competition from other plants is heavy.

Though nitrogen is usually the only needed plant nutrient, other nutrients may be lacking in some areas. If poor growth indicates the need for fertilizer, follow these general guidelines:

  • Use a fertilizer with an analysis of 8-8-8 or 10-10-10.

  • For feeding plants one- to two-years-old, apply 1 oz of fertilizer each month from the beginning of growth through the end of July.

  • Apply fertilizer to larger plants three times a year: late winter, early June, and mid-July.

  • Use ⅓ lb per ft of bush height per application. If the fruit are not reaching maturity and ripening properly, excess fertilizer or drought may be the problem and fertilization should be reduced. Increase the amount of fertilizer as the tree grows, up to 10 lb per year.

    Watering: For highest yields, figs need watering throughout the summer. The frequency and the amount of water depends to a large extent on the soil. As a rule of thumb, 1 inch of water per week from rain or irrigation is adequate. Yellowing and dropping of leaves may indicate drought.

    In lawns, the grass beneath fig plants may wilt in the heat while the rest of the lawn does not. This indicates the figs need water. Figs grown with lawn grasses may require one or more waterings a week during hot, dry periods.

  • Hope this helps.

Thank you so much for the comprehensive information you sent. I really appreciate your help!

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