Suckers growing from base of fig tree

Asked September 1, 2017, 8:50 PM EDT

Hello, We have a very young fig tree which is doing quite well. I noticed that there are sprouts springing up from the base of the tree. Are these suckers and do I need to trim them back? Is there a way to prevent them if they are in fact not wanted? Thanks, Doug

Multnomah County Oregon fig trees staking trees fruit tree

1 Response

Thank you for attaching the images with your questions. Yes, the tree does appear to be thriving. You can easily remove those small shoots from the ground right now. Do so by working down to where the sprout is attached to the trunk, then snap it off by pushing the base of the sprout in the opposite direction of how it is attached. (The younger the shoot, the easier this is to do.)

Figs can be grown as a multi-stem shrub. If you prefer a single stem, you must periodically remove the excess shoots from the base, perhaps every month or so. Snap off, not cut off.

Here’s a bonus for you. Even though you didn’t ask how to stake your tree, know that it will have a better chance of developing a strong trunk if you remove and discard that bamboo stick.

If the tree stands upright without the stick, then no support is needed. If it tends to flop, insert a sturdy tree support – a 2-inch stake – about 8 inches from the trunk and at least 12 inches into the ground. Secure it loosely with broad flexible straps, with enough slack to allow the tree to sway in the breeze. (The slack allows movement which strengthens the trunk.) The goal is to remove the stake and ties a year later.

The text and diagrams in “New Tree Planting” will clarify the process. ( The 2-stake system it shows is excellent when winds are variable in direction. Place the stakes so that the wind blows between them.

Please ask if you have more questions.