Fig tree with broken limb

Asked September 7, 2020, 12:09 PM EDT

Hello, We have a large, probably Adriatic, fig tree with a limb that broke off at the trunk. We have just purchased the house so don't know how long the limb has been broken. It looks like the weight of the figs was the culprit. It is still attached to the trunk and has some blackness at the connection, which I am guessing is fungus. We have had conflicting advice from a landscaper and a nursery person. One person recommended cutting it off and treating with neem oil and then covering with tar. Another recommended cutting it off and leaving it alone. We would love some advice about to best care for it! Thank you!

Jackson County Oregon

2 Responses

Could you please send a couple of clear photos of the area you are describing? Based on what you have said, it is best to prune the broken branch so that there is a clean cut, just above the branch bark ridge and branch collar (see diagram in the publication from Virginia Cooperative Extension: https://www.pubs.ext.vt.edu/430/430-456/430-456.html#:~:text=When%20making%20thinning%20cuts%20to,me....).

There is no scientific evidence suggesting that covering a cut with tar is beneficial. Trees are naturally able to reconcile their wounds by producing calluses and isolating the injury. Products covering wounds can inhibit healing and even encourage rot and disease by sealing in moisture and pathogens. It is highly recommended to leave the wound open.

Regarding treating with neem oil- this can be helpful if fungi and insects are already an issue. It’s always best to try cultural controls before using pesticides. Then, if pesticides are completely necessary, always follow the label directions exactly.

Treating this area that you have described with neem oil (assuming the specific pesticide you are using is appropriate for your fig tree) would most likely not kill the current fungal colony, but could help prevent the spread of the disease (if this is what your tree has).

Thank you so much for your response. The limb broke off and tore from the main trunk. I cut it as cleanly as I could and will let the tree do its magic!