The idea of being self-sustainable in the 21st century is always appealing. But, to truly be self-sustainable, one would have to commit to planting, growing, pruning, harvesting, etc. like it is a full-time job. That is not exactly realistic for most people today. However, that does not mean that you should not try growing your own fruits and vegetables. One of the more popular fruits that are grown in backyards these days is figs. These tender fruits with sugar-like sweetness grow on what we call fig trees.
Taking care of these trees may require a little bit of guidance because it is not going to be easy. It is not particularly difficult, but if you expect tender and ripe figs this time around, you will have to make sure that you are doing everything right.
One of the things that you will have to do probably every year is pruning. The question is: when is the best time to prune fig trees?
A tough question, but we will provide you with an answer and also everything else you need to know about figs in this 2024 beginners guide.
Planting fig trees
We wanted to make this article specific to pruning these plants, but we think it made sense to first talk a bit more about the planting, growing, and harvesting process.
If you are interested in planting a fig tree this year, you will need to do that while it is still warm. At the time of writing, it is spring in the northern hemisphere, so, it is probably the best time to start planting. If you cannot manage to do so this spring, we recommend that you wait for late fall.
However, you also have to consider the fact figs cannot exactly prosper in colder climates. If the temperatures drop below 12°C during the winter, they are probably going to die. If you are unfortunate enough to live in such a climate, you can try growing it in a container or maybe even inside.
When looking for the perfect spot in your backyard, we suggest looking for a location that is regularly exposed to sunlight. Keep in mind, these trees can spread out their roots quite far and deep into the soil. What this means is that you should avoid planting figs close to other trees, buildings, or any other kinds of constructions.
If you want a healthy fig tree that is going to provide you with a lot of produce, it must have enough space to grow.
Once the trees are planted, now it is time to learn about the maintenance needs and everything you need to do throughout the year to keep it healthy and to provide you with tasty and ripe fruits.
First, let us talk about the most basic needs.
Watering should be done at least once every two weeks. But, if you plan to water just once every two weeks, make sure that you do it around the same time. This kind of consistency helps the tree grow faster and healthier.
However, if it is growing in a pot or any other kind of container, it may require more water throughout that two-week period. This is especially true during the summer. It is going to need a lot more water when it is dry outside.
Now we can talk about the pruning process.
Taking care of fig trees is not difficult at all, it is pretty easy and you also get rewarded with beautiful and tasty fruit snacks while also providing you with a great amount of shade.
Even if you do want that kind of shade, you will still have to do some pruning throughout the year because these things grow pretty rapidly and in a hectic manner. So, you will definitely have to take care of growth at least once a year.
The perfect time to prune fig trees is throughout the winter. Why? Well, these plants are very prone to bleeding, so if you cut off any branches, they might start pleading sap. If you did not know, to prevent that kind of bleeding, it is best to prune and winter.
For those that want to have full control of the fig trees, we recommend cutting off the thickest stems from the bottom. Keep in mind, you should only do this if the tree has already released several dozen stems.
Why prune the oldest branches? Well, if you want to have full control over this plant and if you do not want it dominating your backyard, it is best to take care of those old branches. Not only will this provide you with more control over the tree, but you would also provide more energy towards the branches that are willing to provide fruit.
In other words, the fruit you will get from those smaller main branches would be lush, sweeter, and tastier.
If you are not sure whether you want or should do this, you can click here and see how most people in Australia deal with fig trees.
We have one more piece of advice for fig pruning. If there are any stems or branches that are growing to the side instead of growing straight, cut those off too. This will help the tree grow in height, otherwise, it would start growing in width, ultimately taking over too much space in your backyard.
As you can see, growing fig trees in your backyard is more than possible, but it is crucial to follow these tips we provided in this beginner’s guide to ensure the growth of a healthy and luscious tree. Don’t forget to be consistent with the watering, prune only in the winter, and do it regularly. That means every year.
If you do everything to properly take care of your figs, you may finally see ripe fruit after just three, four, or five years. It all depends on the seed and how you take care of it.