15 Pruning Fig Trees Tips: How To Trim a Fig Tree [Fig Bush]

Fig trees can reach a height of 120 to 240 inches and a width of 10 to 20 feet. Fig trees have a tendency of expanding. They have appealing qualities which render them as good fruiting trees for terrace decorating, especially if you want a subtropical theme for your residence. 

They yield their distinctive fruits, they possess beautiful properties that contribute to making them appropriate plants for outdoor decoration.  

Fig tree branches that are broken, dead, or infected must be clipped away as soon as possible. This seems to be standard upkeep pruning, which is closely related to trimming on many other trees. 

However, there are precise pruning procedures for cultivating fig trees through their first couple of years that must be followed. For both old and new gardeners, this article will help and guide you on pruning fig trees appropriately. It will also explain when to prune fig trees as well as how to prune fig trees. 

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Fig Tree Plant Profile

Botanical NameFicus carcia
Origin Western Asia
Type Of PlantFlowering Plant
Best Growing SeasonEarly Spring or Late Fall
Planting Zones8 – 10
Exposure To Sun Full Sunlight 
Soil TypeLoamy and Clay
Soil pH5.5 to 6.5
Bloom PeriodSpring 
Color Of FlowerYellow 
ToxicitySlightly Toxic
Other NamesSycamore tree, the Pipal tree, Banyan tree

Best Growing Zone For Fig Trees

Fig bush or tree grow best in locations with extended, warm summertime, Zones 8 and higher, although fig trees can be cultivated in cooler areas if planted in pots and appropriately sheltered against cold weather or moved inside. 

Pruning Fig Trees Tips
Pruning Fig Trees Tips

Since fig tree blossoms don’t really need pollination before producing figs, the common fig tree (Ficus carica) seems to be the most preferred variety of figs for home farmers and gardeners. 

This common fig tree comes in a variety of types, such as sturdy cultivars which may be cultivated outside in somewhat lower temperatures, Zones 6 and 7

Several fig varieties don’t yield eatable fruit nor possess very precise pollination characteristics, which includes having to be fertilized via a definite kind of wasp, rendering them too difficult to cultivate in a backyard garden.

Figs could be eaten right off the tree, stored, or cooked with. 

Reasons For The Significant Process Of Pruning Fig Tree 

Fig tree pruning is far broader beyond just chopping off branches. In fact, pruning needs to be an aspect of every tree as well as shrub upkeep practice. 

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Pruning fig trees promotes steady growth, enhances bloom as well as the tree fruit output, optimizes the tree viability, and eliminates broken branches, all of which contribute to the fig tree’s attractive appearance. 

Pruning fig trees at the proper moment and even in the appropriate method is crucial, because mismanagement or over-pruning can harm a strong and healthy fig tree. Trimming would effectively improve your tree’s natural appearance. 

Below are some of the most important advantages to prune your fIg trees:

  • The tree branches that are diseased or vulnerable are less likely to fail.
  • Pruning your fig tree clears the area.
  • When you prune your fig tree, it helps in lowering the amount of shade as well as breeze resistance. 
  • Regulate the health of the fig tree and the production of its flowers or fruit. 
  • Enhance the attractiveness of the tree. 
  • It’s possible to revive a storm-damaged fig tree through pruning.  

Pruning a standard fig tree is part of fig tree maintenance. 

When To Cut Back Your Fig Tree?  

Trimming fig trees should be done at least three times a year

Pruning fig trees in spring;

  • Trim any branches which are out of form, overlapping, or broken in the early springtime, as well as any roots that sprout from the soil. 
  • To encourage new shoots from the branch’s core, trim down one or two branches that have grown too lengthy and dry to a two inches (5cm) twig if necessary. 

Early Summer

  • Clip out the fresh development with five or six leaflets in the early summertime. Towards the end of June, clip or trim the tops of shoots that have grown five leaflets. 
  • Future development should not be trimmed. Keep in mind that the constricted shoots will most likely leak milky sap. This normally stops fast and has little effect on the plant. 
  • If you don’t want the sap to stay on your body, take precautions by putting on a pair of gloves. If it happens, rinse it off right away because it could be irritating. 
  • Pinch relatively immature shoots end as early as the branch has five to six leaflets to limit leaking; trimming more developed, sturdier shoots will eventually lead to more leaking. 

Trim fig trees in Autumn

  • That haven’t ripened in the autumn, however, keep the pea-sized developmental fruit. 
  • Fig woods do have potential to generate lengthy, leafless, as well as unproductive branches if they are not pruned on a constant schedule, as described above. 

11 Steps To Pruning Fig Trees

Fortunately, fig trees are generally simple to maintain in terms of trimming. At a fig tree’s initial year or two of development, you must hard pruning the fig tree in order to instruct its developmental process for the coming years. 

How To Trim A Fig Tree [Fig Bush]
How To Trim A Fig Tree [Fig Bush]

1. Decide when you’re going to undertake your initial pruning

  • According to some recommendations, pruning fig trees after transplanting is the best. Another suggests that you must hold off until the first inactive season is over. 
  • Pruning your tree soon after transplanting it helps it begin off to a good start. You’re effectively teaching your tree to channel its energy in a much more intense manner from the beginning. 
  • On the contrary side, if you prune too much of the plant off just after transferring it, you risk startling it. 
  • If the sapling you got is initially a little frail, trimming it so quickly after moving it could end up backfiring as well as make the tree cease developing and even fade away.

2. Reduce the size of the tree to half

  • A considerable amount of the wood must be removed throughout the initial pruning.
  • By chopping off much of the fig tree’s top, you’re forcing it to concentrate on growing a sturdy root system.  
  • As an outcome, the plant will develop itself more quickly as well as get sturdier over time. 
  • This could also stimulate the tree to sprout downward shoots, resulting in a longer and thicker tree rather than a skinny one. 

3. The very next winter season, trim for blooming branches

  • The majority of the fruits are developed off existing branches or twigs which have already yielded fruit when the tree is first transplanted. 
  • Since these branches are weaker already, you must encourage the development of new productive branches through removing the existing ones. 
  • Select four to six among the thickest branches, however, try to ensure that they’re evenly distributed all over the primary stem. 
  • These shoots must be separated far enough away such that they would likely develop to a surface area of 7.6 to 10 cm (three to four inches) without colliding. 
  • This approach provides better fruit while also limiting the tree’s size.
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4. Over the next few seasons, the majority of pruning should be done in the wintertime

  • Pruning figs during the wintertime not only decreases the chance of frightening or harming the tree throughout its early periods of development, but it also simplifies the procedure easier because the stems are more noticeable without the leaves. 
  • Considering your fig tree seems to be no longer actively developing when it enters its third resting year, or third winter, most of your trimming must actually occur in the latter half of the season.  
  • If preferred, you can postpone the trimming till early springtime, however, it must be completed just before your fig tree exhibits indications of fresh development.  
  • However, delay pruning till the extremely cold phase of the winter has ended. 

5. Prune any buds that have sprung at the tree’s root 

  • A bud is a twig that sprouts below the fig tree’s trunk or root. Buds must be eliminated. When you don’t cut these buds, they’ll take nutrients away from the primary thriving tree, causing your fig tree to deteriorate as well as give a lesser output. 
  • Buds are the consequence of a tree’s effort to create extra branches. However, when the tree is strained or divided, buds could emerge rather than better and healthier branches from the original root.  
  • Whenever secondary horizontal branches develop low to the surface level, they must also be pruned.

6. Remove any dead or unhealthy branches 

When you notice diseased parts on your fig tree, you should prune them out to help avoid the illness from progressing to the remainder of the tree. You must also remove any damaged or dying timber. Dead branches are unattractive, and it also invites disease as it decomposes. 

7. Prune any branches which aren’t from the bearing tree 

Whenever you intend to keep the fig tree’s resources directed to the figs developed on such branches, then you must carefully remove any fresh development which does not develop from the bearing branches you identified from the preceding growth period.  

8. Reduce the size of the secondary stems

The stems which sprout off the principal stems of bearing stems are known as secondary stems. However, do not eliminate each of these stems. Stems which are emerging at about a 45 ° angle off the primary stems should be clipped away. 

9. Contemplate significantly reducing the size of the primary branches

Typically, the primary producing branches would be pruned down to one third or one-quarter of their present size. As a result, the fig tree will remain tiny and its energies will be focused.

10. However in summertime, pluck out new leaves

Over the summertime, permit five or six foliage to emerge on fresh branches.  As extra leaves emerge once they have established themselves, pluck them out with your fingertips. 

11. In the fall, pluck any possible dangerous figs

In the fall months, inspect your fig fruits. When you see some huge figs which haven’t started to bloom, pluck and get rid of it.  

5 Crucial Steps To Pruning Potted Fig Tree

Step 1

Determine whichever branches have strayed from the norm ball shape. Branching outwards, which results in a dome or vase shape rather than the typical ball shape required from a typical potted fig tree, seems to be a frequent problem. 

Step 2

Every one of the stems on the regular fig tree should be trimmed down approximately halfway to two-thirds. As this is considered hard pruning fig trees, your fig tree can handle that and will immediately develop fresh, rapid development. 

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Step 3

Take care of the root systems. Roots must be pruned back on a regular basis, particularly for bigger fig trees. 

Step 4

Prune the normal fig tree on a frequent basis. The goal is to rearrange it into a ball shape as well as keep it that way. If properly cared for, the fig will not require such drastic trimming in the future. 

Step 5

Fertilize or perhaps mulch the fig trimmings.

Pruning Fig Tree During Summertime  

Once the fruit has completely developed, often around mid-summer, seems to be the best time to prune fig trees. 

This gives the new development, which has been promoted by pruning, a chance to thicken up. Moderate pruning, which generates a uniform structure of sturdy branches, is beneficial to early age trees. 

Resist cutting such central line branches since fruit is produced in the past season’s development.

Things and Tools Needed For Pruning Fig Trees

  • Hand Pruners; For trimming stems as well as branches with a thickness of one inch less than, hand pruners, otherwise recognized as pruning shears, seem to be the best instrument.
  • Looper; A lopper, often known as lopping shears, is perfect when trimming branches with a thickness of two inches or less. It tends to come with a tag which tells you what diameter branch it could trim, so you can pick the proper one. 
  • Pruning Saws; trimming or pruning saws are ideal at clipping stems that are three to five inches in thickness You could also utilize them for clipping somewhat larger limbs using a little additional energy.
  • Rope Saw; For reducing branches up to five inches in thickness, a rope saw is really an effective tree trimming instrument. It has a chain-style trimming edge that would chop past larger branches with considerable attempt. 
  • Chainsaw; If pruning branches wider beyond three inches, a chainsaw would assist you execute the smoothest trim possible. Therefore, if you believe your tree pruning project necessitates the use of a chainsaw, you should consult a competent arborist.

Cleansing And Sharpening Trimming Instruments After Use

The finest cuts are made with sharp instruments which also serve to decrease trimming stress. That’s why you must clean trimming shears, pole pruners, trimmers, as well as other equipment with a honing instrument or stone. 

Cleanse the blades completely following each usage. Make sure to wipe away any adhesive sap using a cloth coated in a reagent like vinegar or mineral solutions.

Difference Between Fig Bush And Fig Tree 

Fig TreeFig Bush
Fig Tree could develop to a height of 10 to 12 meters(equivalent to 33 to 40 feet). Fig Bush can develop to a maximum height of one meter(equivalent to 3 feet).
Fig Tree requires less pruning. Unlike a fig tree, a fig bush requires frequent pruning. 
Fig trees do not need to be cultivated in a container. In some cases, a fig bush can be cultivated in a container. 

Also, read below pruning guide blogs for various plants.

common Questions on How To Trim A Fig Tree?

Q1: Is It Ideal To Trim The Top Off A Fig Tree? 

Remove The Upper 24 Inches Of A Freshly Cultivated Fig Tree Out From The Topsoil. 

Q2: Is It Possible To Prune A Fig Tree Excessively? 

Whenever A Fig Is Trimmed Down Severely, It Must Be Permitted To Recover For At Most Two Years Without Hindrance Or Extra Cutting. 

Q3: Can Fig Tree Be Pruned Yearly? 

A Fig Tree’s Initial Year Or Possibly Two Of Growth Must Be Heavily Trimmed In Order To Teach Its Development Habit For The Years That Follows. 

Q4: What Is Bearing Wood On A Fig Tree? 

Fruiting Wood Indicates The Type Of Wood Which Would Produce Figs. 

Q5: How Can I Prune A Fig Tree To Make It Smaller? 

Trim Fig Trees Via Eliminating Any Stems That Aren’t Developing Out Of The Fruiting Wood You’ve Chosen. 


In this guide, we have understood the importance of pruning fig trees and How To Trim A Fig Tree [Fig Bush]. Reduce the height of primary fruiting wood stems by approximately a third. It would preserve the plant neat (as well as the figs easier to pluck), it will also prevent energies from being used on growth at the detriment of fruit development.  

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