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Establishing Young Fig Trees: the Proper Form

Getting your young fig trees established can be very simple when following the steps listed in my YouTube playlist specifically designed for exactly this. See my recent video on pruning them below:



In this blog post, I specifically want to touch on the form of our young fig trees. Simply put we're aiming to establish permanent scaffolds. Between 2-5 scaffolds that are long (20 inches of longer) and have the right growing angle (30-50 degrees) for maximum sunlight penetration. The length and angle are super important for opening up the canopy because without proper sunlight penetration, fruit bud formation will not occur.


Fortunately, some of you may have a fig variety that won't need too much more sunlight penetration than it naturally has. It's very possible that your fig variety (because the genetics are vastly different) won't need any human intervention, but a variety that I often refer to called Smith, has very erect growth. The angle of your tree's scaffolds could be on a 75 degree angle versus a 30-50 degree angle. Therefore limiting light penetration into the center of the canopy permanently. Regardless of your climate or if your tree is in 16 hours of sunlight per day, this could be the issue as to why your tree is not fruiting!


With enough time and maturity, your tree will mostly fix this issue, but in the end it will have taken longer and production will certainly be lower. This is why getting the form straight from the beginning is immensely important and really can be achieved with a few simply and easy steps.


If growing as a bush, the scaffolds are simply at the ground level. See the graphic below for more information.


The longer your scaffolds, the more fruiting branches your tree can afford. The more fruiting branches, the more fruits your tree will produce. Scaffolds should be 18-30 inches in length for containers. 30 or more inches in length when growing in the ground. Space fruiting branches at 8-14 inches apart (ideally 12) depending on the variety. Thin in the spring at maturity to maintain that spacing.


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