How to "Pinch" or "Tip" Fig Trees (even in warm climates)
Check out our latest video on pinching:
Pinching or tipping is the process of removing the fig tree's apical buds of the fruiting branches. This changes the auxin within the plant and allows the tree to focus on fruiting and putting out additional branches to achieve dominance once again.
A link to a study mentioning pinching fig trees: https://patents.google.com/patent/US7818915B1/en
"Nipping or pinching differs from normal pruning as the operation involves the immature tissue of the shoot before significant secondary growth has commenced. As mentioned above, the shoots that were newly induced by pruning, rapidly set fruit buds. The nipping process diverts the plant's energy (i.e., sugars) and hormones into those fruit buds greatly accelerating their development and unexpectedly improving the quality of the resulting fruit. By the use of nipping, the midsummer lull between the breba figs (fruit buds from the previous growth season) and the “second crop” figs (fruit buds from the current growth season) is reduced or eliminated, allowing production of high quality fruit at a time when fig trees undergoing cultivation by ordinary methods would have none. By providing fruit at a normal “off time”, the method allows one to have fruit from spring through the summer into the autumn and even year round. Not only is the “rare” summer fruit of higher value, it is more likely to gain customer acceptance by having figs available essentially all year long. However, mere pruning of shoots is not always sufficient. Tests have demonstrated that winter pruning not only helps shape the tree, but can also stimulate the development of breba fruits. Particularly where vertical shoots show “blank” regions—that is, lengths of a vertical shoot where brebas should have developed, but failed to appear—dormant pruning to remove the top several nodes above the blank region causes brebas to develop in the blank region. During the growing season pruning can control the fruit production. It can enhance early maturation of the summer crop before mid to late summer when the market is often loaded with figs and the fig prices are low. In addition, this pruning can enhance the fall crop by removing the summer crop figs before they develop and by stimulating vigorous new growth that will bear the second crop of fruit. Such normal pruning is supplemented with nipping or pinching of the apical bud during the growth season. After winter pruning has forced the growth of new shoots, the apical buds of those new shoots are crushed or nipped when the shoot has attained a length of about 5-10 nodes."