|Fig "Aubique Petite" before pruning. 1.19.15|
|Fig "Aubique Petite" after pruning. 1.19.15|
Both bear mainly on new growth in fall - "Main Crop" but get a few summer figs on the previous year's growth - "breba figs". If these were mainly breba varieties, pruning much of the growth now could mean loss of much of next summer's crop. Since they are mostly main crop, production will not be so affected.
The goal was to make them a bit more compact while still having an open center, with the branches like the sides of a bowl.
I started by standing back and selecting which branches to remove close to the main trunk and scaffold branches. With each cut, I backed up again to see if I really wanted to remove the next branch.
Once I removed the larger branches, I used the pruning shears to remove smaller ones, aiming always for a bowl shape with open center, and branches not spreading as far and wide. Finally, I trimmed off some that looked frost damaged, and cut the tips from some to encourage close-in branching.
I'm happy with the results. The trees are likely to respond with a burst of growth, but also have lots of figs that ripen nicely due to more sun exposure in the trees. If I want to net the trees, it will be easier.
The last photo shows the cut end of a branch. These fig trees seem to make multiple rings per year. The branch can't be more than 14 years old, and probably more like 12. I planted the tree 14 years ago.
|Fig "Hardy Chicago" before pruning. 1.19.15|
|Fig "Hardy Chicago" after pruning. 1.19.15|
|Tree rings on 13-year old fig branch. Ficus carica "Petite Aubique". 1.19.15|