Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Pruning the fig

You may remember that I pruned the branches of the fig for the first time ever (at least since it had been an infuriatingly unnamed cutting in some nursery on Long Island) about ten days ago. Of course, where the new shoots will pop out is anyone's guess and I am alarmed at the thought that its carefully cultivated shape will go to hell.

Yesterday, after Vince lifted the pot down for me, I attacked the roots. It took longer than in previous years, with me sawing down onto the root mass, along all the edges and then pulling on the fig to coax it out of the pot, and then sawing some more, and then pulling. At one point I was balanced on one leg, the other foot pressed against the pot on the table, one arm pulling, the other hand sawing. Quite a picture. Especially since I was wearing a new Quebecois hat with furry ear flaps.

At last I was able to free the newly shorn root mass, and then, once it was on the stone table, free of its pot, I sawed some more, cutting some rather large roots from the edges, and loosening as many as possible. I removed about one third of the total root ball.

Then back it went, with some Espoma Organic Potting Mix (in February, it is harder than usual to find potting soil in the hood). I watered it in thoroughly, although the freezing deluge we enjoyed last night would have done it for me.

When the weather warms, I will start to feed it. Hopefully it will look like this, again, soon.


  1. When you described struggling with the fig while wearing earflaps, I had a mental image of Ignatius in A Confederacy of Dunces. I wish Estorbo knew how to work a camera.

    I will plan to root prune my fig next week.

  2. outstanding post, and you and the fig were also standing.. out...

  3. Kudos for doing it on such a yucky day. I don't have your dedication. I love the montage of fig photos, tho. A good reminder of what a great tree it is - and will be again in just a few months.

  4. Your post is very timely for me. I just ordered a baby fig tree (Negronne) from a nursery that specializes in fruit trees. The stuff I am reading seems to say that I should prune off the top, leaving about 2-3 leaves/buds do develop into the main branches for the tree, and the shape of your fig seems to suggest I should do that (you wound up with two main branches here). I'll confess I'm a lttle nervious about pruning a "baby." Do you think I should do what the internet says?

  5. Can you give us the link to the post where you pruned the top of the fig tree? I'm so impressed that you can keep it outside, and that you are brave to do all this root trimming etc. It will be fun to see how things go this summer.

  6. I found your other post:
    Now i am in good shape, right? In the know.

  7. This post reminds me that I have to buy a new saw and act soon!

  8. Brave woman!!! I have yet to do this to my potted fig trees.


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