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saramc

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Registered: 04/03/11
Posts: 487
Reply with quote  #1 
I have been trying to find anything explaining the bud and branch system of the fig.  I found this link, http://www.sicktree.com/Basic%20Principles%20of%20Pruning%20Woody%20Plants.htm  but was wondering if anyone else had anything else that may help those of us new to figs?

Thanks in advance. 

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~Sara~
Suburb near Louisville, KY//zone 5b-6b
satellitehead

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Reply with quote  #2 
I probably can't help, but I am curious to know:  What - specifically - are you curious about or wanting to understand? 

If that question doesn't fit, then I would ask:  What are you expecting to accomplish which you feel you cannot currently accomplish?

The only thing I figs have a pith between nodes.   At the seam of the nodes, there is a clearly visible line, and you will always have a leaf/leaf scar under this seam, and a bud above the seam. 

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Jason
Atlanta/Grant Park area - z8
nypd5229

Registered: 11/22/10
Posts: 1,909
Reply with quote  #3 
What is your exact question?

Are you looking for shaping intructions? You can shape shape figs to be short and bushy or tall and more tree like.

Are you looking for fruit development quickly along with good branching? Pinch with fingers when young and soft after 5th or 6th leaf, Will ecourage branching as well as fruit development.

You can structure it w/o ever using a pruner.  Balance is key.

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Dominick
Zone 6a-MA
saramc

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Reply with quote  #4 
Oh sorry, I guess a basic question would be easier.... how about shaping/pruning guideline, all will be container figs. And need to make sure I understand apical (that is the one that is at the top portion?) and terminal branch/bud??  I assume those are anything that is not the apical branch/bud??  As my first year cuttings/plants take off, what am I supposed to pinch/remove?

I guess that is enough to get me started.  And sorry for not being clear enough.  Thanks!

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~Sara~
Suburb near Louisville, KY//zone 5b-6b
satellitehead

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Reply with quote  #5 
Apical bud and terminal bud are one in the same.  This is basically the very tip of a branch.  Are you sure you don't mean axillary bud and terminal bud?

The terminal bud can cause all axillary buds to remain dormant.  I believe this is how "pinching" works:  When you pinch the terminal bud, this triggers the axillary buds to come to life. 

(NOTE: I only know this because I grow heirloom tomatoes and peppers, it may not apply to figs).

In tomatoes and peppers, Axillary buds are the ones present just above most leaves.  Figs appear to have a bud above leaves also, but I don't know it's called the same thing.

EDIT:  See this chart I just found, it may help:  http://www.cactus-art.biz/note-book/Dictionary/Dictionary_A/dictionary_apical_bud.htm

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Jason
Atlanta/Grant Park area - z8
saramc

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Reply with quote  #6 

See, I did not know apical and terminal were the same...so confusing.   I think I am going to try to locate a class in my area, or go talk to some local nursery folks. 


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~Sara~
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Pami225

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by satellitehead

The terminal bud can cause all axillary buds to remain dormant.  I believe this is how "pinching" works:  When you pinch the terminal bud, this triggers the axillary buds to come to life. 



Is this recommended?  And if so, when?  I know my little plants
are nowhere near ready for pinching, but when the time comes,
I want to know how to do what's best for them.

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Pami
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satellitehead

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Reply with quote  #8 
I have never pinched in my life.

Many people pinch to encourage branching and/or control height and/or make more branches to encourage more fruit production.

YMMV may apply here:  "Your Mileage May Vary".

Someone who pinches can probably chime in and sell the virtues of pinching.  I personally prefer upright tree format and manual pruning.

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Jason
Atlanta/Grant Park area - z8
Pami225

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Reply with quote  #9 

Quote:
Originally Posted by satellitehead
I have never pinched in my life.

Many people pinch to encourage branching and/or control height and/or make more branches to encourage more fruit production.

YMMV may apply here:  "Your Mileage May Vary".

Someone who pinches can probably chime in and sell the virtues of pinching.  I personally prefer upright tree format and manual pruning.


Hmmm...
when I have more trees (spoken like a true addict),
I may have to do an experiment with 2 similar trees-
one pinched, and one not.

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Pami
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satellitehead

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Reply with quote  #10 

I can tell you what should happen. 

Click the link I posted a couple of messages above.

Picture that you have pinched off the bud at the end of the stick (the terminal bud) in that picture.  When the terminal bud has been damaged and cannot grow, one or more of the six pictured axillary/lateral buds will start to branch as an 'emergency response' to this terminal bud damage. 

If the terminal bud is left unpinched, the tree will continue to (for the most part) grow up, vertically, as the terminal bud will grow, grow grow.  The axillary buds may or may not grow on occasion to create branches (there are several stimuli like sun or other conditions that may cause axillary buds to create new branches).

This is a survival response - Once you pinch that terminal bud, the tree can no longer continue to grow up vertically (b/c that bud is damaged), and this causes the axillary buds "kick in" to create new branches in compensation. It may be just one single axillary bud awakening for form a branch, or it may be several of them. 

One point to note is that when the axillary bud starts growing and forming a branch, it then becomes a terminal bud ;) 


Also important to note - if there are no axillary buds on a branch, pinching the terminal bud of that branch won't do much of anything ;)

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Jason
Atlanta/Grant Park area - z8
saramc

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Reply with quote  #11 
I am starting to see the light. So, Jason, you don't do anything to encourage your trees to branch out, just let nature take its course, and then manually prune?

Pami--thanks for helping out.  I just want to make sure I do the right thing at the right time, assuming I don't kill my cuttings and little trees before that time comes! (gasp gasp, tears)

Any pinchers out there??



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~Sara~
Suburb near Louisville, KY//zone 5b-6b
satellitehead

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Reply with quote  #12 
That is correct.  I'm a "shears" kinda guy.  Let it grow and shape it up.  If I don't like the direction it's growing, I cut back to just above an axillary bud and almost everything will begin branching at that bud.

I think it's all in what you want to accomplish and your personal taste. 

I like trees and shrubs that look tall and erect (beauty, in my eyes), and if fruit comes along for the ride, great.  I feel like pinching would reduce the look of my trees at the sacrifice of more fruit.

I guess some people want fruit, fruit, fruit in a nice and squat format....

Maybe some people want to Espallier their trees for the sake of conforming to a structure or for appearnce...

Variety is the spice of life.... right?  ;)

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Jason
Atlanta/Grant Park area - z8
will

Registered: 03/22/10
Posts: 227
Reply with quote  #13 

well put jason

Pami225

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Reply with quote  #14 

Quote:
Originally Posted by saramc
I am starting to see the light. So, Jason, you don't do anything to encourage your trees to branch out, just let nature take its course, and then manually prune?

Pami--thanks for helping out.  I just want to make sure I do the right thing at the right time, assuming I don't kill my cuttings and little trees before that time comes! (gasp gasp, tears)

Any pinchers out there??



I'm trying to learn, too!  I only have four trees- and two of them
aren't much more than a stick with a few leaves popping out here
and there.  I just want to do what's best for them.  If I were to
lose one or two, I would lose 25 or 50% of my entire collection!

That being said, I believe I will leave the pinching for those who
actually know what they're doing.  I can always prune when they
go dormant, before they are moved to the garage for the winter,
right? 

When I get more experience with these plants, I may try to root
some cuttings and do an experiment with two similar specimens-
one pinched, and one pruned- just to see what my preference
would be for future endeavors.

You joined shortly after I did, and we have similar zones, so I do
make sure to read the posts you write.  I figure you'll have questions
that I haven't yet thought to ask- and possibly vice-versa.  I believe
we could use the same advice and suggestions, zone-wise.

Best of luck to you with your figs, saramc!!

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Pami
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saramc

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Posts: 487
Reply with quote  #15 
Thanks Pami...I have been reading your posts/threads also, as I realized you had joined at similar time and we both are new.  So we can accomplish 2 things with 1 post!!!  It is good that we are in similar climates also!   Best of luck with your plants.  Keep us posted.

Fixing to go sit on my deck and wait for a group of teens that have decided to use the back yard as their shortcut on the way to the lake (also in my backyard). They trampled my blackberries, uprooted 2 vines completely out of the ground; and broke a blueberry shrub in pieces.  They had to have done that on purpose, as it was quite visible where they were walking and the vines extend(ed) quite a bit into the air.  The blueberry was in a designated bed.  I don't get it....why??Husband noticed all the damage after they came thru.  I think we will be having a chat.  No respect for private property!!  I would love to see their faces if my German Shepherd got loose (tame as can be, but they don't know that...big dog, ferocious bark and he does not like people in the yard---dog was on a walk when teens came thru). 

Thanks for all the info everyone!!!

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~Sara~
Suburb near Louisville, KY//zone 5b-6b
timclymer

Registered: 03/16/11
Posts: 269
Reply with quote  #16 
I'm new here but I might be able to chime in.

In my understanding, the terminal bud typically stays growing because of a trait of plants called apical dominance, facilitated through a chemical called auxin.  There is a fairly high concentration of auxin in the apical (terminal) bud.  Interrupting this flow by pinching or simply trimming back the plant will shift concentrations of auxin within the plant and trigger branching at the lateral buds.  The flow of auxin can also be disrupted by bending or wounding the plant as well, as can be done in budding to force a bud to break or in certain forms of training plants.


Plants that tend to grow straight up with no branching are considered to have strong apical dominance while plants that tend to branch readily are considered to have weak apical dominance.  Not sure where figs fall into this category.

I actually just pinched off the tip of my ~15" tall fig to see if I could encourage it to branch fairly low since I live in a cold climate and want a sort of multi-trunked tree.

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South Central PA (6b,7a)
Want List: LaRadek's EBT, Fico Preto, Malone, Ital 258, any figs found growing in PA, NJ, or NY
Dieseler

Registered: 07/10/08
Posts: 8,268
Reply with quote  #17 

Timclymer your very right !. 
 I posted this in past about fig tree whips .

Hi Sal,
the airlayer thing is fun . Im sure soon you will have another panache plant.
I hate to beat a dead horse but if once you have another and want to experiment with the parent plant cut the top growth off one season when you still have lot of growing season left.
Im not trying to sound like a know it all only i go by what i seen in response
in my plants.

When sometimes our fig plant grow like whips its best to cut the top because those buds on top have the apical dominance and keep most of the lower nodes "dormant" and not sprouting anything or very minor. Most will grow and look like if i may a palm tree with a skiny main trunk.

By cutting the top of main your sending downwards the energy (Auxins) that will get plant bushier down lower.

Either way i hope to see pictures of your airlayer and eventual fruit, i hope mine makes it out of dormancy and fruits this season and we can share pictures.

Also i add today 5.13.11
Now my pananche did make it out of dormancy and is doing the fig shuffle.





saramc

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Reply with quote  #18 
@Martin....at what point is it recommended that you "top" the fig, if all you have is a whip and you want to see if this will stimulate any lower branching.  At what height for a container plant??   And if you do that, not to sound stupid, but the tree will normally gain in height with the next years growth, right?

@timclymer....the link I posted in my beginning note actually has info about apical dominance and auxin, etc.   But please keep us posted about how your tree responds with being pinched at 15".  

Thanks!

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~Sara~
Suburb near Louisville, KY//zone 5b-6b
Dieseler

Registered: 07/10/08
Posts: 8,268
Reply with quote  #19 
Saramc, it depends on the growers choice how tall he wants his plant.
Once top is severed it will develop shoots near that point and  some down lower one can create a rather nice canopy from them to develop a nice looking plant in tree form.
You just pick and choose as you watch the new form shoots grow as to which to keep.
I grow in containers and favor tree form or the "slingshot"  form i call it. 

 You ask

And if you do that, not to sound stupid, but the tree will normally gain in height with the next years growth, right?

 To me no stupid questions from someone basically just starting out.

same year you can get height if thats what you want simply because one or more of those shoots  will point upwards and some will be growing sideways .
By picking and choosing you can shape a canopy.

Fertilizing a tree also can have big effects on fig trees growing in pots. Nitrogen can make a fig tree grow quickly but can also harm it if given late in season. 

Fig trees can be manipulated in different ways in my experience growing in pots, bush form , tree form, larger figs by certain ways of pruning and also to make sweeter figs or less sweeter figs.
You want a sweet fig raise up the ph.
Grow a fig in real acidic soil and it will produce but figs will not be as sweet.
General rule is first year fig trees usually dont produce many figs .
Some second year trees of mine did well producing several dozen figs and third year they did very well.

Not all fig trees are created equal though in growth habits .

There are the exceptions as some figs trees just are slow growers at the onset , then some just want grow to the sky which have to be taken care of in ones climate before cold season begins or there will be damage in storage.


Little by little as you get familar with your trees you will see how they respond to certain things you do to your trees.  



Dieseler

Registered: 07/10/08
Posts: 8,268
Reply with quote  #20 
Saramc ,
here is example of how some fig tree's can produce in there second full season. Again not all trees are equal in production or growth , some grow slower than others. Mind you my climate is not florida or california and i do grow in pots and get a jump start on season and have helped my next door neighbor with a propagated plant i gave him called Violet de Bordeaux shown here along with my second season Dark Portuguese.

Attached Images
jpeg Dark_Portuguese_17.jpg (120.55 KB, 22 views)
jpeg Violet_de_Bordeaux_3.jpg (132.98 KB, 18 views)

nypd5229

Registered: 11/22/10
Posts: 1,909
Reply with quote  #21 

I'm seeing words like 'Dominance' and 'Whips'!
 
I must be on the wrong 'fun' forum! HAHA

Just Joking


Here are pics of a few fig trees breaking dormancy.

Branching-No terminal- La Goccia d'Oro



Black Triana- Terminal bud-Branching


Marseilles VS-Pinched- formed another branch


As you can see I have branching occuring on its own without pinching, with pinching, and because it was a cutting with no terminal bud.


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Dominick
Zone 6a-MA
saramc

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Posts: 487
Reply with quote  #22 
@Dominick...your whips and dominance note has me ROFL, tears in eyes...seriously!  The pictures are most helpful.

@Martin...thank you for your patience.

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~Sara~
Suburb near Louisville, KY//zone 5b-6b
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