Figs are great plants to grow – plant them in a sunny, sheltered spot and they’ll reward you with a lush, leafy canopy and tasty figs. They’re also extremely vigorous, so require regular annual pruning to keep them in check.
Figs and other plants prone to bleeding, like acers and laburnum, should be pruned in winter to stop sap bleeding from the wounds. Pruning a fig tree at the wrong time, during spring for example, can cause them to bleed profusely. This loss of sap can weaken the plant and in extreme cases may cause death.
Keep your fig tree productive by following our simple steps to giving it a winter prune, below.
Create an open framework
When pruning a fig tree, aim to give the fig an open framework and control its size. Cut several of the oldest, woodiest stems down to the base.
Sawing a thick, old stem from the centre of a fig tree
Cut disrupting stems
With fan-trained figs, prune out any stems that disrupt the framework of straight stems radiating out from a short trunk.
Pruning an errant stem from a fan-trained fig tree
Prune thick stems
Cut thick stems (3cm or more across) with a pruning saw, which cuts on the pull stroke.
Cutting a thick stem from the centre of a fig tree using a pruning saw