[NAFEX] cutting back tops after root pruning

Alan Haigh alandhaigh at gmail.com
Wed Aug 6 06:36:16 EDT 2008

I'd like to offer a different opinion then the posted suggestion of cutting
back the branches of a potted fig tree after damaging (pruning) its root
system. This is in the context of a potted tree that is allowed to spread it
rooots in the ground underneath its pot. It has been well researched by Carl
Whitcomb and others that trees with reduced root systems usually don't
recover more affectively when top pruned to compensate.

In the case of a fruit tree, reduced root tends to lead to greater
fruitfulness while reduced top leads to more vegetative growth.  I reduce
the top to stimulate growth only when I desire more vegetative growth.  My
fig trees never respond to root pruning with substantial die-back of
branches.  I suggest you study this yourself by leaving roots unpruned and
watch the results.

Alan Haigh, Home Orchard Co. Zone 6, Southeastern NY
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