How to Prune a Fig Tree in the Fall


Fig trees, known botanically as the Ficus carica species, should be pruned in the fall or winter after the fruit harvest, if at all. This timing will allow the tree to recover without completely disrupting flowering and fruiting the following spring and summer. When pruned in the fall the fig tree will produce its fruit the following summer. Later pruning pushes the fruit harvest back until the following fall.

Step 1

Remove any damaged, dying, dead or diseased branches, fruit and foliage that you find. Cut back any branches that cross and abrade one another back to their parent branch. Pull all cuttings from the canopy and collect them up from the soil to prevent the harboring of disease.

Step 2

Thin the interior branch structure sufficiently to ensure that sunlight can easily penetrate into the fig tree canopy and air flow is good between the branches. Cut the ends of the branches as needed to reduce the size of the canopy. Cut back any upright water sprouts or sucker growth from the trunk.

Step 3

Trim the shape of the fig tree canopy to be more symmetrical, round or distinctively tree or lollipop-shaped as you desire. Remove only as much plant tissue as needed and never more than one-third of the canopy in any one session to prevent stress and shock to your fig tree.

Things You'll Need

  • Secateurs
  • Long-handled loppers


  • Purdue University: Fig
  • University of Arizona: Ficus Carica Edible Fig
Keywords: pruning fig trees, cutting back ficus carica, trimming fig fruit tree

About this Author

An omni-curious communications professional, Dena Kane has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals, as well as film and broadcast media. Kane studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.