Trimming a Fig Tree: How To Prune Figs To Increase Fig Harvest, 7 Easy Steps

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Gardening | January 5, 2024

Woman trimming a fig tree after learning the steps to prune a fig tree branches correctly, cut fig limbs for increased fig harvest, how to prune figs, and when to cut figs.

Trimming a Fig tree is one of the most important steps in caring for your tree, yet many people overlook the process.

However, pruning fig trees is crucial for supporting the production of fruit.

And, how you trim the tree impacts how much fruit the tree will grow.

Moreover, it’s important for making sure that your fig trees stay healthy.

This complete guide explains how trimming a fig tree works so that you can increase your harvest by pruning your tree correctly.

Trimming a Fig Tree: How To Trim Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees in Seven Steps

Here’s a close look at the steps you should follow to prune your fruit trees in Florida, or any other state for that matter.

The fig tree requires careful timing and cutting of branches.

1. Know When To Start Trimming a Fig Tree

The first step to pruning your tree is being aware of when you should prune it.3

If you live in a state with a cold winter, it’s advisable to consider trimming a Fig tree as the snowy season approaches.

A graphic guide to trimming Fiddle Leaf fig trees displaying two Fiddle Leaf Fig trees with a pointer indicating tips on how to trim a fig tree, accompanied by illustrations of pruning tools.

This is when the trees go dormant. If you have fruit trees in Texas or other warm states, your tree might not go dormant but you should still try to prune it when temperatures drop.

Young Fig trees should receive attention after the first growing season, and no sooner. Make sure you work on it before the spring arrives and fresh growth happens.

This will give your tree the greatest chance at a successful harvest.

2. Pick the Type of Pruning for Your Fig Bush

The age of the tree will impact the way you should prune it. If your tree is less than a year old and has never been pruned, you should give it a severe makeover.

Pay attention to how many leaves are on a tree and trim away about half of them. You should give the same type of pruning to a tree that’s in its second year of growth.

Meanwhile, an older tree needs less drastic pruning. If you’ve already trimmed the tree two times, you can reduce the number of cuts you make.

For a tree of this age, it’s more important to maintain the tree’s health. It’s ideal to prune back one-third or one-quarter of the tree.

3. Use the Right Tools on a Mature Fig Tree

No matter what type of pruning you’re doing, you should use pruning shears. If you use the wrong tool for the job, you could end up damaging the tree or hurting yourself.

Using pruning shears gives you a cleaner cut than using other gardening tools not intended for pruning.

There are several types of pruning shears. Bypass pruners are ideal for thin, green branches.4

If you have any dead wood, you need an anvil pruner. For large and thick branches, use your loppers.

4. Pick the Right Branches

When you’re pruning, start with the secondary branches. These branches grow from the fruiting branches.

Close-up of a Fig tree branch showcasing vibrant green leaves and young, unripe figs growing in a dense foliage background.

(Image: PublicDomainPictures9)

If you see any branches growing less than 45 degrees from the fruiting branches, trim them. Do the same for any branches that seem to rub against each other.

You should have a reason for removing every branch.

5. Remove Suckers From a Large Fig Tree

If you see suckers at the bottom of the tree, remove them. Suckers are what happens when the tree attempts to grow branches, but they come from the trunk of the tree.

Because suckers don’t grow properly, they take away nutrients from the tree and its figs.

6. Get Rid of Diseased or Dead Branches

While you’re pruning, look out for diseased branches. If you see any signs of damage or disease, remove the branches.

Be sure to remove any dead branches as well.

7. Pinch Out New Growth and Harmful Fruit

You can do this step while you’re doing your annual pruning or during any other time of the year. If you see any damaged fruit, remove it immediately.

Additionally, pinch out any new growth that’s trying to start taking over.

Trimming a Fig Tree: Why Should You Know How To Prune a Fig Tree?

Before you pull out the pruning shears, you may want to know why pruning Fig trees in pots or the ground matters.1 For one, pruning allows you to shape the tree.

If you have a young tree, it needs to grow in a certain way that’s conducive to fruiting. You can shape your tree in a goblet to optimize fruit production.

Regardless of the age of your tree, you should prune it to avoid damaged or poorly positioned branches. If branches rub together in the wind, they’ll have areas with no or thin bark.

These areas are prone to infection, and the tree could weaken. To avoid infections, you must remove damaged and crossed branches.

Get More Fruit By Knowing How To Prune a Fiddle Leaf Fig

One of the most obvious benefits of pruning is more fruit production.2 Typically, there are a few ways in which trimming a Fig tree branches results in more fruit.

First, there’s the issue of energy use. When a tree has a damaged branch, it wastes energy trying to heal the branch.

Close up of a Fig tree with veined leaves and several developing figs hanging from the stems.

(Image: 12138562O7)

You can ensure that the tree’s fruit receives all the energy it needs by pruning away branches with obvious issues.

Another reason for the increased fruiting is improved air and light. If your tree has too many branches, the inside branches may not receive much air or light.

By pruning the tree, you allow for more sunlight to reach the buds and leaves. The end result is fruit that’s more abundant and healthy.

Healthier Fruit by Pruning Fiddle Leaf Fig

Trimming a Fig tree not only ensures its health but also balances out fruit production.

If you don’t ever do maintenance and care by trimming a Fig tree, it could overproduce. In this case, the quality of the figs wouldn’t be as high.

Similarly, pruning reduces the risk of pests and disease.

A large fig harvest doesn’t do you much good if the tree has bugs or a disease. For the most healthy and abundant fruit harvest, you should make sure pruning is part of your Fiddle leaf fig care.

How To Find Professional Help To Prune Your Fig Tree

If you don’t have the time or tools for trimming a Fig tree, you can hire a professional. Look at a tree trimming cost calculator to get an approximate idea of the cost.

Usually, your quote is dependent on the company, tree size, and frequency of service.

A Fig tree with green leaves and sturdy branches, thriving on a sunlit hillside with a rugged cliff in the background.

(Image: hpgruesen8)

When you’re ready to hire a tree trimming service, don’t just pay attention to the price. Research the company and read online reviews.

Make sure it’s not a scam.5 Before you make a decision, make sure the company knows the proper way to trim a tree.

How Can You Be Sure the Company Knows How To Trim a Fig Tree?

The best way to find out if a company is proficient in trimming a Fig tree, is to talk to former customers. If your neighbor has Fig trees, ask them who they use for their trimming services.

If a client sees a large fig harvest after hiring a company for pruning, they’ve found a company that knows what they’re doing. Of course, you may not know someone who has any recommendations.

In this case, you can ask in a local social media group or talk to co-workers.

Avoid Red Flags

Unfortunately, there are companies out there that don’t do quality work. When you’re hunting for a company, be on the lookout for red flags.

If a quote comes in much lower than the average, the company is unlikely to do a good job.

You should also look for warning signs in the reviews. If multiple people echo the same issues in reviews, then avoid the company.

Poor communication, shoddy work, and property damage are a few comments you should look for in the reviews. Those experiences alert you that the company won’t perform well.

When your tree starts fruiting, you’ll see what a difference pruning can make on your harvest and how trimming a Fig tree correctly can increase your fruit yield.

Frequently Asked Questions About Trimming a Fig Tree

Is Pruning Fig Trees Difficult?

As long as you have the right pruning shears and know what to look for,6 pruning is very simple. It’s all about removing dead branches and making sure the tree directs enough energy to its fruit.

When Do Fig Trees Produce Fruit?

Fig trees usually produce fruit three to five years after planting. Typically, the fruit is ready for harvest in the summer or fall.

What Does a Fig Tree Look Like?

There are a variety of Fig trees, and each one has a unique appearance, but the common Fig tree has smooth gray bark, low canopy and dark green lobed leaves. As it bears fruit, the figs start out as small green balls and then develop a purple color as they ripen.

Can I Prune a Fig Tree in Summer?

You should do your major pruning in the winter. With that said, you can remove dead branches or diseased fruit any time of the year.

How Long Does It Take for a Tree To Grow?

Although it takes a Fig tree three to five years to start producing fruit, it tends to grow a great deal in the first few years. The plant focuses its energy on growth and not fruit production.

How Can You Tell If Pruning Is Successful?

Whether you do the pruning yourself or you hire someone to do it, the end result of a successful pruning is a healthy tree without any diseased or dead branches. When the fruit starts growing, it should look healthy and be in abundance.


1City of Seattle. (2023). Desert King Fig. Retrieved October 18, 2023, from <>

2Douglas, S. M. (2001, August). Pruning: An Introduction to Why, How, and When. Connecticut State: The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. Retrieved October 18, 2023, from <>

3Arbor Day Foundation. (2023). Tree Care Tips & Techniques. Arbor Day Foundation. Retrieved October 18, 2023, from <>

4Permaculture Education Center. (2023). Bypass Pruner. Permaculture Education Center. Retrieved October 18, 2023, from <>

5Federal Trade Commission. (2023, July). How To Avoid a Scam. Federal Trade Commission: Consumer Advice. Retrieved October 18, 2023, from <>

6Martin, B. (2021, January 6). All About Felco Pruning Shears. American Rose Society. Retrieved October 18, 2023, from <>

7Pruning Fig Tree Leaves Photo by 12138562O. Resized and Changed Format. Pixabay. Retrieved January 5, 2024 from <>

8Fig Tree Leaves and Branches Photo by hpgruesen. Resized and Changed Format. Pixabay. Retrieved January 5, 2024 from <>

9Fig Tree Branches Photo by PublicDomainPictures. Resized and Changed Format. Pixabay. Retrieved January 5, 2024 from <>