Figless In Ground Ronde de Bordeaux-

A dozen figs total in four years despite no added water or fertilizer, limiting it to 5 or so main stems and tip pinching. 3 tiny figs this year. All figs fruiting nicely near it. Full sun, heavily mulched.

Rank grower. Two vertical feet of last year’s branches survived winter.

@PharmerDrewee suggests phosphate fertilizer. @Ahmad suggests re-plant it in a 15 gal grow bag in ground to inhibit roots enough that above ground growth can catch up.

I wonder about root pruning and when to do it?
Or remove mulch and let it compete with lawn to slow down its growth?

Other ideas?


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Where it’s at letting the grass grow in and compete is the best idea. After they freeze back it can be hard to get them to fruit. You’ve got the right ideas. I’m not a believer in P helping much if any. It can’t hurt. You’ve got to slow it down.


Thanks. I was able to keep two feet of the tops alive thru winter, apparently that’s not enough. Oh boy, have to build something for winterizing. Or yank this one out and plant more Takoma Violet that fruits like a factory.


@fruitnut- How about root pruning now?

I guess it probably won’t hurt. But my experience is that overly vigorous plants don’t turn on a dime. You are looking at next yr to make any real difference. If you can slow the growth it will not only increase fruiting potential but it will allow the plant to harden off better in fall. That could make a difference in winter survival.


I do not know if root pruning would be the answer unless it was in a pot. If it’s in the ground, it will be busy building it’s root structure and this can take time. In-ground trees can sometimes take 2-3 years to really start producing. Yours has the added problem of freezing back.


Is that one bush or several? I’d stop pinching it. Leave it
alone and let it grow.


My take away: more important for this variety than most to insure no winter dieback.

What about continuing to allow only 5 or so stems? Does that improve fruiting odds?

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I don’t think it has any vigor, that’s what I think. I’d leave it alone too and never pinch or if it shows signs of wanting to profusely sucker, then cut the above off and “let it go…”

Sometimes ya gotta stop pruning trees/stuff in general.


I’ve been intentionally trying to reduce its vigor because RdB is famous for being excessively vigorous to the detriment of fruit, when in ground.t

Maybe lay it down now ( tie down sideways ) to make a “step over fig” ,
Will be easyer to cover it the fall,and may survive better , ? ? ?

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Good idea. Thanks.

I don’t have much fig experience- three years or so- but Takoma Violet shines so far in comparison to RdB and AJH for fruitfulness. Battaglia Green also doing a good job. All with the same winter dieback that messes up AJH and RdB but not Battaglia or Takoma Violet.

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What I’ve noticed in the past is RdB sets most of its fruit after about the tenth leaf when it dies back. I protected ~15 this winter but have not really checked on fruit set yet. They do bend easy, the wood is really flexible. A bunch are planted on a slope that drains fast, they tend to grow a lot less, have not been more productive for it unfortunately…


@hoosierbanana After tenth leaf- really glad you shared that info. That explains a lot of what I’m seeing. RdB looks more and more like a pot candidate, if a person wants to mess with all that entails.

So forget pinching RdB?

I don’t pinch anymore. In the past I have thinned growths in May, then again in July to remove the ones that did not set fruit. I skipped May last year, and it seemed like I had more growths with fruit in July.


@hoosierbanana Excellent. So did you also stop thinning stems?

No, I still do that. Will get started next week.

I will grow RdB unpruned, unpinched, un-thinned for a coupel years and hope it fruits better.