It may be late in some climates, and early in others. Here in SW Washington state, my fig trees are at the 4 to 6 leaf stage.
I originally read about pinching the stems on a New Zealand website that is defunct. I saw on other websites that people did this too, or cut with scissors, or pruners, or fingernail.
When the growing tip is removed from fig stems, fig production is stimulated in the proximal leaf nodes. I assume that happens because the growing tip produces hormones that inhibit growth at the nodes, and removal of the tip dis-inhibits that growth.
Regardless of the reason, I find that in my short summer, cool climate, stimulating early fig formation gives me an earlier crop. I remove the tip growth when there are about 4 to 6 leaves per stem.
Bend the growing tip.
The stem tip is brittle. It snaps off at about a 90 degree angle.
Soon figs will form at each node.
I find several benefits from using the snapping method.
No tools are needed. I don’t have to remember a tool.
There is no cross contamination of plant virus from one fig tree to another.
I don’t get fig latex under my fingernails.
The benefits from removing the growth tip.
Early and more prolific production of figs. Again, in my climate.
Tree growth is controlled. The tree size remains smaller, and branches ramify lower, easier to reach, and the tree is easier to cover to protect figs from birds.
Containerized trees also remain smaller, with more, shorter branches.