Making the Cut – Pruning 1000001

Nobody is born knowing this. But at some point in our lives, we need to be able to cut things out that are not working for us. In my case, it is a huge, ginormous, annoying fig tree that I carried from Brooklyn then to Port Monmouth, then here to my current abode. And stood back to let it grow. 

With every contrite apology to those who are purists, as I’ve become over the years, I let that thing grow to its heart’s desire. Now, I have a fig tree that totally takes over a part of my yard and makes it impossible not only to work or grow anything there, but it doesn’t even give me figs, that soft, luscious fruit that others bring inside by the bucketful.

Here’s what happened. 

As a good steward of the land, I thought it would be just perfect if I could promote the fruiting of this plant by cutting back the stems each year. The plant will fruit only on new growth, so logically the more it sprouted, the better my bucketload will be. Wrong. Cutting the plant back creates another issue. The fig plant will run underground. It will send out shoots and come up where it wants. Am I hearing shouts of “bamboo?”


Sure enough, over the years, this little “tree” became a “shrub” and from there grew into a “grove.” This plant is native to areas of the world that are dry, hot, sparse in nutrients, and in reaction to its needs, it sought soil that was sort of bare and weedy and not in the shade of my border trees.
Now the issue is that it grew so dense, and the leaves, itchy, hot, huge, block any access to that part of the yard.
So Jim and I acquired a small cedar that had gotten itself into a bad place in Mom’s yard, and been knocked over during a storm. It was nearly sideways, and already exposing some roots. Pulling it up was not so difficult; neither was transporting it to the area behind the fig tree. 
But the really special moment was finding a small evergreen that I had planted there, thinking it would be really unhappy, and not hoping for any success, thriving and happy.
It is doing fine, as is the small cedar. Both are filling in nicely, but will have to help me in the spring as I go about eradicating the now hated fig plant.
Just as in life, pulling and chopping and lopping and cutting sometimes results in a fresh, young outlook that we had forgotten to use. My trees will be refuge for birds and squirrels, but my fig tree will be rotting stumps forgotten over time as nothing but an eyesore that should not have been nurtured to the point where it took over my yard.
No longer will I have to field the dreaded query “did you get any figs?” The answer had been “no no no” for many many years, and I will be glad to be rid of the reminder not only of a failed effort at growing fruit, but the threat of an invasive plant that only took up room.
Farewell to growing figs. Hello new trees, and birds and wildlife and the wind blowing fragrant through the cedar. 

I have pruned.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s