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Fig tree

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Planting a fruit tree on a dwarfing rootstock next to a house is fine because they have weak roots & could never threaten the foundations (though there's at least one plum/peach rootstock that can sucker metres away).

But be aware that some pre-Victorian houses are on wildly different foundations - sometimes none at all (which is fine for a wooden house - so it depends on how much brick was added by later idiots).

On the other hand figs and grapes can be pruned to any size so they aren't worth the trouble of grafting in this way - you just have to keep pruning.

If you don't prune a fig it can reach 15m (and a grape vine could run right through that and come out the top).

If you were planting the fig you would try to constrain the roots to force the fig to push more energy into fruit (this is better than pruning and also means less pruning) but that normally involves building it a stone 'coffin' with a base of rubble
(see ).

If you have thin soil over bedrock then your fig is already constrained enough - but it will still root sideways.
If your soil is very heavy you can do without a container for a few years (maybe as much as 10 on solid clay) before the fig gets too comfortable & starts making less fruit and far more branches and leaves instead.  Many people then start trenching and prune the roots they can find, others just replace it with a new tree, I don't know anyone who has managed by just top pruning, but the extreme Japanese method might just do the trick: .

I'd say if it is small then dig it up (now) & move it into a strong 'coffin', if it is medium try pruning, if it is large either get it out or go Japanese on it - before your insurers get to hear about it (they often over-react even to modern apple/pear trees - they would have a fit if they saw a big fig).


Wow thank you very much such an extensive and helpful response. The house itself was built in the 1980s and I have only just moved into it. It's in very good shape but as I explained, seems to have been planted very close to the house. I fear (maybe I'm wrong) that the roots may disturb the foundations of the house. 😊

I have had no personal experience with insurers, but I know they are nervous beasts with very little knowledge about trees.

A few years ago the sight of any tree anywhere near a house would cause them to go ballistic. At best they might require the tree to be "assessed" - with you picking up the bill. Nowadays some have learned about apple trees, but probably not all yet.

Basically if you dig down a few cm. and find a strong 'coffin' around and under it, you could expose it and then choose to fight the case. If there isn't root containment it's no good anyway, and any replacement planting needs to be done properly and further from the house.

However if you have got a properly root-constrained fig and keep it well pruned so it's really small insurers are probably too dim to notice it's not actually a bush - so Japanese pruning is your best bet.


Thank you so very much.  I'll need to look into that once I've got round to emptying my boxed. 😊

Hi Marian. Another consideration is wasps. It will attract a lot. Do you even like figs? I like figs but there's only so many that you can eat without side effects. Your neighbours will appreciate them. Houses eh; always problems _ should have kept on your boat!


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