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Ficus Lyrata (Fiddle Leaf Fig) Notching Question

6 years ago
last modified: 6 years ago

I have a question about encouraging branching on my Fiddle Leaf Fig tree. I bought it as a single stem 5' plant about a year ago from the Home Depot. Last summer it had a lot of new growth but to encourage back budding/branching I cut the top off (where the horizontal line is in the photo) in late August. As a result, it grew two new branches (see arrows) over the winter. Question #1: the leaves on one of the branches are pretty spaced out. To encourage denser foliage, should I now prune these branches back? Is it ok to do that in mid-March in NorCal or should I wait a few more months?

While not obvious in the photo, the tree is now lopsided and I'd like to encourage at least 1 or 2 branches on the opposite side of the stalk. I tried notching it last year (before I resorted to cutting the top off) in order to get a branch in a precise location but nothing happened. I used a sharp knife to make a wedge (see photo). Question #2: Did I not cut deep enough? Or did I not notch in the right place? Any advice for a successful notch?

The tree wasn't in the best shape when I bought it and had quite a bit of leaf damage. Really hoping to get it to fill out so I can take off some of the torn/brown leaves. Thanks in advance for any advice!

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