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I purchased a Mrs Williams fig recently, with the intention of growing it espalier fashion. The plant has a left and right branch, but no central leader to take it up to the next stage. What do I do to encourage a central leader, and a what time of year?

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There are a few espelier patterns you can choose. Figs respond well to a Fan shape. Which is good news as it does not rely on a strong central leader for the shape. Figs are a type that produce fruit on new wood. The tree will branch out from where you have cut it back. Select the shoots required to make your fan shape pattern. Train these shoots up bamboo canes tied between the wires. Branching off the main limbs will produce the fruit. With many fruit types these branches will need to be removed and renewal branches selected after fruit has been produced.

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