Chicago Hardy Fig Next to House?

TheBiscottiApril 17, 2012

Greetings! I bought a Chicago Hardy Fig here in Maryland. The best place I have to plant it is at the right front of my house where it will get southern exposure and be blocked by northern winds from the house. I read that some fig trees can have very invasive root systems so I am a little nervous of planting it close to the foundation. Is the Chicago Hardy fig one of the invasive species? I researched quite a bit and could not find the answer. Any help about how far away from the house would be great. I was thinking about 4 or 5 feet away...Thanks!

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I would not worry too much about the root system of a fig tree. Even in the extreme, all you have to do plunge a sharp spade around the outside of the root zone, and sever overly long roots that are wandering. That's one option. You could also plant the tree in a very large container that has drainage holes drilled into the sides....not in the bottom, but only the sides...and then sink the container and the tree into the ground by 1/3 to 1/2 the height of the container, mulch the area, and let the tree grow in this fashion. In the Spring, run a spade around the perimeter of the container, and again, sever wandering roots. If drainage holes are in the bottom of this container, you will not be able to cut any roots that grow from out of the bottom area without lifting the tree. Avoid a hernia. Roots growing out of the sides of a container are easier to cut, trim, and control. After the initial set-up, growing the tree is easy, and fun.

Relax, and enjoy your new tree. Eat a Biscotti, sip some your new tree grow. Life is good!

If this is the first time that you are growing a fig tree, search this forum for answers to all your problems. This is the place to get answers, and advice from experienced growers. Forget the books. Ask here, and you shall receive.


Biscotti....How big is this new tree?

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 12:07PM
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Thanks Frank. I get accused of thinking too much all the time. I like planning out my gardens for future enjoyment. The tree is about a foot and a half. I like the idea of the container�how big would you suggest. I would probably keep the tree to no bigger than 10-12'�I am thinking anyway...again.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 2:17PM
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Planning ahead is good. It eliminates surprises.

Your tree is years away from the ultimate size that it will eventually grow. You can easily train it to grow just to the size you want/need it to be by careful nipping, and maybe some pruning, but you need to decide if this will be a multi-stem "bush", or, a single-stem tree. How you train this small tree will determine how much space it will take. Once established, and given the proper growing conditions, your new fig tree will grow very quickly, so have some king of plan in mind...planning is good in this case.

You say you are located in Maryland. Find your climate zone. That's important. Figs are not carefree, and perfectly hardy where you are, "Hardy Chicago" can still be damaged in very cold, harsh, temps. In-ground trees may need some protection. Search this site for growing in-ground, and for containerized trees, and if you need clarifications about these two, very different methods of growing figs, ask'll get your answers. If you have an unheated garage where your tree can be stored for the winter, you could containerize the tree, sink it into the ground for the warmer months then lift it and store it in the garage, container and all, until the following spring. Home Depot sells 18 gallon, plastic storage tubs that will make very good containers for fig tree growing. If you think the tree would weigh too much, roll the tree around on a dolly. That's how I grow my containers.

You have options. Figure out what you want, then ask questions, however, a 10-12 ft tree is fairly large for either method of growing. Most forum members kepp their tress a little smaller and therefore easier to manage and maintain.

You'll be fine. Hope this helps.


    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 3:24PM
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Sorry for the typos in my last post to you....I was in a hurry, as usual.

This site may give you a better idea of what can be done with fig trees. Go to: Bill's Figs...located in Flemington, NJ. take a look at his growing methods for "containerized" fig trees. Nice guy, very helpful.

Between you and I... winter-weather protection will be your main problems, not growing the fig, no mater which method you use. A small tree like yours will need some special treatment until it gets much larger. If your tree doubles in size this season, and then dies back, you'll be back to square one, next spring. Figs need protection. Something to think about. We all do.


    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 4:50PM
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You rock Frank! I will heed your advice and make some decisions. Have a great afternoon! BTW didn't even notice any typos I was focusing on the info!

Kind regards,


    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 4:54PM
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I am just starting to grow figs in Maryland also. I have one in the ground that I protected this past winter (its first winter). Of course it was a ridiculously mild winter but it came through with little or no damage. I have a few other figs in containers. I eventually plan to plant one or two of these it the ground. None of my in-ground figs will have protection on the south side of the house as you describe. From what I know of others who have grown figs in this area for many years it is not a problem to grow figs in the ground even without protection if they are sheltered from northerly winds.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 9:55PM
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I think you are right. Now that I look for them, I see tons of fig trees in MoCo and DC.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 12:32PM
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Zone 7A is NOT sub-tropical, and all you will need is just one bad season, and your trees will either be damaged, or killed.

Micro-climates might give you some protection, but the south side of your house could also work to your disadvantage if the day temps in full-sun, heat your trees and cause them to push premature growth. Then, a few nights of low temps. will blast all the new tender growth, and possibly kill it off. Then, what have you gained?

Just something to consider.


    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 2:58PM
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