I think my figs died over winter

GreenEnvy22May 14, 2014

We live in the Niagara region in Southern Ontario, Canada.
We bough a house 2 years ago that has a bunch of fruit trees and grapes.

We have 2 fig trees that are up against our garage, they look to have been there about 10 years. Our back yard backs onto a park so it gets a lot of wind.

Winter 2012-2013 I wrapped the figs in burlap and then in a black cloth sheet. They survived great and we had a great harvest in fall 2013.

Winter 2013-2014 I did the same thing, but it was a bitterly cold winter. This spring the branches are all dry and snap off easily. Our grapes, apples, pears, rapsberries, strawberries, and blackberries, which were all just left exposed over the winter have all got leaves and/or blossoms on them already. The figs however seem dead.

So my biggest question is are they likely totally dead, or will they come back next year? anything i should do to help?


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I have a similar question. I got 2 fig trees last year. I live in Indianapolis. I put them in the garage(they are in pots) over the winder. It is an unheated garage. They were never exposed to freezing temperatures as a result.

I trimmed them in January.

They are not blooming now...its Mid May. The branches are really hard, but they have white flesh inside! So I was taking that as if they are still alive?

I am keeping the trees outside...it was warm the last couple of weeks but now again in the 50s...but raining a lot.

Are they still alive?


    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 11:06AM
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fig_insanity Z7a E TN

Ususer, the best way to tell if your figs are alive, but still dormant, is to check for green buds at the ends of the twigs, as well as gently scratching through the surface bark with a thumbnail. If the inner bark is still green, you should be good. As a precaution, if the trees haven't broken dormancy yet, you don't want the roots to be cold AND wet. It's a recipe for rot. Remember that edible figs are natives of Mediterranean/Middle Eastern climates.

GreenEnvy22...there is still hope. You can do the "bark scratch test" as well. Start high on the trunk, and work your way down. If you run into green inner bark, there's a chance the fig will sprout from there. But your best chance is for new growth from below ground. I gave some recommendations on another thread for treating new growth. Since you're so far north, I would suggest extra, EXTRA winter protection for any growth you get this year, assuming you can get it mature. If it doesn't lignify before winter, it WILL die back again. See the other thread below. You'll have to scroll down a good way to find my post.

Here is a link that might be useful: Coaxing a dead fig to life

This post was edited by fig_insanity on Thu, May 15, 14 at 22:34

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 8:16PM
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I think my fig is dead too--I didn't even think about trying to protect it this winter : (
I scratched the bark in several places but don't see green--I will go back out there and pray as I check farther down on the trunk. I did see a few leaves coming out of the bottom so I will follow your instructions in the other thread, but I think it may be better to just buy another tree.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 8:25PM
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I had two fig trees which had fried buds at the end and really dark dead looking branches. My trees budded out later than usual and started from the base of the tree and worked their way up the trunk. I almost ripped out an olive tree that pretty much all of the branches had died on, but it also started sprouting buds and now has small leaves. I would wait since my spring is probably a good month before yours.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 8:44AM
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