tempted to cut back a few of my young fig trees

fernando-grow(8)June 18, 2011

i lost quiet a few young fig trees this winter and most of them came back. i noticed the ones that returned actually came back with an excellerated growth. the root system sent up many shoots and i had to prune out the bushyness in them. it leads me to think that the next time i plant a young tree that maybe i will cut it back down to the ground when it goes dormant. my thought is that letting the root system sleep all winter long without having to support a young tree would force the energy into the root system and hopefully come spring the root system will send up shoots that also have excellerated growth. the second advantage i see is that with all the shoots coming up i can leave a few extra until they go dormant and then use them as cuttings to propagate.

the one drawback that i see is that the root system may continue sending up suckers and will need pruning for quiet a while. i feel that every time a sucker is removed from the root system it exposes that root to injury or disease. maybe or maybe not but i do like what i'm seeing in the return growth of my winter killed trees. some of them have exceeded last years growth plus produced figs. i did by the way fertilize them in feb. with 888.

one more observation on my fig trees was that some of them were slower to die than others when i thought they had made it through the winter. some of my two year old trees actually started to bud out only to stop and slowly die off. most later came back from the root system. my two year old tena lived through the freeze but never really took off. the leaves seemed anemic and yellow all the way until june and as the suckers took off from the root system and exceeded the height of last years tree, i lobbed off the unhealthy growth. by that time the leaves were dieing or dead. the strange thing was that that tree never recovered from the freeze but hung on until june. i lost 22 young trees and all but 5 came back.

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I bet Most figs you lost are from California Collection.
I suspect Fig mosaic virus do them in,more than Winter cold.
Cutting to the ground in Fall is not a good idea,in my opinion.
Fertilizing much also make them less cold resistant.
Tena is a very much FMV,infected fig,which I had to discard here too.
Here in zone 6b,I lost:
MG gt 6
Schar Amber
Improved Celeste
All young ,one year old trees.
About 25 young ,new cultivars survived.
I bented them down,and placed some soil in top of them.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 1:10PM
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thanks for the feed back herman. most of the trees i lost this winter were improved celeste although a black mission, golden celeste, kodata, native black, and a few others. the results of seeing the new grow from young trees that died during the winter still amazes me. my thoughts are that if roots supported the tree although dormat til it died, then topping it in the fall and allowing the roots to force its energy downward during the winter. come spring a healthier root system that slept during the winter without nurturing a tree should be able to really force its energy upward into a faster growing tree. i fertilized in early spring to prevent tender growth from going into the winter.
i have a few young trees that i may try this with in the fall. i will compare them to the others not cropped and comppare their growth in the spring. it's a good way not to worry about your tree dieing in the winter if it isn't there. we shall see.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 12:21AM
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