Fig Tree Froze to Ground Every Year (Wrapped)

achang89(Z6)August 13, 2014

My neighbor has a fig tree for quite several years. We do not know the exact variety. Each year, they wrapped the fig tree very tight. Not sure what material, but looks thick enough.

But each year, the plant froze to the ground. So the tree re-grow again. I looked at the tree last week, it is about 5' tall, but I did not see any fruits.

I'm not sure if they have got any fruits. If any, probably very few.

Here I just wonder what type of protection the owners can do to protect the tree in order to get any fruits? It is just frustrating to re-start it again and again.

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Your neighbors and other growers of fig trees in your climate zone can expect their trees to freeze to the ground and then re-sprout ....maybe...each year. In colder climates, fig trees do not do well unless extraordinary precautions are taken to protect the wood and roots from damages due to sub-freezing temperatures. Wrapping trees will not protect the roots in really bad years. Many growers dig a deep trench and bent the trees sideways, and bury the fig trees under 1 foot of soil/sand, and then heavily mulch.

Last winter the weather was so freezing cold, and for so long, that many growers lost their trees. At best, the trees froze to the ground and re-sprouted new stems from the roots. If this happens on a regular schedule, you are essentially growing just rooted cuttings, and your trees will have to expend tremendous amounts of reserved energy just to regrow what was killed off by the cold temps. The figs that may form will form late in the season and may, or may not have time to ripen.

Growing trees planted in the ground in colder climates is a crap shoot. You may get away with your trees escaping damages for a number of years...if, the winters are mild...but all it takes is just one bad winter to wipe out your trees. Then you can start over. The younger the trees, the more susceptible to winter damages, but even older, established trees can be killed or badly damaged.

Thousands of fig trees in and around NYC were killed. Those that survived are now re-growing complete new canopies. NYC is zone-7, but temps. rarely go into the single digits. Most years, the winter temps. are in the high 20s to mid 30s, or higher. Yet, for years, in ground trees were never damaged. Some NYC fig trees had trunks 5"-8" in diameter. Now, they are dead. Zone-6 is considerably worse than NYC.


    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 2:48PM
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living in Massachusetts my dad and I never experienced extreme die-back. maybe an occasional tip of a branch, but never die-back to the ground. my dads tree was probably 12-14' high and about 8' wide. every year on thanksgiving weekend we would rake up all the leaves in the yard and pile them up near the fig tree. we would tie up the branches to condense the tree. we would then start to stuff the leaves in between the branches to the point that it was a solid mass of leaves. then we would wrap the tree w/ a blue tarp starting from the ground on up. as we would get several feet up we would stuff more leaves and then wrap some more and stuff some more till we got to the very top. we would wrap a rope around the tarp as we made our way up. once at the top we would stuff some more leaves till we couldn't get anymore in. at this point it looked like a giant blue burrito. we then would place a smaller blue tarp over the top to cover the opening and tie that up. this was only done with dry leaves. some years we would fill bags of dry leaves and store them incase it would rain before covering the tree. I've helped several friends do their trees this exact way with no issues, even with the hard winter we just had last year. I know this sounds like a lot of work but it really isn't. leaves are free, and very light when dry.

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 1:49PM
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Similar to what 2nd poster mentioned about trench method as i have seen it work for many years back in the 60 and 70s in our colder zone in Chicago with some relatives who grew the fig trees in their yard.
After bringing branches together with twine and wrapping with burlap tree is put into trench.

Whats important is to put a board on top then shovel dirt over it
lots of dirt.
If done proper it will look like fresh grave burial.
The board is used as in spring when digging out it protects
the limbs from the shovel.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 7:48PM
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We had two precocious figs in my yard in NYC all through the 50's, and 60's and many of those years were brutally cold and neither of our fig bushes died back.

IIRC we tied the branches tight vertically, wrapped them in newspaper, tied the bundle with twine, wrapped it again in tar paper which was folded over the top, and on the bottom the the tar paper was formed over a 3" or so deep trench dug all around the bush. The tar paper looked like a flared skirt. Then soil was thrown on top of the skirt of tar paper.

The whole thing was tied up with twine or rope and when the thaw came we saw buds really soon, never lost a branch.

I don't think it took more than 30 minutes per bush, but it was worth it!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 6:11PM
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I believe my neighbor only wrapped the tree with some blanket and tarp. No leaves, or other protection.

I'm planning to plant 3 of my fig trees in the ground. I'll leave one in a pot and take it back to garage in the winter. One of the trees is the "Chicago Hardy" and I still do not know if I should wrap it.

One of the tree is from my neighbor's tree. So I know I'll have to wrap it. The other one is unknown. So I'll leave it outside for one winter to see how it does.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 9:58PM
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