Getting my fig baby through the winter

rachegarden(7a)October 4, 2013

I have a very healthy and fast growing cutting from a wonderful fig tree (I think a brown turkey but not positive) that used to grow close to our house. We had the tree cut down this summer after a termite treatment around the perimeter of the house rendered the figs unsafe to eat. I planted the cutting out in a pot about 3 months ago, when it had 2 tiny leaves at the top. Since then it has grown a couple of feet, has many beautiful mature looking leaves, and even got some tiny figs.

Now I need to get it through the winter. I have read on this forum about overwintering potted figs in an unheated shed. However, I�m thinking more and more about planting the tree out this fall. I have a spot about 10 feet from the house, which would offer protection from southwest winds but would be far enough to avoid the pesticide treatment. (Roughly the same position in relation to the house as the old tree, just farther away.)

As far as overwintering in a shed, We have 2 sheds, an old one on a slab, and a new one on cinder blocks. The one on the slab is prone to rodents, so I�m a little worried about possible damage from them. The newer one is probably safer from rodents, as it has no obvious cracks or holes, but I�m guessing it would be colder if not on a slab, though it is certainly sealed up better than the other.

I�d appreciate any advice about planting out, as well as thoughts on overwintering in one of our sheds. I loved the mama tree and I love the baby. I have a "backup" small Chicago fig tree that I purchased this summer, but it�s just not the same!

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ottawan_z5a

Better wait and plant it in the ground during your spring time. For storage using the cinder block shed will be Ok. It may not be colder than the the one on the slab. For added protection during the first year, cover your plant with a couple of layers of burlap, after shedding leaves, including the pot. Do it after temperature gets to freezing. Bring it out in the spring and plant it when the ground warms up.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 1:32AM
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ottawan_z5a

You have to watch and make sure that the soil stay moist and not dried during the storage period. Make sure temperatuires in storage are don't drop more than a couple of degrees below freezing.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 1:37AM
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brenda_md(7a)

I purchased and planted a Chicago fig last fall to replace one I removed from along my house foundation. I was concerned about its winter survival since I was placing it in a very open area that did not provide any protection from drying northwest winter winds. Fortunately, there was a fig article in a gardening magazine about the same time that said to wrap burlap around the fig and fill it with dry leaves for over wintering. So that is what I did--drove four tall stakes in the ground, wrapped the burlap around it, and filled it with leaves. However, I did find out that after a rainfall, the leaves significantly compacted down such that I had to add more to fully cover the plant.

I was concerned in the spring that it did not survive as I saw no new growth shooting up from the ground. (My original fig always died back each year and then put up new growth in late spring.) However, when I scratch checked the actual stems, they were still green and did not die off. The Chicago fig is one that awakens very late from the winter and with the late spring we had this year, it was even later. I will do the same process this year for overwintering while it is still small. One thing I did do when I planted it last fall was to water in a root stimulating fertilizer called Roots to help encourage root development until the ground froze. If you decide to plant your fig vice keeping it in the pot, I would recommend doing this.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 10:32AM
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barnhardt9999(8a)

You can make a small fence around it from chicken wire and fill it with leaves and pine needles. Just make sure to have extra leaves on hand to top it off as they break down. You will be enriching your soil and giving your tree lots of time to keep growing new roots through the winter. It will be significantly ahead of a tree potted then planted in the spring.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 3:46PM
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