Protecting fig tree in zone 6

qassim(6)November 13, 2007

I postedthis message yesterday (Nov. 12) but I could not see it listed in the forum so I am posting it again. Sorry if you received it earlier.

"This is the 2nd winter for my fig tree. Last year I did not provide any winter protection, it dies but it came back late spring. This year I erected a large tomato cage around the 3 ft tall tree, wrapped the cage with fence netting then filled the cage with straw coming from an old pale that was moist and have some rot. Do I need to replace the straw with a dry one or would you recommend a better method?"

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Get rid of the moist straw and replace it with whole dry leaves. Straw tends to compress and hold moisture, thus creating an environment for bacterial and fungal growth. Read the different threads on the forum concerning protecting trees in the Winter, you will find many methods, all of which work depending on the climate, etc.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2007 at 9:30AM
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pezzuti9(z5 PA)

Quassim--Watch out for the voles and moles. They seem to like the bark of the fig tree. Don't know if that is a concern in your area but here where I live in zone 6 between the 2 weeks of real bad weather and those varmints
After trying all sorts of protection with poor results I resorted to growing my figs and protecting them in my unheated garage as shown in the photos below. The ones that died back recovered but in my area the growing season is too short this way I was always blessed with figs every year.
Good luck
Sorry forgot to invert photos
Lou NE., PA

    Bookmark   November 13, 2007 at 11:33AM
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pezzuti9(z5 PA)

Not only did I forget to invert the photos but I live in zone 5 not 6 where you live qassim. Although I have seen a few planting zone maps that do indicate that I do live in zone 6 area (Unless Global Warming keeps going) I believe they are incorrect. When winter is truly here I know it is definitely zone 5.
Again forgive me

    Bookmark   November 13, 2007 at 11:50AM
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Lou, What is that white stuff on the first tree pics?

    Bookmark   November 13, 2007 at 4:29PM
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pezzuti9(z5 PA)

I believe you looking at white spray paint (don't think it did much good)I used when the field nice did a job on my trees a few years ago. That's why I wrap the bottom of the trunks ever since in Heavy-duty aluminum foil.

Every fall now I start setting mice traps in the garage to catch them critters. I replaced the rubber gasket at the bottom of my garage door three times already but they keep eating their they way through it at the right hand corner of the gasket just to get in.

Lou NE., PA

    Bookmark   November 13, 2007 at 6:16PM
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Thanks Lou for the informative pictures. Regarding the unheated garage, do you put on a space heater when it gets too cold like when it gets to say between minus 5C to 8C. I would like to keep my plants in the unheated garage rather than in the basement or patio room.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2007 at 9:25PM
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pezzuti9(z5 PA)

The garage is attached to my home (rancher) and is unheated. No space heater nothing. At first years ago I used to wrap the tubs as well in insulation then I tried thick sections of the Sunday papers but for years I have used nothing around the tubs and so far they stay fine.

loslunasfarms - The white marks on the tub on the first photo where caused by a faulty spray valve when I first tried using white paint to cover the areas of bark that the mice ate away.
Lou NE., PA

    Bookmark   November 14, 2007 at 8:25AM
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A plus for monitoring the behavior of unheated garages,
related to figs, is to have a min/max thermometer.
In my case last year, the minimum was 20*F with no loss.
My garage is detached but I did have a small eletcric
heater controlled by a thermostat kicking in at just
above the freezing temp (harder to find below 40*F).
George (NJ).

    Bookmark   November 14, 2007 at 4:58PM
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I grow figs both in NVA and on Cape Cod. Non moisture absorbing insulation is best. I perfer cranberry bog rakings, but tough to find outside of southern MA. Chopped leaves and dry straw are fine but only if kept dry. They turn into ice cubes if wet, then we get a deep freeze, certain to kill the plant back to the roots. The voles in NVA are the biggest threat particulary this time of year before the real cold hits.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 10:17AM
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I have nice plants but no fruit. I bet it is because everything dies back in the winter.. Can I dig them up and put them in pots for the winter? I have a garage with a BIG south window.. Temperature in the garage is 66 in the winter. should I bring them in before the first frost? Should I water since I have the big window and nice temperature? THANKS !!!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 5:34PM
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