Would this work for Winter-Storage?

bonechickchris(7A/6B NJ 08731)November 8, 2011

HI everyone,

I have an over-wintering question.

I have a bunch of young fig trees from cuttings this year. I do not have a garage. I do have a basement, but even without the heat on, the one year I put them down there covered from light, and they still started to break domancy early, and would grow out white tipped leaves that were very weak, so I assume it was still too warm down there.

I live in NJ between zones 7A and 6B. Even though they are all varieties hardy to my area, I do not feel comfortable leaving them outside, even if covered, while still so young. I want to wait until they are atleast 3 years before leaving them outside.

The last couple of years, I have had to bring them into our sunroom. However, this year, I have so many, that it will be impossible to bring them all inside again this year. Plus, they tend to smell a bit in the house.

I did have an idea that I wanted to run by you all to see if you think this would work. I was thinking of buying one of those deck storage boxes and using it to store the figs in there along with wrapping them in burlap and blankets for extra protection.

I have one already and it seems it would work. It is also made out of the same materials I see some rubbermaid sheds made out of. I know that they are not that big, but there are a good 2-3 tall and 4-5 feet long. This would be big enough to atleast store my young plants.

Do you think along with some blankets, that this would be enough protection for a bunch of young figs still in 1 gallon containers?

I posted a link from home depot to show you some pics of what I am talking about.

Thanks everyone for your help! Christy

Here is a link that might be useful: Examples of Deck Boxes

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lukeott(7 south jersey)

Hello Christy,
Sounds like your close, i live in salem county,nj and this is my first year with figs also. Since i'm a beginner i will not try to tell you the best thing to do. The thing that the trees are very young and if allowed to freeze would be a bad thing. Even though your pretecting them from wind, ice, they can still freeze. I'm sure someone will come thru with the best advice for you, because there are some really good fig growers here. Wish you luck.


    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 8:27PM
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I think using the deck storage box, provided it is large enough, would give you a similar result as a detached, unheated garage which is what I will be using here in Maryland (also zone 6b/7a). You just want to make sure that you have enough room to insulate them. The only thing is that (at least with a dirt floor garage) some geothermal heat might have a significant effect with your fig containers sitting directly on the floor of the garage. I don't know how big this effect would be.

As you know I have a young Hardy Chicago which is about one foot tall. I am thinking of letting it go dormant and subject it to temperatures of around the 30-40 deg. F. range for maybe 2-3 weeks. Then I think I will bring it out of dormancy and grow it my office at work the rest of winter so that it is not subjected to the coldest part of winter in the garage. I only have one or two little trees so that it seems like the best solution. The larger ones I'll leave in the garage until spring.


    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 9:55PM
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I think that the storage boxes would help to protect them from the cold winds but I'm not sure that it would protect the roots from freezing. Being that they are young and in gallon pots and if you get very cold temps the roots might freeze killing the trees. If you could put some heat in there on exceptionally cold periods that would help them make it through the winter. Also I would position it where it's protected from the winds. I put my fig trees in an unheated garage in a wood frame covered with cardboard. On very cold periods I have a 40 watt light bulb that I put at the bottom with a deflector on it to spread the heat out and so no light shines on the trees, even though it is cold enough to keep them dormant.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 11:28PM
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bonechickchris(7A/6B NJ 08731)

Thanks everyone for the thoughts so far!

And Steve, good to hear from you! As you can see, I am trying to start to get back in the swing of things after all that has gone on. I will have to send you an email so we can see how are trees are doing.

Well, I thought that this box would be sort of the same as putting them in a shed. Maybe I could use a light of some sort.
Tony, how cold is it when you start to use the light?

I again, do have a basement, half finished has heat, but the unfinished concrete half does not have heat. Although we hardly ever put any heat on down there to begin with, so it could be considered as un-heated. But it seems to get warmth from the upstairs woodstove.

A few years ago, I put my huge celeste down there covered in November. It started to break dormancy in late January. If there was light down there, then it would be perfect. But without enough light, it would bud out, but would be white due to the lack of light and they would be leggy.

But I wonder if I should just try the basement again. It may have more sucess than the box outside?

Maybe I could bring light down there at some point.

Anyway, what do you think?

Thanks again! Christy

    Bookmark   November 9, 2011 at 1:51PM
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