Freeze Protection

Pappy52(9A)December 25, 2012

Burlap wrapping

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Pappy52(9A)

Photo

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 10:20AM
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foolishpleasure

Lots of work. Mine are in pots and I take inside. It was easy when I had 4 trees now with over 20 trees it is a back breaking job to move 20 gallon pots inside even I have rollers it still very difficult for an old man.
Abe

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 10:14PM
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Pappy52(9A)

Abe,
Moving 20 trees, wow. A lot of room required if they are big.
That may be more work than wrapping.
My wrapping is experimental and not even sure if it will work out. South Texas doesn't have a lot of extreme cold but last year they burnt to the ground. So trying to give them a chance this year. Merry Christmas

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 12:32AM
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Pappy52(9A)

Abe,
Moving 20 trees, wow. A lot of room required if they are big.
That may be more work than wrapping.
My wrapping is experimental and not even sure if it will work out. South Texas doesn't have a lot of extreme cold but last year they burnt to the ground. So trying to give them a chance this year. Merry Christmas

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 3:26PM
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cazimere(MD 7)

What kind of figs are you growing that can't survive a south texas winter ?

    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 6:51AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

cazimere:

I understand your question and would also like to know the answer as well as where Pappy52 is located. But Texas may not be quite what you think, not necessarily a fig haven.

I have relatives in Baltimore and they claim only a light freeze so far. The records on weather.com say Baltimore this month has had a high of 69 low 34. In San Antonio those numbers are 84/29. Where I'm at in Alpine officially z8a, 79/16.

We've been in the teens and the 70s each of the last three weeks and it hasn't frozen yet in Baltimore!! These are normal numbers in Texas, hot one day freezing the next. That's hard on figs and most other plants.

This post was edited by fruitnut on Thu, Dec 27, 12 at 23:27

    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 11:30AM
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Pappy52(9A)

Cazimere/Fruitnut

I live in Victoria Tx. As Fruitnut explained, the temp swings. We may not have but a few day/nights below freezing...but if the temp stays down for "x" number of hours, it will freeze the figs. They literally turned black last year. We only had 2 hard freezes and took all of them to the ground. Amazingly they came back by April and grew and produced fruit. The root system must be strong.
I am growing Celeste and Kadota figs. The Celeste is one of the most cold hardiness but nevertheless took a hit.
Now, I believe that once the tree trunks become aged and hardened...the trees should be good on their own. I am hoping anyway.
Happy New Year to Y'all.
Matthew 7:12

    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 3:44PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Thanks Pappy, my Celeste outdoors has never made the winter without freezing back. Don't know how it will ever get big that way. I'm growing very good figs in my greenhouse but have never had one good fig outdoors in 8 years. Hope your crop is big this year!!

    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 4:55PM
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Pappy52(9A)

My exact thoughts, how will I ever get big trees if they freeze back each year. This is either my 8th or 9th year also. I should have already had large trees with bumper crops. The orchard is in an open area with no northerly protection. I am hoping this burlap will do.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 12:29AM
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cazimere(MD 7)

I use wind protection the first 2 winters. No protection after that with no die back. I get 2 weeks with single digit temps at night.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 5:42AM
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cazimere(MD 7)

For wind protection i've used plastic,landscaping cloth or house wrap as in this pic : )

    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 7:23AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Wow Pappy you are 8-9 years and your plants are no bigger than that!!!!! That's stunning really!! Victoria is so much warmer in winter than where cazimere is in MD. It's really no comparison.

Here's a comparison of January temperatures:
Baltimore ave 41/24 in January, -7F all time low, Z8a?
Victoria ave 65/43 in January, 9F all time low, Z9a
Alpine ave 60/31 in January, -3F all time low, Z8a

Figs apparently do much better with constant cold than with fluctuating winter temperatures. I've noted over many years that figs survive better in zones 6-7 in places like NJ, MD, VA, etc in the Northest than they do here in TX. But I didn't realize that Texas issues continued almost to the gulf coast. I'm stunned and amazed!!

I covered my Celeste one winter. I had a huge pile of leaves over the plant. That was covered with tarps and old carpet. I thought sure I was home free. It didn't make any difference.

But there are a few larger figs around here maybe 8ft tall in open areas and 10-15ft on hillsides with better air drainage. So maybe you have hope Pappy.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 10:45AM
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Pappy52(9A)

I hear you Fruitnut. Believe me, it has been a depressive 8-9 years trying to get them going. Not only the cold, but the deer have been instrumental in tearing, stripping and right down vandalizing the trees. Grandson and I put up an electric fence (diagonal layout) that has helped greatly...but an 8' wildlife fence is the only sure cure.
I was advised by the nursery, I use, not to use plastic. It doesn't breathe around the tree properly...plus it retains the cold.
They suggested old bedsheets. I did some research and found that burlap is the best freeze protection (so they said). Since I could not find enough bedsheets, I elected to try burlap...(4'x 100yds/roll @ $150).
With the low temps here lately, no obvious damage as of yet. Fingers crossed
Pappy
Matthew 7:12

    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 2:10PM
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cazimere(MD 7)

You would not want to use plastic if your wrapping the plant like you have with burlap, but for a wind blocker it's fine. My plastic/fabric does not touch the plant and the bottom is not sealed to the ground, so it breathes.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 2:50PM
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joeworm

pappy i think clear plastic would serve you better for a good solar effect. the limbs that touch the burlap or plastic will more likely freeze. you need to have an air layer between the cover and any branches/limbs. the clear plastic should cover the trees so they are completely sealed. burlap over the plastic for extra protection. works for me in florida on freezing nights.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 4:30PM
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wisner_gw wisner

Was the ground real dry when you got the cold damage? I heard that well moistened soil helps protect against freezing. Also, if you keep the soil free of vegetation under your trees it helps give heat to the trees. Maybe you could plant some kind of windbreak of fast growing trees on the north side of your orchard.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 10:07PM
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Pappy52(9A)

I believe you are correct,Wisner about the moisture. They should have been OK, I have a drip system. In the winter I do greatly reduce the amount of water.
The vegetation issue is an interesting one. I have purposely let the grass grow under and around the trees, starting around September. My thought was that it would help to insulate the base of the trees. Since I have been consistent with this practice, maybe I have been doing the opposite of what I really needed to ?....Thanks
Happy New Year
Matthew 7:12

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 12:23AM
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Pappy52(9A)

Another interesting theory, Joeworm. You may be 100% correct. I was not sure what to use. I just knew I had to give some kinda protection to them.
Like you say, air space is required in doing insulation work...so it makes sense it is needed here too.
We have been having some freezing weather recently so hopefully it only freezes the points of contact.
Thanks for the info
Happy New Year
Matthew 7:12

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 12:34AM
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wisner_gw wisner

Another suggestion is how much are you fertilizing them? If you are fertilizing late in the season and getting a lot of tender growth you would increase your chance of cold damage.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 9:02AM
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Pappy52(9A)

I have maintained a regular schedule for fertilizing. March,May and July being the last application due to exactly what your saying Wisner.
Fertilizing figs seems to be an interesting issue also. The majority of articles I have read..suggest not to fertilize fig trees, even in the poorest soils. They say fertilizer will grow the tree at the expense of fig production. I understand that, I guess...but I have wanted to grow my trees first and then worry about the fig crops.
Thanks again Wisner
Pappy
Matthew 7:12

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 11:38AM
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wisner_gw wisner

I'd suggest that you leave off the May and July fertilization and see if the growth is more cold hardy when winter hits. Your trees may go dormant earlier and be better prepared for winter.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 1:52PM
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Pappy52(9A)

Will try that Wisner. I was having figs all the way into December, so the cutback on fertilize might be a good experiment.
Pappy
Matthew 7:12

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 1:59PM
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fignewbies

Hi,

I saw this website for winterizing figs for a harsh winter:

http://www.italiansrus.com/articles/figtreewinterizing.htm

maybe you can take some information for your use!

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 3:23PM
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Pappy52(9A)

Thanks Fignewbies. I can use all the info I can get.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 4:03PM
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baust55(5)

I am considering trying the Hardy Chicago Fig .
I thought i might plant it neer the top of a southwest bank and also plant some pampas grass on the figs north and east side for wind protection in the winter . even then i expect it will freeze down to the ground.

i tried growing figs a few years ago with cuttings members here sent me but they all died when i was in the hospital ..ha fell off a roof .

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 3:13PM
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