How to Prep Fig Tree for Winter

AnnaAAugust 25, 2012

Hello Everyone,

I have an Italian Honey (forget exact title) fig tree, 2nd year in the ground, that has grown like crazy this summer. I've read that I'm to cut it back and then wrap for the winter later this fall, but am not feeling secure with the instructions.

Any recommendations from experienced fig tree owners?

Also, earlier in the spring, a bird chipped away at the bark of one of my major center limbs. Seems to be surviving this injury. But is this common? Didn't see the bird, so no idea what kind.

Got about 15 large, plump, sweet figs, and dozens of babies on its 2nd round, but not sure they will mature in time.

Thanks everyone.

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Provided you are in zone 8, your fig should not need any particular winter care. There are many well-established and quite large fig trees in this area. A planting location out of direct winter wind is most desirable and a siting that benefits from reflected heat (south/west side of a structure, paved area nearby, etc.) which is typically recommended for successful fruiting will generally assure very good winter hardiness.

If exposed to a lot of winter wind, some sort of wind protection may be advisable, but wrapping would not be my suggestion. A hard winter can cause some dieback but that should be addressed after winter as temps moderate. Younger figs can sometimes die back to the roots if exposed to prolonged cold temps but will rebound from those roots in spring. More established trees generally suffer nothing more than some tip dieback.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 1:59PM
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Thank you gardengal48. Yes, zone 8, and the tree is close to a fence that provides a good wind break.

Is it still advisable to trim it back this fall, or just wait till spring to see what damage winter temps bring?

The tree wasn't protected last winter, and other than the spring bird attack, it did quite well.

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 9:38PM
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George Three LLC

i wouldn't sweat it. figs are pretty reliable in portland. ive seen some VERY LARGE established fig trees.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 10:26PM
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Scrub jays here seem to want nesting material either dead or alive and will try to peck/wrestle living parts out of trees.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 10:29PM
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Ahh, this is a relief. One less task on my emerging fall list. Thanks all. And I will keep an eye on Scrub jays!

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 1:14AM
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The Italian Honey produce two crops every year. The breba(1st crop) grows from last season's branch, and the main crop (2nd crop) grows from current season's branch. In PNW weather, we may not have 2nd crop due to our short & mild summer. Therefore, just prune it for the shape of the fig tree. If you cut back everything, you probably will not have any fig (breba) to eat next year.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 3:22AM
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Pyxistort - this is very helpful. I understood the 2nd crop is unlikely to mature in time due to our short summers here. But their names and growth habit are extremely helpful, and is a great guide to pruning.

My father had a sprawling fig tree, heavy producer, that he cut back and wrapped each winter (north east). This is not my father's tree (or zone)!

Thanks all

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 11:09PM
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