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Do you have a fig tree?

Posted by carol6ma_7ari zones 6 %26 7a (My Page) on
Mon, Mar 18, 13 at 9:39

I'm thinking of getting a Brown Turkey fig tree which would be planted outdoors where I am, on the lowest edge of zone 7. Does anyone else in New England have one? Bill6RI, I seem to recall it was part of your list of zone-pushings.

Carol


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Do you have a fig tree?

I am interested in this, too. Someone was selling little ones at the Tilton NH farmers market (I think they will be available at the Tilton Agway) and said they could be over-wintered in a garage.

How soon a plant like this start producing fruit? From what I've read it takes 2-3 years.


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RE: Do you have a fig tree?

Carol,

Yes I do have one. I have no idea what kind it is since it was given to my father years ago from a family friend. I used to protect it years ago, but I'm no longer able to do all that work. It has fended for itself for the past 15 years or so. Most years it dies back to a couple of feet from the ground, but still barely has time to ripen a few figs. The past two winters it didn't die back at all and now it's about 8 feet high with multiple branches. I looked at it the other day and it seems fine even at the tips of the branches, so we'll see how it goes.

The figs are the purplish kind, and I have a feeling that it may have come from Italy years ago since the family friend was Italian and who knows where he got it from, not to mention how it got past the agricultural inspection.....

I can give you a cutting or two if you'd like. I understand that they root fairly easily but I've never tried.

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RE: Do you have a fig tree?

Ooooh, Defrost, you enabler. I'm only a few minutes from the Tilton Farmer's Market. I've always wanted a fig, and until it gets big there's a spot in a south-facing unused bedroom it could overwinter in.


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RE: Do you have a fig tree?

NHBabs, if you leave the potted plant outside until a killing frost it will be leafless and dormant. Then you can overwinter it in a cool spot, even if it's dark. A basement or garage might do as long as it doesn't get really cold (say no lower than 20?). Hold watering to a minimum to discourage early breaking of dormancy until it's warm enough to set it outside again. I did that for a few years with another white (green?) fig and got fruit every year. But then I got too lazy to schlep it in and out of the cellar. It was in a pretty big (i.e. HEAVY!) pot after a few years and so I planted it in the ground, but it died after the first winter. Must have been a very tender type.

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RE: Do you have a fig tree?

Logees has a hardy fig - I know nothing about these but it's an intriguing idea!

Here is a link that might be useful: Chicago Hardy Fig at Logees


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RE: Do you have a fig tree?

Two Brown Turkey Fig trees in my yard. Both loose about 6 inches of top growth a year, but not to the ground in the past four years. I suggest if you were you were to plant it in the ground, try the warmest place possible (near an air vent and/or along the foundation of your house) The heat will encourage the fruit to ripen, thus the plant will yield more fruit for the season.


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RE: Do you have a fig tree?

There are a number of people down here in the New Bedford area that have large UNPROTECTED fig trees planted in the ground--and they produce lots of figs every year. I bought a dwarf Blackjack Fig at Haskell's in New Bedford a few years ago. The tag said it is hardy to zero degrees (zone 7). Even though my location is right on the edge of zone 7, I planted it in a large pot and overwintered it in the garage. It has reliably produced figs each year. But I moved it out of the garage into the yard at the end of February to keep it dormant because I am planting it in the ground this spring to see how it fares--as an experiment (I am tired of schlepping it around and it has become too tall for my garage!). But just to echo what Bill said. Do not water until you can bring it outdoors if overwintering in the garage. I gave it a drink mid-winter a few years ago and the thing started to grow--robustly--in total darkness! It sent out new- very pale yellow--almost white---foliage along with a bunch of baby figs by the start of March! The added problem was my garage tends to be warm. But--I just pruned it all back later in spring, fertilized it heavily, and then put it in a hot sunny spot. It regrew just fine with figs.


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RE: Do you have a fig tree?

I just planted a few figs down here in MA last year, I believe Chicago Hardy. They appear to have had no problem over the winter, although I did cover with many leaves.

They are supposed to be able to come back from dying to the ground if the roots don't freeze, and once established be able to provide fruit that same year. We shall see. :)


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RE: Do you have a fig tree?

I picked up an Afgan Fig last fall. It's suppose to be a 1/2 zone hardier than other Figs. We'll see what happens. The Fig I have in my garden now dies back to the mulch line each season including last winter which was very mild.......i guess I need to try another type. Bill, I can't wait to see your big Fig.


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RE: Do you have a fig tree?

I had good luck over-wintering lemon verbena in our semi-heated garage/north window for several years until I didn't start watering it soon enough one spring. That plant also goes dormant.

Many years ago I read of burying a fig tree for the winter. It was layed down in a trench and covered. I think only some of the roots were severed.

NHbabs, I'm pretty sure the fig tree guy sells them thru the Tilton Agway. You can call. The winter market ends at the end of March. I haven't been in several weeks.


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RE: Do you have a fig tree?

There's a man in Roslindale (part of Boston) who has a fig tree nursery, lots of varieties. Some are listed as zone 5 or 6. So I phoned him and he said they all have to be either brought inside or heavily wrapped, to survive winters here. So now I'm getting unsure about getting one. In spite of the NE survival tales Bill and others have posted. Maybe heavy mulching incl. straw piled up inside a cylinder of chicken wire?

Carol (seesawing)


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RE: Do you have a fig tree?

FWIW, mine was heavily covered in leaves, and is in a protected area (next to a fence). But no chicken wire or anything but leaves.

I'd go for it, myself.

This is what the place I got my figs from said about it:

"Chicago Hardy Fig

This is one of the most prolific figs to grow in cold areas of the
northern U.S. The fall fruits are born on the new canes that grow during the summer, a plant with 4 new stem growths can produce up to 150 purplish brown figs. The figs are of excellent flavor. Stem hardy to 10 degrees F (-20 degrees C), root hardy to -20 degrees F (-28 ̊ C)."

The Belmont Farmer's Market is where I got mine last year, through "The Pomona Project: edible landscaping plants".

Here is a link that might be useful: Pomona Project


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RE: Do you have a fig tree?

Carol,
You're in a 6/7 zone, so unless the tree would be too expensive an investment, I'd definitely go for it. And I offered a cutting or two earlier in this thread, so you could try that. It's just that I don't know the variety, but it's been in my garden for ages. Covered it many years ago, but haven't done that for at least 15-20 years now.

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RE: Do you have a fig tree?

Bill, I can buy one, thanks. A cutting would take longer to get to the fruitful size. I was just dispirited by what the fig nurseryman had to say, on this the first day of Spring, after I shoveled away last night's additional half-inch of the White Devil from the Sky.

I don't have a solid wall to the north, but I do have 4-ft. high lattice below and along the southern deck edge, and my land slopes down west to east, so the really horrible frost that kills in valleys, is not a problem. So I suppose I will actually do this, but I just HATE to get a plant and kill it.

Carol


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RE: Do you have a fig tree?

I really doubt that you would kill it. They are definitely root hardy in zone 6, so the worst that would happen is that it would be a dieback perennial. Even when they sprout from near the ground, there is usually enough time to get a few ripe fruits. And the foliage is decorative too. An old-timer friend of the family had a unique approach. He had lots of small plants in rows in his garden. He did nothing to them, and every year they grew from the roots. They would get about 3 feet high, and each one would have 5-10 figs. He harvested along the rows as one might do in a veggie garden. Of course it took up a lot more space than one larger tree. Interesting approach though, but it demonstrates the root hardiness.

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RE: Do you have a fig tree?

Carol, I'm just wondering if you ever purchased a fig tree last year and how it did? I bought a brown turkey last year also, put it in a huge black pot and left it out unprotected all winter. I'm not sure if its alive now or not but apparently there is green when my friend scratched the bark halfway up one of the 4 branches today. I've got my fingers crossed. We had the worst winter ever here on the Cape. If it survived I'll be more careful in the future.


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RE: Do you have a fig tree?

CapeCoddess, my brown turkey fig tree is presently 2 sticks, no buds or leaves yet; but it was covered with hay all winter. My gardenia bush seems to have died. A hard winter indeed! Today is the first day it's sunny and 70 or so.
And my gunnera manicata (look it up) survived the winter in a big pot buried in the perennial bed and heavily covered with hay; and there's a nice big bud uncurling its head, so far.

Also, BTW, the hydrangeas and buddleias look half dead, sprouting some new growth from the ground.

I'm waiting to see a report from Bill in RI about how his garden did after this hard winter.

Carol


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RE: Do you have a fig tree?

My family kept a fig tree alive in upstate NY over several generations. I believe the original shoot came from Italy.

It was planted at an angle to the ground. Each fall, stakes and ropes were used to bring it to the ground and partly bury it in a long, raised dirt mound. It was then covered with leaves, straw and a tarp. In the spring, it was uncovered and released. It sprang up to be a bit more erect than you would expect, and the dirt mound was covered in annuals. It looked nice and wasn't as hard as it sounds.


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RE: Do you have a fig tree?

They do have amazingly flexible wood!


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