Winter protection for a large fig tree
mentioned last night,
our larger fig was ready to be swaddled just like his
The idea is that figs aren't really winter hardy here in zone 6, but
with some careful variety
selection and a
little love, you can
see get lots of fruits without babying a house plant.
read that Chicago Hardy figs do best if cut back drastically to three
main trunks each winter, but when I pulled out the clippers, I suddenly
couldn't decide if that meant three main trunks with all of their side
branches or just three sticks coming out of the ground. So I went
for a moderate approach where I removed any tiny branches and ones that
would be shaded, but left multiple branches on each trunk.
Next, I cut the tree
down to about three feet high. Some people keep their figs tall
and wrap the whole thing up, but it was awfully nice having fruits I
could pick without a ladder, and I can protect what's left better if I
shorten this year's growth. By carefully bending and then tying
the branches together, they formed a compact bundle, giving me plenty
of room to stuff leaves around them within an enclosure I made out of
lightweight fence posts and trellis material.
I topped it all off with a
cheap tarp that came on our roofing
tin. I felt
like last year's
lost some efficiency when rain pounded down the insulating leaves and
exposed the tips of the fig branches. Hopefully this year's tarp
will prevent moisture entering my fig enclosure from above.
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I saved nearly all of
the small branches to try rooting next year, and three of them already
had little roots forming (since I cut those branches
off below the mulch line). Usually you gather
scionwood in the late winter, but it was necessary to chop our fig
down before wrapping it, so now I'm stuck trying to decide how to store
these cuttings in a cool, damp, but not freezing spot all winter.
We're really going to have to try to excavate our fridge root cellar