The Q&A Archives: Fig Trees

Question: I hope I'm not missing the answer to this question, but here is goes anyway. I purchased a fig tree at a garden center down in South Jersey. It is one of your products. My question is winter care. From what I understand the tree needs to be "wrapped" to protect it from the winter cold. What do you suggest as a wrap and do you wrap the entire tree and branches? Also, come spring, when do you unwrap it and any special treatment at that time. I would appreciate your technical input. It appears that it did get enough sun this summer because the figs that were on it when we purchased it are ripening and taste great. Thanks for all your help.
Carol Vannais

Answer: Carol,

Just how much winter protection it will need depends on how bad of a winter you have and the microclimate it is in near you home. Around a home there are several different microclimates based on such factors as how close to the home they are, which compass direction from the home they are, whether the location is sunny or shady in winter, etc.

Some gardeners will cut the roots on one side and lay the plant over where it can be more easily covered with leaves and a tarp for winter protection. A slightly less effective but much easier option is to cut the fig bush back to a more manageable height and place a ring of wire fencing around it. Then fill the ring with lots of leaves and cover the entire structure with a tarp to hold in the warmth of the earth. Simply wrapping the plant with some blankets will usually not provide enough protection, as it does not trap much heat to protect the tender fig buds and branches.

Remove the tarp and leaves (leave some as a mulch around the tree) in spring when the danger of a freeze is past.

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