The Q&A Archives: Partially Frozen Brown Turkey Fig

Question: I have a Brown Turkey Fig tree thats about 3 ft tall. This past winter it froze down about to 8 to 10 inches. It's leafing out and seems to be doing very well. Should I cut the dead top off now or wait? And, what should I do this coming winter to protect it from happening again?

Answer: With any plant, leave frost damaged limbs/leaves on until all danger of frost is past. It helps protect the remaining plant. The book, Desert Landscaping for Beginners, by Arizona Master Gardener Press, has an excellent chapter on frost protection. If frost is predicted, cover the tree with old sheets or frost cloth (never plastic). If possible, erect a platform of some type so the covering doesn't touch the foliage. The foliage should drop all the way to the ground, not be tied around the trunk. It's role is to trap heat radiating up from the ground, underneath the covering. Put coverings on late afternoon/early evening and take them off the following morning as the temperature warms up. You can also permanently wrap just the trunk with burlap, frost cloth, layers of newspapers, old sheets, and leave that on all winter, if you choose.

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