The Q&A Archives: Winterizing A Fig Tree

Question: I just got a fig tree, and someone told me in the winter to cover it in plastic and then put a tarp around it. They said their father use to do this and the next year it grew bigger. I would like to know if that is what I should do, or just leave it like a normal tree and it will grow normal the next year.

Answer: Fig trees are not hardy in your gardening region so you will have to provide some protection for it. 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. Thanks for the question. Please stop in again soon!

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