Wintering a Fig Tree - Knowledgebase Question

Wakefield, MA
Avatar for JOEB4D
Question by JOEB4D
November 7, 1997
Three years ago I purchased a fig tree. What is the best way to protect my tree from the harsh New England winters? I have tried house insulation with black trash bags; it still froze and died back, only to come back with branches growing from the base. Last year I wrapped it in burlap, put a 30 gallon plastic trash barrel over it, cut a hole in the top and filled it with leaves. I then wrapped a black trash bag over it. It has never produced figs, which is a real disappointment to me. Is there moreI could be doing? Maybe I'm not protecting it enough. This year it has grown more than it ever did in the previous years. We have already had killing frosts here so I need your answer quickly!

Answer from NGA
November 7, 1997
You must be doing something right since this tender tree is growing through our harsh, New England winter. I think you are basically doing the right things. I have a few suggestions that may help.

FIRST - Try cutting out superflous branches, wrapping the remaining branches in burlap, and tying them gently in a bundle so as not to break them. Then pile about 15 inches of soil around the tree...just as you would with roses.

SECOND-Treat it as you did last year with the trash barrel(with hole) and leaves, or other mulch.

THIRD and perhaps most important. Instead of putting a plastic bag over your plastic trash barrel(which has a hole cut in the top). USE BURLAP! That tree needs to breathe.

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