covering of a fig tree - Knowledgebase Question

massapequa, n.
Question by neilmas
November 16, 2005
this past spring i purchased one of your Black Jack Fig trees and it is doing great . My concern is that this will be another cold winter and i have already lost one fig tree last year.Do you recommend covering the tree.and if so with what?? ANY HELP WOULD BE APPREICIATED thank you

Answer from NGA
November 16, 2005


Your zip code places you in zone 6B, the warmer part of zone 6, which is generally speaking, too cold to grow figs successfully. In a sheltered spot with a warm microclimate it might be as warm as zone 7A (still pretty cold for figs), but in an exposed spot could be as cold as 6A. Some varieties of fig are considered root hardy in your area, meaning they will die back to the ground each winter and then regrow from the ground each summer and (hopefully) fruit; you may see this routinely. Keep in mind, too, that a new plant will suffer more during the first winter or two because it is not yet fully rooted and established, so it may do better in the coming years. I think you will find the following article explains what you need to do in terms of siting the plant and keeping the plant overall healthier and reducing the odds of winter damage that way. You may need to cut and paste the complete url into your browser to make it work correctly.

For special protection, some gardeners will cut or loosen the roots on one side of the plant and bend it over flat, then cover it with a thick layer of mulch. Others will try to wrap the tree, encircle it with a wire cylinder and cover that with burlap, then fill it with a nonpacking insulating material such as oak leaves or straw, and cover it with a tarp to keep it dry. Do not completely cover it with the tarp howevever as there needs to be some air circulation to prevent condensation inside on sunny days. Wait until very late fall to do any special protective measures, then remove them in the spring.

Good luck with your fig this winter!

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