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Wintering New Fig Cuttings
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thegrillinggreek55
New York
2 Posts
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1
September 8, 2019 - 9:29 am

Earlier this year I bought several fig cuttings and I was fortunate enough to have three survivors. 

I live in zone 6a and the winters are snowy and cold. Last year I covered and protected my mulch pile but it still froze solid. 

I have the three cuttings in three separate gallon containers. I am worried sick about the upcoming winter, though, because I’m afraid they will freeze and die. 

I do have a shed but it’s not protected. I have a room that we call the laundry room that is partly available and it’s heated. If I were to store them in the laundry room, will the warmth kill them. Even though we have a washer and dryer, the room does not get hot at all. The room does have an eastward looking window. 

I could keep them outside and shield them with lots and lots of hay and straw. 

Help!!!!

 

Evan

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Rooney
Vancouver SW Washington
684 Posts
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2
September 8, 2019 - 10:28 pm

thegrillinggreek55 said
I do have a shed but it’s not protected.

Usually a bad idea because vacant sheds usually allow ground heat from the Earth to escape sideways.

thegrillinggreek55 said
I have a room that we call the laundry room that is partly available and it’s heated. If I were to store them in the laundry room, will the warmth kill them. Even though we have a washer and dryer, the room does not get hot at all. The room does have an eastward looking window. 

Also not good. The artificial heat is a trigger for the fig to think it's spring.

thegrillinggreek55 said
I could keep them outside and shield them with lots and lots of hay and straw.

Perfect!! Snow will trap enough heat from the ground. The straw will make a good temporary cover before the snow cover comes. 

Other tips:

Plant the pots below the surface of the soil before the ground freezes, then cover. Vole protection is essential. Voles will find the fig bark very attractive. My cell batteries are warning me, but that's about it. 

I am in interior Alaska preparing apricots that way too.

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thegrillinggreek55
New York
2 Posts
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3
September 9, 2019 - 6:36 am

Great! Thanks for the reply. 

I was going to bring them indoors, but not anymore. I will dig a hole now that the ground is nice and soft. 

You will not believe how nervous this process makes me. I feel that these cuttings are children of mine. I’ve spent so much time to get them to this point that if I lose them now it will be terrible. 

Thanks!

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Rooney
Vancouver SW Washington
684 Posts
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4
September 9, 2019 - 10:40 am

No problem. Just don't go away yet. Yours with tropical fig in high state NY needs about the same insulation as apricot in interior Alaska. I am headed to the library to illustrate more graphically on my current insulation plans to post here.

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Rooney
Vancouver SW Washington
684 Posts
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5
September 9, 2019 - 12:38 pm

thegrillinggreek55 said

I was going to bring them indoors, but not anymore. I will dig a hole now that the ground is nice and soft.

At least your past knowing the psycology of the plant.

thegrillinggreek55 said

You will not believe how nervous this process makes me. I feel that these cuttings are children of mine. I’ve spent so much time to get them to this point that if I lose them now it will be terrible. 

There are always other more convenient options if they are available such as indoor controlled environments. In which case if you have the means then check out the link and scroll to March 13, 2016. Ubro, winterization, indoor peach

I have made it possible covering sweet cherry and apricot using some fine timing and other vole exclusion tricks using domes and then added the insulation and straw for heat retention. (see HOS images that I uploaded)

Fine timing means to wait until the plant is half dormant, such as leaves starting to go or turn color. At which time they can exist in good condition without light when contained in a colder than 36F environment for several months. So what I do is watch the weather patterns and the orange colors that are starting to occur in my half gallon apricot seedlings. I am about 2 weeks yet to cover up since this is a warm spell. 

The dome covers about a 6 foot circle area in order to collect the slow emissions of heat from the earth all winter long. In which case because I am covering such a large surface area it is not necessary to dig holes for my pots. Before snow the straw would need to cover this up because the fiberglass walling of the dome has no insulating properties. But the straw should be kept dry in order to insulate well. 

Voles: in my case the dome carries enough weight to exclude voles, and due to my putting the trees inside during the 3rd or 4th freezing night, then voles can't dig, and they know that and go elsewhere. 

Happy to help! Smile

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Viron
1400 Posts
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6
September 10, 2019 - 7:24 am

Though I had seven fig trees in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, I believe I’m in zone 6b here on the Blue Ridge Plateau of Virginia ... and miss my figs Frown

In my four years in VA, checking out every fig tree I see, I’ve concluded I’d never get fruit.  Figs produce on last years ‘new growth.’ If that growth freezes during the winter, and the plant is sufficiently established, it will send up new growth from the ground, but no fruit.  

I had two Brown Turkey fig plants (eventually ‘clumps,’ if not ‘trees’), a smaller-than-most variety.  But even at one third the size of a Desert King, I can not envision a pot large or mobile enough to be protected through one of ‘our winters’ (I’ve experienced minus four over here, with wind-chills far below that).  What I’m getting at is, even if you successfully over winter your figs, as they increase in size, they’ll need planted ‘outside.’

Once outside, they will freeze to the ground every winter.  They will send up new shoots... with their Mediterranean foliage, fun to look at, work to mow around, but will never produce mature fruit.  

...back to your question, the problem I’ve had attempting to over-winter plants inside is their drying out.  They’ll begin to shrivel. And I’m not sure if the figs would remain in dormancy, fruit trees need various amounts of sleep.  Pots are tricky, too, as they’ll freeze from every side, not only from ground level down.  

To establish mine out West, as I lived in a marginal zone nearly too cold for fig trees, I’d fill wire cages 4 to 5 feet in diameter with leaves, literally burying the young fig plants for their first 3 years.  Though, the mice eventually found them and would nearly girdle the bark, while cozy warm and protected from predators.  

If I were to attempt figs here in 6b, I’d plant them as just described, expect them to freeze to the ground, and have only an ornamental ‘fig bush’ each year.  That’s as good as it gets for the folks in my neighborhood, and perhaps yours, too Confused

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