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Author Topic: Has anyone successfully grown a fig tree in USDA zone 6a (Connecticut)?  (Read 1844 times)

willpollinateforfood

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Hi everyone,
Sadly my 18" tall Brown Turkey fig tree I bought online, did not survive the winter here in New England. It was healthy all season. I provided moderate mulch and kept it in a fully sunny spot. I live in Connecticut, USA. I know we had nights below -10 degree F, which is the average lowest temperature for zone 6a. If anyone can help me with advice from variety (should I try Chicago Hardy fig cultivar instead?), to overwintering outdoors, etc. I would be grateful! Or should I give up on figs altogether?
Thank you,
Kelly

fyliu

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I hope someone with real experience can chime in. Most of us live in much warmer places and don't know the hardiness of figs in colder climates. I can only tell you to get a greenhouse so that your figs will be warm enough to survive winter if the outside weather gets too cold for them.

ramv

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There are numerous people on the ourfigs forum who are successfully growing figs in Zones 4,5 and 6. The ones in cooler zones usually grow them in pots and take them indoors in winter. Figs go dormant and can easily take temperatures of 10f during dormancy.  In zone 6 you can protect with pipe insulation outdoors.

In addition some varieties are very cold tolerant. Hardy Chicago and various strains of English  Brown Turkey are especially hardy. Some can take temperatures of around 0 f.

coyote

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If you're going to put it in the ground, then yes I recommend Chicago Hardy in a protected location such as a well mulched southern or eastern exposure.  That said even with these conditions Chicago Hardy often dies back to its roots, but it owes its popularity to the fact that it will often grow back from its roots and fruit on new wood.   

You can experiment with other fig varieties in ground and you might find some other successes, just be prepared for a very high kill rate.

Otherwise I recommend growing them in pot culture, which is what I and many others in cold zones do.  Generally figs do quite well in pot culture. 

willpollinateforfood

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Thank you everyone! I wish I had space indoors to bring a fig tree inside, but I collect tropicals, so I have a 3 ft. coffea arabica tree in my kitchen window already along with seed-grown lemon, orange, guava, feijoa, pomegranate, avocado, bonsais and passionflower vine seedlings. Self admitted plant-a-holic. (and a carnivorous Nepenthes hanging pitcher plant). plus more.

I will try again with a 1 gallon Chicago Hardy fig tree with twice as much mulch from a nursery in milder zones. My brown turkey fig tree was purchased from a Louisiana nursery, maybe that's a contributing factor behind my fig's passing, in LA it would have never felt zone 6 cold.

I appreciate being welcomed into this forum, I am a 24 year old college student hoping to be involved in horticulture for life.
- Kelly
« Last Edit: May 02, 2018, 05:16:14 PM by willpollinateforfood »

Jct

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Thank you everyone! I wish I had space indoors to bring a fig tree inside, but I collect tropicals, so I have a 3 ft. coffea arabica tree in my kitchen window already along with seed-grown lemon, orange, guava, feijoa, pomegranate, avocado, bonsais and passionflower vine seedlings. Self admitted plant-a-holic. (and a carnivorous Nepenthes hanging pitcher plant). plus more.

I will try again with a 1 gallon Chicago Hardy fig tree with twice as much mulch from a nursery in milder zones. My brown turkey fig tree was purchased from a Louisiana nursery, maybe that's a contributing factor behind my fig's passing, in LA it would have never felt zone 6 cold.

I appreciate being welcomed into this forum, I am 24 year old college student hoping to be involved in horticulture for life.
- Kelly
Welcome and best of luck!  As ramv mentioned, OurFigs is a great resource for all things figs.
LaVerne Manila Mango; Pixie Crunch, Honeycrisp & Gala Apple Trees; Violette De Bordeaux & Black Mission Fig; Santa Rosa Plum & Snow Queen Nectarine; Nagami Kumquat, Pixie Tangerine, Lemon, Australian Finger Lime & Washington Navel Citrus; White & Red Dragon Fruit; Miracle Berry Plant

Nanasato

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I think this information is very good information that I am looking for.

willpollinateforfood

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Update!
My Brown Turkey fig has a bit of green emerging from the base of what was the trunk, cautious optimism. Will update with a photo if my fig comes back to life. How unexpected. A late May gift from nature - signs of life from what was considered a dead fig.

Jct

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Hey that's awesome!  Fig trees are tough.  Before next winter, take a look at the ourfigs forum to see how various people prepare their figs for winter. One of the things that they do mention is to stop fertilizing the tree at some point - late summer I think, but you will need to confirm.  This prevents tender, green growth from dying and setting back the tree or leading to other problems (rot, diseases, etc).  Lots of great advice there and it's a pretty friendly atmosphere.
LaVerne Manila Mango; Pixie Crunch, Honeycrisp & Gala Apple Trees; Violette De Bordeaux & Black Mission Fig; Santa Rosa Plum & Snow Queen Nectarine; Nagami Kumquat, Pixie Tangerine, Lemon, Australian Finger Lime & Washington Navel Citrus; White & Red Dragon Fruit; Miracle Berry Plant

willpollinateforfood

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I have a photo update of the tiny but mighty leaf buds. Now a second cluster has appeared from the base. Anxiously hopeful!


baccarat0809

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Wooooo.

Mother nature brings life back.  I had bananas, calamondin and papaya all froze down to bare earth this last February - all back.  The bananas are almost 4 feet tall now.  The calamondin and papaya are about a foot tall.  Glad to see its working out especially with that second cluster pushing.

Yorgos

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There was a pick your own farm down here in the upper Gulf Coast that would cut their Brown Turkey figs to the ground every winter.  Plants would rebound n the spring with a very good crop.  You could probably do something similar: cut the tree to a low stump, let the cut seal for a few days and cover heavily with mulch.  Manure in the spring and you'ld be set assuming you have an adequately long growing season.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2018, 02:36:26 PM by Yorgos »
Near NRG Stadium, Houston Texas. USDA zone 9a

Daintree

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    • Boise, Idaho - zone 6, with a zone 12 greenhouse...
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I am zone 6 here. My fig trees are in the greenhouse year-round, but I have a friend here who has a date palm in his front yard.  He makes a tall fence of chicken wire around it, fills the entire thing with leaves, wraps Christmas lights around the fence, then covers the whole thing with a large floating row cover.  Lots of work, but his palm does make it through the winter, and it hasn't burst into flames - yet.  Use the small lights, but not the LED ones, since I don't think they actually generate any heat. I would think the same thing would work with figs.  Just wait until they are dormant.

Carolyn

willpollinateforfood

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Last update unless I get fruit to form before the first frost. It has been 6 weeks since the first signs of life when my Brown Turkey fig broke winter dormancy. Is there a chance I could see a main crop on new growth, approx. 2 yr. old fig, maybe older, have not seen fruit on it before.


 

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