Author Topic: Fig winter protection  (Read 1452 times)

Plantinyum

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1415
    • Bulgaria , near Sofia city , planting zone 7
    • View Profile
Fig winter protection
« on: September 29, 2022, 08:45:29 AM »
I have two inground figs, one of the hardier varieties that are in their second year inground. They are not small plants, i mean not starters or smth and jenerally went thru the last winter okay but heres the deal...
The one closer to the house had an additional prottection ,but  the one in the open yard had some tip die back due to the cold. I want to add some prottection to them so i do not get the frost bite on the tips. I noticed that the branches that did not had the tips die started to vegetate earlier in the spring, had more vigor in the sence that the leaves and fruit are bigger with shorter internodes. The fruit on those branches is also the earliest to ripen.
So what is the way to add some additional prottection to the plants, without wrapping them with hay or smth since they are too big for that...
Frost cloth? Tuying the branches and making some kind of a box to eliminate wind chill as a factor?
Thanks for any ideas !

pagnr

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 941
    • View Profile
Re: Fig winter protection
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2022, 04:38:56 PM »
Do you prune the trees every winter ? Any chance to prune branches a bit higher to leave an insurance at the branch tips ? Then remove the damage after it warms up ?
I guess that is still a bit like tip damage, but maybe if the cold damage doesn't occur they might grow normally.
Otherwise since you are covering leafless branches, might need to consider a cloth or structure that won't rub the new buds off, or that the shoots won't grow through.
Frost cloths usually have a very closed weave, and are floating ( very light ).
Structures can be easier for removing the cloth. They can be reasonably inexpensive from salvaged materials if they are available.

Plantinyum

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1415
    • Bulgaria , near Sofia city , planting zone 7
    • View Profile
Re: Fig winter protection
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2022, 05:23:55 AM »
Do you prune the trees every winter ? Any chance to prune branches a bit higher to leave an insurance at the branch tips ? Then remove the damage after it warms up ?
I guess that is still a bit like tip damage, but maybe if the cold damage doesn't occur they might grow normally.
Otherwise since you are covering leafless branches, might need to consider a cloth or structure that won't rub the new buds off, or that the shoots won't grow through.
Frost cloths usually have a very closed weave, and are floating ( very light ).
Structures can be easier for removing the cloth. They can be reasonably inexpensive from salvaged materials if they are available.
no, i dont prune them whatsoever at this point, they are still quite confined, the one in the open was grownt for several years in a pot and i 5hink is still somewhat in a shok since it was pot bound when i planted it.
I would rather not prune anithing from them atp since my main goal is to presevre the tip buds and via pruning i would just eliminate those. I will have to prune them in the future for sure but now they do not need it.
Yeah i think i dont need much protection for the buds to survive, was thinking of maybe make some kind of a inclosure probably from house insulation sheets ,which i may fill up with fluffy snow when i have it, or just cover the top with a frostcloth or another insulation sheet.
I think to have it open at the top to be able to add snow and just cover it when there isnt any snow ....
I will tie up the branches so to not have them brake from the weight of the snow.
The snow may be an overkill though....

tedburn

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 388
    • Mühlacker, zone 7
    • View Profile
Re: Fig winter protection
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2022, 05:25:41 PM »
I think if they are small protection with frost clothes is good.
But also it is much important to have frosthardy selections.
I' m in zone 7 and tested about 5 or 6 varieties and only 2 are immature very frost resistant.

Plantinyum

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1415
    • Bulgaria , near Sofia city , planting zone 7
    • View Profile
Re: Fig winter protection
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2022, 03:09:20 AM »
Mine are fairly hrost hardy and survived the past winter with just a little damage, i am still pondering of what i will do as a winter protection, i may go overboard and do a styrofoam caje for them....

Plantinyum

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1415
    • Bulgaria , near Sofia city , planting zone 7
    • View Profile
Re: Fig winter protection
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2023, 12:41:16 AM »
Heres what i did, basically a stirofoam cage, thickness is 5 cm . I covered the bottom part with soil to kinda fix the structure and cover the air leakage spots.
Doesnt look stellar but hopefully does the job and prevent the buds from dying.
The other plant that did not had damage last winter i  left uncovered , its near the house so the additional few degrees that it gets are probably what kept it in a good condition.
Ive also cut an ventilation hole on top, with a lid , but i doubt that this was needed..








« Last Edit: January 07, 2023, 12:45:38 AM by Plantinyum »

Aiptasia904

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 70
    • Orange Park
    • View Profile
Re: Fig winter protection
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2023, 09:31:51 AM »
I have Chicago hardy and Turkey fig. Both took a little tip damage this past December when we got the week long hard freeze in my area. I pruned off the dead tips a few days ago and they're both doing just fine, growing new nodes and branches lower down on the branch. There are some instances where removing the growing tips on a branch can force them to fruit sooner and just like topping other citrus trees, forces them to branch more into a more bushy pattern. So, losing the tips to a cold snap can have it's silver linings.

Plantinyum

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1415
    • Bulgaria , near Sofia city , planting zone 7
    • View Profile
Re: Fig winter protection
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2023, 06:15:49 PM »
As an update, the plant in question will come out from winter with all of its tips intact, dunno about bennefits, ive only experienced drawbacks ,with this plant in particular when i have tip die back. Last year the figs on the 2-3 branches that had retained their tip buds grew significantly bigger, started forming earlier and as a result also ripened alot earlier compared to the rest. Those branches had signifficantly shorter internodes, visibly thicker stems and bigger leaves. It was very interesting to observe the differences between those branches and the rest , which were sprouts from latent buds along the stem, the difference was just night and day. I am fine with the plant not making alot of twiggery at this point, it is awready quite dense in there and i will have to prune some of the weaker branches this spring.

Did i need the styrofoam winter protection? I dont really know, the winter was very mild, i have another fig inground 2 meters from this one and it is totally fine, all buds green and ready for spring, but againg last winter the other one also didnt had any damage, whereas the one in questio,with the winter protection, had almost all of its tips burned.....

Daintree

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1197
    • Boise, Idaho - zone 6, with a zone 12 greenhouse...
    • View Profile
Re: Fig winter protection
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2023, 09:05:44 AM »
I like your styrofoam fig house! Is the soil enough to anchor it during a wind, or is it also tied down in some way?

Carolyn

bussone

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 181
    • Philadelphia, PA (7a)
    • View Profile
Re: Fig winter protection
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2023, 11:15:19 AM »
I've got what's nominally a Brown Turkey -- it was sold as that anyway, even if I'm not totally convinced it actually is...

It died back to the ground in its first two winters. Then I started wrapping it in burlap with a plastic sheet outside that and some loose straw insulation inside. That worked through winter of 2021-2022, when it had gotten tall enough that the tips were outside the wrapper. It came through that winter fine.



This past year, it had gotten to 12-15 ft tall, so fully wrapping was no longer possible. I still burlapped and plasticed it to 5-6 ft and added straw, mostly as wind protection for the roots. It was a mild winter and it has sailed through just fine. I suspect at this point it's big enough that it could manage without any protection.




Plantinyum

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1415
    • Bulgaria , near Sofia city , planting zone 7
    • View Profile
Re: Fig winter protection
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2023, 01:43:34 PM »
Daintree, i didnt fix the styrofoam house to the ground in any way , it was so tight on the canopy and the friction from the branches kept it quite sturdy, i just placed some soil at the bottom to fill up the holes i had.
I dont know to what an extend the box helped, meaning that the fig right next to the enclosed one managed just fine trought thim mild winter. However, last winter was kinda like the one this year, and then i had almost every tip bud on the covered/back then uncovered fig, die due to frost. This year with the coverage 100% of the tips are healthy and green, wating for the plant to start to wake up. The other one that didnt got protection is awready waking up, i suspect since i removed the coverage on this one a week or so ago, it will wake up later. This may be an advantage, the white box apparently kept it cooler now in spring, thus altering an early wake up. I think i could have left the box on till like the end of april, and the plant would still be dormant by the time i remove it, works kinda like an refrigeration box .


Bussone, i past years i was also doing the winter protection on the inground figs this way, some tightly packed hay, covered with an nylon bag, covered with a white reflecting weaved sack. Worked well, ive also done the ground burying method, also works fine, as long as you have young flexible stemms that you could guide down.
Nice fig plant by the way, mine are smaller than this, will post pick of them tomorrow. 
« Last Edit: April 20, 2023, 01:51:51 PM by Plantinyum »

Plantinyum

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1415
    • Bulgaria , near Sofia city , planting zone 7
    • View Profile
Re: Fig winter protection
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2023, 07:49:40 AM »
This is the one without winter protection, already waking up, the variety on this one is a hardy Bulgarian variety called mitchurinska 10.





This is the other one , its in a more open spot so this is probably why it gets frost bitten in winter, whereas the other one never had a problem, fruits of both are literally the same, i suspect this one is also mitchurinska 10, i collected it from the Black sea coast many years ago, grew it in a pot for a long time and i suspect that this stunted it a bit . As you can see it has quite a compact and dense canopy, figs are usually nowhere near as well behaved plants ,sizewise. 








Those are some cuttings l started last summer, its a big fruited variety i found in Sofia, the figs were delicious and quite big, also ripens at the start of september or even earlier. Plant is quite hardy, never saw a damaged branch by cold. I am planning to plant a few of these plants in a line, in a place where i have the opportunity to grow them as espaliers, i will definitely do a winter protection on those in their first winter, probably after that also.



bussone

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 181
    • Philadelphia, PA (7a)
    • View Profile
Re: Fig winter protection
« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2023, 02:52:42 PM »
I've got what's nominally a Brown Turkey -- it was sold as that anyway, even if I'm not totally convinced it actually is...

Looking at a few sites recently, I'm increasingly of the opinion that I have a Brooklyn (Naples) White. It matches in all respects.

Good tree.

vnomonee

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 467
    • Zone 7a northeastern NJ
    • View Profile
Re: Fig winter protection
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2023, 05:46:40 PM »
I've never covered my Chicago hardy. It died back twice now in 4 years. I never get fruit despite it grows huge. The only time I got fruit was when it was in a container.