- Fig Tree Care In Winter – Fig Tree Winter Protection And Storage
- Ground Planted Fig Tree Winter Protection
- Container Fig Tree Winter Storage
- Gardening How-to Articles
- How to Wrap a Fig Tree to Protect It for the Winter
- Wrapping the fig tree for winter.
- 12 Oct Wrapping the fig tree for winter.
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Fig Tree Care In Winter – Fig Tree Winter Protection And Storage
Fig trees are a popular Mediterranean fruit that can be grown in the home garden. While it is commonly found in warmer climates, there are some methods for fig cold protection that can allow gardeners in cooler climates to keep their figs over the winter. Fig tree care in winter takes a little work, but the reward for winterizing a fig tree is delicious, home-grown figs year after year.
Fig trees need winter protection in areas where the temperatures will drop below 25 degrees F. (-3 C.). There are two types of fig wintering that can be done. The first is fig tree winter protection for fig trees in the ground. The other is fig tree winter storage for trees in containers. We’ll look at both.
Ground Planted Fig Tree Winter Protection
If you live in a colder climate and you would like to try to grow figs in the ground, winterizing a fig tree properly is especially important to your success. First, before you plant, try to locate a cold hardy fig tree. Some examples are:
- Celeste Figs
- Brown Turkey Figs
- Chicago Figs
- Ventura Figs
Planting a cold hardy fig will greatly increase your chances of successfully wintering a fig tree.
You can implement your fig tree winter protection after the fig tree has lost all of its leaves in the fall. Start your fig tree winter care by pruning your tree . Prune away any branches that are weak, diseased or crossing other branches.
Next, tie the branches together to create a column. If you need to, you can place a pole into the ground next to the fig tree and tie the branches to that. Also, place a thick layer of mulch on the ground over the roots.
Then, wrap the fig tree in several layers of burlap. Keep in mind that with all layers (this and the others below), you will want to leave the top open to allow moisture and heat to escape.
The next step in fig tree winter protection is to build a cage around the tree. Many people use chicken wire, but any material that will allow you to build a somewhat sturdy cage is fine. Fill this cage with straw or leaves.
After this, wrap the whole winterized fig tree in plastic insulation or bubble wrap.
The final step in winterizing a fig tree is to place a plastic bucket on top of the wrapped column.
Remove the fig tree winter protection in the early spring when temperatures at night consistently stay above 20 degrees F. (-6 degrees C.).
Container Fig Tree Winter Storage
A much easier and less labor intensive method of fig tree care in winter is to keep the fig tree in a container and put it into dormancy in the winter.
Winterizing a fig tree in a container starts with allowing the tree to lose its leaves. It will do this in the fall at the same time as other trees lose their leaves. While it is possible to bring your fig indoors to keep it alive all winter, it is not advisable to do so. The tree will want to go into dormancy and will look unhealthy all winter long.
Once all of the leaves have fallen off the fig tree, place the tree in a cool, dry place. Often, people will place the tree in an attached garage, a basement or even closets in their home.
Water your dormant fig tree once a month. Figs need very little water while dormant and overwatering during dormancy can actually kill the tree.
In the early spring, you will see leaves begin to develop again. When the nighttime temperature stays consistently above 35 degrees F. (1 C.), you can place the fig tree back outside. Because the fig’s leaves will start to grow indoors, placing it outdoors before frost has passed will result in the new leaves getting burned by the frost.
“It’s sort of like a pipe that bursts if the water inside turns into ice,” Mr. Forrest said.
There are two ways to protect a fig tree from winter weather. One is to bury the tree branches, a strenuous days-long process that requires slowly bending the trunk. The other is to wrap it and perhaps place a garbage can on top of the tree for extra protection. It is the more popular and easier method, but can still be time-consuming.
Benedetto Randozzo, an immigrant from Sicily who has lived in Astoria for more than 30 years, ties his tree’s branches together with rope, squeezing its wide crown. He wraps the tree in old blankets (burlap sacks are another option) and then covers it in plastic to keep out moisture and prevent mold. He might also throw some soil or mulch around the base of the tree to protect its roots.
Next door to Mr. Randozzo, four fig trees stand uncovered. They yield, Mr. Randozzo said, as much fruit in the summer as his tree, which he has had for 26 years. Casting a disdainful look at the neighboring trees, he said in Italian, “My tree is Sicilian. It’s not used to the cold.”
The environment for Astoria’s fig trees is not terribly taxing. Recent New York winters have tended to be on the mild side, and the city is a heat island of sorts, surrounded by water and coated in asphalt and concrete, said Marvin P. Pritts, chairman of the horticulture department at Cornell University.
The trees “might be able to survive a typical winter in our climate, but they would likely die in severe weather,” Mr. Pritts said.
Mr. Pando, who was a history teacher in Greece and is a retired groundskeeper for the New York City Housing Authority, said his uncle, Paul Econom, planted the fig tree outside his house and taught him how to wrap it. “My uncle say, ‘Cover tree for winter, cover tree for snow, snow dangerous,’ ” Mr. Pando said.
Fig trees are very sensitive creatures:
- Sensitive to the cold, so they need winter protection;
- Sensitive to drought, so they need regular supplemental water;
- Sensitive to nitrogen, so as long as your tree is growing a foot or two per year you should minimize it;
- Sensitive to nutrition, so you should definitely fertilize with phosphorus and potassium (the last two numbers in the ratio on the package label) at a rate of one pound per year of age or height of tree, up to a maximum of 10 or 12 pounds annually, divided into two feedings (once when buds swell and again at the end of May).
Couple this with the reality that they are Mediterranean plants and we don’t live in a Mediterranean climate, plus the prevalence of many varieties, some of which simply don’t do well on Long Island for many reasons — and some growers simply throw up their hands.
Still, many other plants are capricious, a lot of them more so than the fig, and they are grown regularly and successfully on Long Island, so none of the above should serve as a deterrent.
First, be sure you select a variety that will thrive here. “Brown turkey” and “Celeste” are common choices. Buying a tree or taking a cutting while on vacation in Florida isn’t likely to yield successful results. When in doubt, have a chat with your nursery professional.
Plant during spring in well-draining soil in a protected spot (up against a wall or fence is ideal) with a southern exposure. Test the soil’s pH before planting, as figs require a reading between 6.2 and 7.2. If your soil tests lower, incorporate dolomitic lime according to package directions.
Apply a couple of inches of mulch in a circle around the tree, taking care to start 3-4 inches from the trunk and extending out at least as far as the canopy. Provide a constant supply of moisture throughout the growing season, and fertilize with a 5-10-10 or 0-10-10 slow-release fertilizer twice per season, as indicated above.
Trees must be protected over the winter, or they may die back to the ground — or die entirely. If they die back merely to the ground, new growth will resume in spring, but the plant will focus its energy on regrowing, leaving little to none for fruit production.
The ideal time to wrap a fig tree is during Thanksgiving week. Here’s how (never use any plastic materials for any part of the process):
1. If your tree is large, pull all branches inward and tie them together with soft but strong rope. Be sure the rope and branches are completely dry before wrapping. Wait a few days after rainfall, if necessary.
2. Wrap the tree completely from top to bottom with burlap, securing the burlap to itself with pins or staples to keep it from falling off. Be careful not to pin or staple the burlap to the tree.
3. Next, wrap some heavy brown paper, typically sold in rolls, around the burlap and tie it into place.
4. Remove some soil from around the base of the tree.
5. Surround the bottom half of the tree with cardboard. Tie it into place, too.
6. Tar paper is next. Surround the tree with it in such a way that the top of the cylinder is narrower than the bottom so that rainwater will roll off it and away from the tree.
7. Once you’ve completely wrapped your tree, mound up soil around the base.
8. Top it off with a pail to deflect rainwater. Unwrap your fig tree on a cloudy day in April, just after the last frost.
Fruit is produced on the current season’s growth, so during the first few years after planting, trees should be cut back by one-third to one-half their size immediately after unwrapping. This will encourage them to grow into a bushy form, rather than an upright tree, and facilitate care, harvesting and wrapping in the future.
To see my video demonstration of the entire process, visit newsday.com/gardening101.
By Jessica Damiano @jessicadamiano
Jessica Damiano is a master gardener, gardening coach, author and lecturer who pens Newsday’s weekly Garden Detective column. She spends her free time weeding and struggling to save her lawn from her two dogs.
Gardening How-to Articles
How to Wrap a Fig Tree to Protect It for the Winter
By Maeve Turner | December 5, 2017
The fig (Ficus carica) has long been a favorite Brooklyn garden tree, especially beloved by Italian families who immigrated to the borough in the early 20th century. Native to the Mediterranean, figs are marginally hardy here and may not survive winter in New York City unless they are protected. Although some planting tricks (such as planting your fig against a south-facing wall) can help figs survive most winters without extra care, wrapping them in layers of burlap and fallen leaves in late autumn or early winter will keep them from dying back too severely during a cold winter.
Read More: Fig Trees for Small Backyards or Container Gardens
After BBG’s fig trees suffered complete dieback to the ground two winters in a row a while back, we began using this technique for the specimens in the Herb Garden, with good results for the past few years. Home gardeners can follow these protective steps for backyard fig trees. Having a partner to work with will make things easier.
You will need the following:
- Pruning shears
- Roll of jute twine
- Shredded leaves—about one lawn bag full for each tree. You can shred raked leaves by running over them with a lawn mower.
- A roll of burlap (roughly 60 square feet for an 8-foot tree)
- Bamboo or metal stakes long enough to frame each tree, 3 per tree
- Post-pounder tool, mallet, or hammer
- Approximately 12 feet of chicken wire for each tree
- Tar paper or roofing felt
- Stapler, duct tape, or packing tape
- Empty plastic bucket, 1 per tree
- Step stool or ladder
Step One: Prune any stems that are crossing, rubbing together, or growing horizontally. If your tree is very tall, you can remove older, taller stems to favor shorter, younger ones. Use jute twine to gather stems into an upright bundle. Wrap the stem bundle in a layer of burlap and secure it with jute twine.
Step Two: Using bamboo or metal stakes as a frame, build a chicken wire cage around each tied and wrapped tree. The frame should taper slightly toward the top.
Step Three: Wrap a layer of tar paper or roofing felt around the chicken wire frame, securing it with tape or staples. This material will repel water and still allow some air circulation. Wrap the paper with the marked lines facing outward.
Step Four: Fill the wrapped frame with shredded leaves. Note: if you have a large tree, it may be easiest to do the chicken wire, tar paper, and leaf filling in stages, working up the tree from the bottom. Layer the paper like roofing shingles to keep water out.
Step Five: When the tree is wrapped and filled with leaves, taper the sides in by cutting or folding the tar paper so that the top of the frame is narrow enough to be covered with an upside-down bucket. When you cover the frame, make sure the top layer of the tar paper is tucked within the bucket to prevent water from leaking in.
Step Six: Wrap the frame with a final (neat) layer of burlap, securing it with staples or jute twine.
Plan to remove the wrappings when the weather warms at the end of winter, after any danger of an extended frost. We usually unwrap ours in late March. Even with the unpredictable swings in temperatures we’ve been having in New York recently, this treatment will ensure that your figs stay warm and dry all winter and will lead to a bountiful harvest come next summer!
Maeve Turner is curator of BBG’s Herb Garden.
Most fig trees are hardy only in USDA zones 7 and higher, but you don’t have to move down South to have one. There are ways to grow your own fresh figs, even up North!
Start by selecting the most cold-hardy varieties. Among the best are Celeste Fig, Brown Turkey Fig, Ventura, and the most cold-hardy of all: Chicago Hardy Fig. Check out other popular fig varieties (ficus carica) in our past blogs for the best advice on choosing your new fig tree. Learn how to winterize a fig tree in this blog.
Winter Protection is Necessary for Figs Indoors and Out!
Smart site selection helps with caring for your fig tree over winter too. Plant your outdoor fig tree next to south facing wall, where it doesn’t get so cold. Avoid depressions in the yard where cold air settles. Planting in the ground is a great option if you have plenty of room and have the ability to protect during the winter if needed.
Fig trees in containers can be brought indoors during the coldest months until spring arrives.
Still, most fig trees will need winter protection in areas where the temperature drops below about 20°F (-7°C). Either that, or they must be brought inside to a cool garage or storage shed for the winter months in a container. (Deciduous fig trees lose their leaves and go dormant in the cold winter, so they don’t need to be kept warm – just kept from freezing temperatures.)
If you do grow a fig tree in a container, use a soil-based potting mix and add bark chips, pebbles, or perlite to improve drainage at the bottom of the plastic pot. Keep the potted fig tree in full sun during the summer, then bring it into a place that does not freeze when the leaves drop in autumn.
Fig trees grown in containers need to be watered abundantly and fertilized with a high nitrogen fertilizer every four weeks during the growing season. Don’t fertilize in winter, and water only sparingly, when the leafless tree is indoors. Repot containerized figs every 2 or 3 years, and prune to maintain size. (Pro tip: Use a light weight container.)
For more information on how to care for a fig tree in winter please read below for outdoor planted trees. These fruit trees can get very large and up to 20 feet tall. It is important to protect them when they are young trees and can suffer from the cold. As older more mature trees, the trees can put up with more during the winter months but may lose some patches of tree or branches that are not protected.
Here are 3 Ways to Protect Fig Trees in Winter:
Mulch heavily and cover the tree during times of extreme cold temperatures. Once temperatures stay above freezing the fig is free to grow as it should!
1. If your winters are just occasionally too cold for a fig tree, you can mulch the roots heavily with organic matter, and build a tent (start with an A-frame) over the tree. Install a heat source (such as a space heater or light bulb) to be turned on when winter temperatures are forecast to go below 25°F (-4°C).
Simply wrapping or draping the tree with plastic or a blanket will not suffice. Trees do not put out heat. You must have a heat source inside the tent. You can use old blankets with or without an outer covering of plastic sheeting for the tent. Just don’t let plastic touch the tree itself, hence why the A-frame works well.
Tie together close laying branches to make the surface area of the fig tree branches as small as possible to ensure the tree will stay protected.
2. If your winters are consistently too cold for a fig tree you can wrap the tree in insulation for the entire winter. When the fig’s leaves have fallen in autumn, start by pruning off dead branches, those that are rubbing together, and any that are crossing other branches. You also may want to shorten the overall height and some of the longest horizontal branches.
Next, tie one end of a length of twine or rope to the main trunk, to a strong branch, or to a stout pole driven into the ground near the center of the fig tree. Circle the tree, gathering the branches together into a tight upright bundle and tie securely. (Fig tree branches are surprisingly bendable!)
Next, wrap the bundled fig tree in several layers of old blankets, burlap (not plastic or plastic bags!) or tar paper, secured with more twine. Keep the very tip-top open to allow moisture to escape.
Install a thick blanket of organic mulch on the ground over the root zone. (Layers of newspaper covered with dirt will work.)
Final product after fig tree winter care has taken place. The bucket will help keep the water out.
Next, build a cage around the bundled fig tree with chicken wire, hog fencing, concrete reinforcing mesh, or welded wire panels. The cage should taper upward leaving a small opening (less than foot in diameter) at the top. You may find it easiest to start with a teepee-like framework of three wooden poles to support the cage.
Place a plastic bucket upside-down on top of the cage to keep the rain out while still allowing heat and moisture to escape. Wrap a tarp, some tarpaper, or plastic sheeting around the cage and fill it with hay, straw, or dry leaves, snug up to the swaddled tree. You can even use commercial attic insulation.
Next spring, when nighttime temperatures consistently stay above 20°F (-7°C), remove the winter protection and free the fig!
Burying fig trees is POSSIBLE for planting sites with extreme winters. What would you do for fresh figs every year?!
3. Some people actually bury their fig trees for winter. This method works even in zone 3!
Start by pruning and bundling the branches into a tight cylinder as described above. You may want to wrap the tree in some kind of cloth (not plastic) fabric at this time.
Decide which way the tree is to recline, and dig a trench as long as the tree is tall, as wide as necessary, and just deep enough to bury it under a foot or so of soil and mulch.
Next, use a sharp spade to sever lateral growing roots one foot out from the trunk on the side opposite the trench. Shove the spade under the tree and undercut some of the root ball on the side facing the trench. Do not cut roots on the other two sides. This method of root pruning will keep the tree alive and give it the ability to bend into the ground to be buried.
Push and bend the tree down until it lies in the trench, and hold it down with something heavy. Fill the trench with mulch, cover with a tarp, and weigh that down with more mulch or potting soil.
No matter where you live, growing fig trees is possible and plausible! With a little time, effort, protection, and TLC you can provide winter care for your fig trees and have them bounce back in time for new fig leaves to flush out and produce this delicious fruit!
Tags: fig tree, figs, fruit trees, winter, winter gardening, winter plant care
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Wrapping the fig tree for winter.
12 Oct Wrapping the fig tree for winter.
Posted at 03:00h in Uncategorized by bass
Fig trees are subtropical trees, but they can grow successfully in cold climate if protected in winter. There are several methods to protecting the fig tree, Some growers bury the tree, some wrap it with different materials. If the tree is only a year or two old, it’s safer to bend the tree to the ground and cover it with mulch or other material, however as the tree matures it’s harder to bend down.This is a method that has worked for me successfully.
The planting location is very important in cold regions. Choose a spot that gets enough sun and close to a wall or a structure. The tree benefits from the warmth of the wall in winter, and it is less exposed to frigid wind. An ideal spot is a south facing wall.
Wrap the tree in mid November or anytime after the tree has been exposed to freeze and has lost its leaves. Wrapping it too early, you run the risk of mold.
This is a good time to prune the tree so it is easier to wrap. Select 3-4 trunks and prune all others. This allows enough sun to get to the fruit the following growing season.
Next tie the branches together.
To avoid mice damage during winter, I add a container filled with Moth balls. I used to get severe mice damage before I started using the moth balls, it really works. Place at least 2 to 3 containers, you can use plastic yogurt containers and puncture several holes.
Next, wrap the tree with an old piece of carpet. You can use even a bigger carpet that can cover the entire tree.
Finally wrap the entire tree with a tarp. It’s important not to use a black or a clear plastic, in order to avoid heat build up on a sunny day. You can find different colors at any hardware store. The tarp usually has tiny holes that allows the heat to escape in winter. Some growers leave the top open and place a pot in top of it to allow the heat to escape, it’s up to you.
After wrapping it with the tarp, tie it together.
It is important not to keep the wrapping material on when the weather warms up in spring. The best time to unwrap it is when temperatures stay above 25°F which is usually done in end of March in Pennsylvania. When you unwrap the fig tree in spring you may notice some of the tips are brown, those can be pruned off due to winter damage
Following a survey conducted among various fig tree enthusiasts, who grow this plant in border-line or extremely cold conditions, I noticed with some surprise, the divergence away from planting in the fig trees original preferred and natural environment.
In fact, it would be normal to consider that young and vigorous fig plants may be damaged or completely killed by ground frost, when temperatures drop to between -2 and -4°C.
On the other hand, if it benefits from protection during the first years and succeeds in developing, the fig tree may easily resist temperatures of between -15° and -17°C, and even less for some varieties, when planted in very good locations (-18°C at least).
Structure and physiology of the fig tree
The fig tree has a mixed constitution, herbaceous and woody. This structure can be observed in Spring, and when new branches appear, they are gorged with lymph. Lymph is a milky liquid, rich in water, resin and accumulated substances (starch) that with the exception of water, make an excellent anti-freeze.
The new vegetation mainly uses these accumulated substances which are available within the wood. Therefore it is not surprising that new growth is so vigorous in spring; actually the plant uses the energy accumulated during the previous year, in the form of carbohydrate.
The fig tree is in part a succulent plant that lives in hot desert-like zones and is then programmed to store huge quantities of water in its trunk, branches and roots, during the vegetative growth. In fact, in its natural environment, rains are rare and droughts are frequent.
The accumulation of substances in reserve, inside its wood and roots (resin and carbohydrates) is due to the metabolism of the plant (by light, heat).
These conditions are fundamental for fruit ripening.
The natural environment of the fig tree
In its original habitat, the fig tree lives in soils that are very well drained, sunny, hot and arid.
The fig tree prefers to grow on rocks or hills, where the soil is free-draining, getting sun and heat from all sides, rather than in very rich, cold soils.
Often, the neighboring rocks and soils are bare and reflect the heat; the grass around the plant is non-existent and the soil is therefore dry and burned by the sun.
At the end of the summer, when the fruits are ripe, they have very little water at their disposal and hence are very sweet.
The wood is very dehydrated as the long, hot and bright summer concentrates the anti-freeze substances (resin and starch), making it lose the herbaceous consistency and allowing it to take a dry appearance.
In this state, the plant resists cold to temperatures 10° to 12°C lower than for the herbaceous structure.
The Autumn rains occur when the vegetative cycle is completed and have almost no effect on hydration.
In its normal environment, fertilization is poor and often achieved at a low level, with decomposing branches and sprigs. The reduced soil fertility does not encourage new growth of herbaceous parts.
To illustrate this case, in England, it is not surprising that mature fig trees, reputedly hardy, succumb to frost at -5°C and below. In these regions where summers are cool with frequent rains, planting fig trees in half shade or full shade can be a disaster, as new growth doesnt harden correctly and the branches remain in a herbaceous state. In this case, Winter protective sheets will not be effective because the herbaceous part will be lost and severe trimming will be required.
What action can be taken?
It is obvious that for a gardener, it is impossible to prevent rain or modify the climate.
However, it is possible to avoid planting a fig tree where water stagnates. If the plant stays in a humid environment, it will continue to gorge itself with water. It is then mandatory to select arid or at least very well drained locations.
Consequently, it is evident that hills or sloping land are the ideal sites. Basically, a deep draining system is fundamental. It is also possible to create a big mound made of pebbles, compost and slightly enriched garden soil. The fig tree should be planted on the south and sunny side of the mound.
Around the plant, the soil must be bare, weeded and well hoed. Nevertheless, there can be grass but it must be mown as otherwise it retains humidity. Below the grass, the ground always stays humid; this may only be visible with morning dews. The consequence is that during an important part of the day, humidity evaporates from the ground and reduces heat in a significant way. As a result, the metabolism of the plant is slowed down and less sugar is accumulated in the fruits as well as less resin and starch in the wood, which are necessary for resisting against frost in winter.
Do not water around the fig tree as the roots are often much longer than the branches!
When Autumn arrives, if the plant is vigorous and still growing with herbaceous branches, this is a bad sign, because it means that the fig tree did not receive enough heat to harden its wood. In fact, the fig tree is wasting nutritional reserves to produce nothing useful as the herbaceous branches will be destroyed by the first frosts. As a consequence, the subsequent year fruiting (first crop or breba) is compromised. Furthermore, with the diminishing reserves, the anti-freeze substances are diluted with water in the herbaceous branches, which then definitely cant resist the winter frosts.
The soil may be lightly fertilized, but never after the month of June. The young plants are prone to be more herbaceous and are therefore more delicate; on the contrary a good hardening of the wood enhances greatly the resistance to frost.
In cold areas, it is advisable to protect young fig trees during their first winter. It is recommended to build a teepee covered with Winter protective sheeting around the fig tree, three-quarters filled with dead leaves which slowly decompose (plane-tree leaves are ideal).
Only uncover the fig tree after the last frosts, but no later, as even a slight frost of -2°C can destroy the tender green buds with all their fruiting potential. Ensure you uncover the fig tree promptly to avoid early sprouting which would be enhanced by excessive covering. After two or three years, this protection will no longer be necessary. Even with these measures, a fig tree planted in a wrong location will not succeed in a cold area. The best location, sunny south or south-west facing should be provided.
When planting a fig tree against a wall, keep in mind that it develops powerful roots and that eventually, it is possible that they may penetrate and damage drain pipes. Furthermore, if your house is very old, the roots will attempt to infiltrate any gaps in the mortar.
If you have the opportunity to travel to the south of Europe, observe the fig tree in its natural environment, growing wild on dry stone walls or rocks.
Often you will find fig trees planted near stone walls or houses, where they always receive a lot of sun and reflected heat, during many hours of the day.
In conclusion, a micro-climate, natural or artificial may also make a difference.
Figs (Ficus carica)
Very few folks have enjoyed the sweet flavor of a juicy fresh fig because figs are very perishable. Consequently they cannot be harvested, shipped, and sold commercially in a store before rotting. So most of us have only enjoyed figs that have been dried, especially during the Christmas holidays, and of course in the filling of the ever popular fig newton cookie. The only way to enjoy a fresh fig is to grow your own fig tree.
If you have well draining soil that is reasonably fertile and full sun the books will tell you that you can easily grow a fig, assuming you live in the South. Fortunately, that is not entirely true. Figs grow best in full sun, but can produce nice fruit in part shade in the deep south. Technically, figs are hardy only to zone 7, which would mean areas south of Pennsylvania west to Nebraska. Don’t tell the thousands of folks living as far north as Lansing Michigan or Boston Massachusets, that they can’t grow figs, because there are productive fig trees that far north that have been producing for generations. Growing figs successfully in the north just takes a few more precautions than are needed in the south.
The fig is one of the earliest fruits known to man. It is estimated that they have been around for at least 6,000 years. The Romans regarded Bacchus as the god who introduced the fig to mankind making the tree sacred. That’s why most images of the Roman Gods were often crowned with fig leaves. There was even a fig tree in the Garden of Eden, and in fact, the fig is the most talked about fruit in the Bible.
There are two types of figs, the “common fig” that produces fruit without pollination, and the “Smyrna fig” that requires pollination by a fig wasp (Blastophaga spp.), that lives in the “caprifig” (male fig), to set fruit. The “common-type” (self-pollinated) fig is more commonly grown in the backyard and is the one you will find in your local nursery. The “Smyrna fig” is found mostly in California in commercial production for dried figs.
The fig is an attractive deciduous tree that can grow to be 50 feet tall. However, most of the cultivars suitable for backyard production will grow from 10 to 30 feet. Their branches have a twisting form, spreading wider than they are tall. The sap contains copious milky latex that can be irritating to human skin. In the home landscape, fig trees are often grown as a multiple-branched shrubs, especially where subjected to frequent frost damage. Figs may be espaliered, but preferably where spreading roots may be restricted, as in containers.
Figs have huge bright green leaves compared to most shade trees. They can be as long as 12 inches growing alternating along the stem. They feel rough hairy on the upper surface and soft hairy on the underside.
Unlike other tree fruits or nuts, fig trees have no blossoms on their branches; the tiny flowers are inverted and actually develop inside the fruit. These many tiny flowers produce the crunchy little seeds which give figs their unique texture. While the figs growing in California need a tiny wasp (Blastophaga grossorum)to pollinate the flowers, the common fig grown in the backyard has flowers that are all female and need no pollination.
The common fig bears a first crop, called the “breba” crop, in the spring on last season’s growth. The second crop is borne in the late summer or early fall on the new growth and is known as the main crop. In the colder climates the breba crop is often destroyed by spring frosts, but the main crop will come through fine.
Buy Michigan Fruit Tree, Flowering Tree, Nut Trees, Berry Plants, Grapevines, Bamboo Plants and Shade Trees
Most Michigan top gardeners want to grow a large fruit, nut or berry crop as soon as possible, however, the most important consideration in growing trees and plants is whether the tree will be damaged or killed by quick, frigid winter temperature drops. The gardener considers whether to buy a large tree or to plant a fast growing tree, however there is a conundrum and a “Catch 22” that faces him, because a fast growing tree or plant has elongated and diluted cell wall inner material like lignin and cellulose that makes the tree wall cold hardy, so that fast growing trees are often susceptible to low temperature damage or death, and frequently it is better to plant a slow growing tree or plant.
During the winter months Michigan experiences extremely cold temperatures for fruit tree, especially in Northern Michigan. Many fruit trees grow in Michigan, and the Red Mulberry Tree, Morus rubra, is a native mulberry tree that is found growing in all MI forests. Mulberries are a favorite food for wildlife animals like deer and game birds in Michigan. Apples are favorite fruit trees in MI., and several apple tree cultivars, such as the Lodi apple trees and Cortland apple tree are cold hardy, but the Lodi must be cross pollinated, if a gardener expects to produce apples. Dolgo crabapple, and Transcendent crabapple trees are very good pollinators for apple trees, because the crabapple pollen matures over a long period of time and is available over an extensive period for apple pollination. Sour cherry trees are best grown as pie cherries, since the North Star cherry trees and Montmorency red cherry trees are very cold hardy. Sweet cherries like the Black Tartarian cherry and the Bing cherry will grow in Southern Michigan, but are somewhat less cold hardy than Sour (pie) cherries. Sungold apricot trees produce very sweet apricots of a high quality. The recommended fig trees to grow in the State of Michigan, the Chicago Hardy fig tree is guaranteed to grow in USDA climate zones of 5 and 6 with proper mulching and shelter. Many other figs, the Black Mission fig, the white Italian fig tree and the brown turkey fig trees can be grown in MI greenhouse or protected to grow indoors.
White walnut trees, Juglans cinerea, are native American nut trees and delicious nuts to use in baking and cooking. The White walnut, Juglans cinerea is also called the “Butternut”, a very delicious nut, and the wood of both the White walnut tree and the Black walnut trees are very valuable, desirable wood to use in furniture and crafts. The Carya ovata, Shagbark hickory nut trees, produce bushels of nuts much favored by wildlife animals and wildlife game birds. The Shagbark hickory nut tree wood is often a favorite smoking agent for adding sweet, smoky flavor to fowl and other meats. Chinese chestnut trees and the native American chestnut hybrid trees are blight resistant and produce their heavy nut crops in the late fall.
Find Berry plants, especially blueberry bushes, that are a very important commercial berry plant that is grown in Michigan blueberry orchards. Elderberries are native berry bushes and are grown for Elderberry wine and jelly. Red raspberry plants such as Boyne red raspberry bushes, Heritage and Latham raspberries are important red raspberry plants for MI. backyard gardeners. Cold hardy grape vines such as the white Niagara grapevine. and the blue Seedless Concord grapes are important grapevines for planting for fresh eating, or to be fermented as wine grapes, Seedless blue Concord grape juice, and grape jelly. Discover how to get information tips on reviews on how to order and purchase and grow Michigan berry bushes.
Michigan homeowners need to get a cooling, high quality, shade during the hot summer and Michigan State University that is located at East Lansing, MI.. recommends several types of Oak Trees to plant as shade trees to include Black oak, Quercus velutina that grows very large leaves that are perfect for shade,. and White oak trees Quercus alba, are slower growing, but planting a White oak tree provides a shady spot for perennial and annual flowering plants. The Northern Red Oak, Quercus rubra, is a good shade provider, and the spectacular red leaf color during the Northern fall season attracts tourists and many fall leaf color enthusiastic explorers. The Swamp White oak tree, Quercus bicolor, is a vigorous, fast growing oak tree, even in upland elevations. The Bur Oak, Quercus macrocarpa, has very large leaves, perfect for making dense shade, and the Pin Oak, Quercus palustris, has brilliant fall forest leaf color of many brilliant and vibrant rainbow colors. The Sycamore tree, Platanus occidentalis. has very large leaves for fast shade and yellow fall color, and the Sycamore tree is one of the fastest growing trees of America forests and is a native to Michigan tree forests.The Sassafras tree is an excellent flowering tree with yellow fragrant blooms and also functions as a very large growing shade tree. The weeping willow tree is one of the best rapid growing MI shade trees that makes a dense privacy screen that will filter out noise and automobile fumes. The Tulip poplar tree and the Lombardy poplar poplar tree are fast growing trees, and the Lombardy poplar tree has been recorded to grow over 8 feet in the first year that it has been transplanted and when planted in dense extended rows will provide a good privacy fence and a wind breaker. During the fall the Ginkgo tree, the sweet gum trees and the green ash tree are brilliantly colored in their leaf change.
Wildlife food sources are very important to animal conservationists, and the Kieffer pear tree is a hard pear that ripens over a long period in the fall, along with the American persimmon tree to provide aromatic scented fruit for deer, squirrels and game birds. The seedling crabapple tree, the black mulberry tree and the Chickasaw plum trees ripen smaller fruit during the normal growing season. In the fall the elderberry plant, the autumn olive tree and the strawberry bushes ripen lots of berries during the fall that attract the trophy deer and game birds and animals. The hickory tree, the American chestnut trees (blight resistant) and the Chinese chestnut tree drop hickory nuts and chestnuts over a long period of time in the fall and winter as wildlife food becomes more scarce. The white oak tree, the gobbler oak tree and the fast growing sawtooth oak trees produce heavy crops of acorns that attract Michigan wildlife animals, including deer, turkey and game animals.
Several Maple trees are fast growing Michigan shade trees that include the Red Maple shade trees. Acer rubra, with giant leaves of red in the Fall and the sugar maple tree and silver maple tree. The American Beech trees, Fagus grandiflora grow into enormous shade trees, and the beechnuts are good, fall food for Michigan wildlife animals and MI. wildlife birds. The Black Gum shade tree, Nyssa sylvatica, is a native tree suitable to very low, wet areas and will provide dense shade during Michigan hot summers. The American Elm tree, Ulmus americana, is a fast growing tree that is grown for shading home entertainment areas. The Tulip tree, Liriodendron tulipfera, is one of the fastest growing, native, Michigan trees that gives the bonus of tulip like yellow, flowering tree branches loaded with fragrant, three inch cup-shaped, tulip- like flowers. The Redbud tree, Cercis canadensis, is a native flowering tree to Michigan forests, and the “Forest Pansy” Redbud tree is a highly desirable flowering tree for landscaping.Two other very cold hardy trees are the dogwood tree and the purple wisteria tree that also flowers in a white alternate color.
The best Michigan top bamboo plants are presently being successfully grown from Detroit in the South Michigan to the Capitol at Lansing, and will survive the seriously cold winters that can rarely drop temperatures to minus 20 degrees below zero. In Michigan bamboo plants will flourish when planted in the full sun or in partial shade and can best grow in an organic damp soil. The stalks of the bamboo grow in a wide variety of colors to include yellow, black-green, blue and even variegated poles or leaves. The most popular use in the landscapes of bamboo plants is as a privacy screen that filters out sound, car fumes and blocks the traffic of intruders. This fast growing privacy plant is beautiful when growing as a hedge or as a clump of specimen stalks (culms, stems, poles) Any time of the year, you can order bamboo plants from Ty Ty Bamboo Nursery ( tytyga.com) and the plants will be neatly boxed and shipped fast to you doorstep.
For tree lovers and plant collectors in Michigan, Yucca trees, Agave plants and Aloe plants are fascinating spiny, thorny plants with prickly sharp spines at the end of the leaf that give fair warning to beware children. The well publicized Aloe vera plant has juices in the leaf that have first aid healing qualities for bumblebee stings, fire ant bites and burn wounds to the skin. The Agave tequilana has sweet juice that is fermented into the alcohol beverage, tequila. There are several evergreen trees, Yucca rostrata, the Spanish Bayonet, Yucca gloriosa, and the Joshua Tree, Yucca brevifolia that are cold hardy enough to grow outside in your yard in Michigan. The Century Plant, Agave americana, ‘Marginata’ is a white brilliant striped plant that grows into a large vibrantly colored specimen plant that at maturity sends up a 30 foot tall inflorescence and then dies, but a cluster of small agaves remain at the stump of the plant. The Aloe vera plant contains a juice with healing and curing qualities for fire ant stings, bee bites and wounds and burns to the flesh, and the Aloe vera plants are widely grown in dish gardens as a container plant for first aid treatments.