I am going to try a couple of new varieties of figs for breba production as I am zone 8b. I know I can root them but I was wondering about trying grafting with new fig varieties. I have only done pear and apple grafting thus far.
I have a stella that is about 4 yrs old doesn’t produce any breba… so… I was going to dig it up but then considered grafting a couple of new varieties onto it rather than tossing it. The videos and pictures I’ve seen all seem to show grafting onto 1 yr or new wood. I am wondering if you can cut off an old branch and graft as you would for apple?
Do you have late or early frost issues? If so the graft can be lost When dieback ensues. I grafted in 9b California but now in north Georgia 7b these frosts are a problem. (And we’ve only had 8b winters since I moved here three years ago)
thanks you, Nora. I will take a look
Georgia - I was going to way until all chance of frost is past. The fig tree is up against my house and can be given some winter protection. Did that the 1st yr or two to help it get going. Good consideration… Thanks
To answer the question you asked- I graft figs just like they were apples. I do bark grafts on older wood, whip and tongue on young shoots, etc. I see no difference except you can lose the fig graft in a hard winter
Any type graft on fig can be winter-killed with a really bad winter unless you do a good job winterizing the fig.
Also - I try to place the graft as low as possible to the ground so when I winterize by dumping a foot of hardwood mulch on the base of the tree in December the graft has almost a foot of mulch protecting it. Tarp over the mulch helps too.
Hambone…thanks for clarifying that. I have 3 fig trees right now. For each, I have given the tree some pretty good winter protection the 1st year or two.
Thanks for the heads up on frailty of the new grafts. Makes good sense. I don’t think I have come across that warning in my recent reading on fig grafts …but it make absolute sense when I think about it!! I will make sure they are well protected for the 1st year or two !
thank you very much for the info!
If rootstock is large and bark is slippery, bark grafting is an easy win. I usually make narrow slice then.
separate bark just scion TIP width then use scion own tip to make its pocket. The least damage to park, the better. Search control of sap flow in grafts. Use of wound sealer like Doc Farwell has worked great for me to graft even during summer.
To clarify further: the above ground graft is subject to winter kill forever, not just in early years. Figgers who discuss grafting figs without mentioning winter kill usually live in hot zones where winter kill is rare to impossible OR they use elaborate winter protection measures outdoors every year OR they grow their figs in pots and shelter them indoors in winter. Piling a foot of hardwood mulch over the graft in December may be all it needs most years, not sure.
Ca - thank you for those tips. I didn’t know about Doc Farwell and problems with sap control. I had to prune one of my figs last summer as it was overgrowing my sidewalk. there was a good deal of sap flow.
Hambone - thanks for that clarification. If winter freeze is always and forever an issue, I would be better off just digging up that stella and putting in a new plant. Thank you very much for these northern garden tips. Bummer but thanks for saving me!
I’m no expert in what temps cause fig top dieback but some people say it starts around 20 degrees F. Some say 15 degrees. You might research that. If you rarely get temps below that, a deep pile of hardwood mulch on the graft may work just fine.
Growth rate really affects hardiness. So if you graft onto a thick trunk the scion is going to grow like crazy the first year or 2 and is more likely to be damaged, soft green growth can be killed by a sudden freeze, it happens all the way down to Florida occasionally. But the same thing happens when you plant a new tree, the difference is the crown won’t die so it regrows the next year.
The third option is to dig the crown and graft to big roots, so that a portion of the scion is protected below ground and can regrow if it gets frozen.