Fig Placement

Something I just thought of and that is has anyone ever hammered some 2x4’ around a fig into the ground and sheeted it with plywood? That may be a better alternative than burlap filled with leaves or bending them to the ground. The plant would maintain form and be protected. Prior to boxing one in, put 8 or 10, or 12" of mulch over the ground but not touching the trunk.

Thanks, Dax.

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I would place it where it gets full sun. I build frames around my plants that will freeze and use a double layer of plastic. I don’t get near as cold as you do but it seems to work great especially if you put a light bulb inside there for heat

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East side of the house, hands down. This will limit damage from westerly winter winds. Your zone is very cold.

After 5 or 6 leaves in summer, pinch (snap off) the tips of the branches to induce fruiting. It might take a few years for the tree roots to establish.

Only the most cold-hardy will survive. You need a super cold-hardy variety that also has early-ripening. I would recommend Hardy Chicago or Celeste.

Most everything else would be limited to pot culture.

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Thanks a lot, folks.

Great tip @Matt_in_Maryland to induce fruiting. Thank you.

fyi, The two are Marseilles Black VS & White Triana.

Dax

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MBVS might survive in-ground. Not sure about WT. You might consider over-wintering WT potted in a garage or basement.

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According to @robert_2007 descriptions they are both hardier than the popular Hardy Chicago. There are a great many to choose from.

Dax

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4 hours of sun wouldn’t be enough to fruit well especially in a short zone 5b season so I would go with the 100% full sun exposed area. You will need to protect the figs every year either way unless you want them to grow back up from the ground on all but the unusually mildest winters.

Building a shed over the trees may be a good idea if it is an option. Electric pipe heating cables could be another good addition to make sure they stay warm enough.

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100% sun is the only option all fig trees need more sun than 4 hours to produce. As far as protecting them I have no personal experience protecting in colder than 3 degrees Fahrenheit and I only had two fig trees in ground then. I know in warmer climates that goes down to about 0 degrees Fahrenheit some people create a micro-climate to protect plants like citrus, They basically create a huge box with restraining wall blocks, the ground of the gardens are lower than ground level using the ground as some insulation. yet they do not cover the top like the burring the tree method. The more you are willing to spend upfront the better your protection could be. like there is a natural way to heat the area very effectively too, yet that alone would initially cost over $1,000

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I met a guy around here who has figs growing in the shade, he told me it took about 30 years before they really became productive. I’ve also found them in part sun/dappled shade locations, one that was surrounded by asphalt on 3 sides was also fairly productive from the extra heat I suppose, could also have been that the shade trees grew up after the fig was established.

Exposed sites have trouble with the first frost/freeze of the fall, row cover is very helpful in that situation.

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All great ideas. I like the sunken hole but am not going to do that.

I should’ve mentioned that I’m on six acres and that good soil and where I have open spots is 150 meters away from my home. No electrical…

I’ll just have to gut it out. Protect it with aluminum insulation on the inside of a box or lean it to the ground, and protect it basically the same way.

Thank you all!

Dax

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I have a list from Bass who named five cultivars that will produce if killed to the ground. I’m not home and can’t access my notes. Black Bethlehem was one, all I remember?

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Looking forward to seeing that list…

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I’ve gotten ripe fruit from the ground for these:
Etna types:
MBVS
Gino’s Black
Black Greek
Sal’s
Hardy Chicago
Salem Dark
Black Bethlehem
Toto’s Purple
Tom’s Etna
Antonio Dark
Malta Black
Danny’s Delight (may be mislabeled)
Sunfire
Meade

Others (in order of productivity)
Florea
LSU Tiger (Easton Purple)
Excell
RdB
LdA
DFIC 069 Barnisotte
DFIC 017 Brown Turkey
Adriatic JH
Aubique Petite
Nero 600 M
Vista
Sicilian Red (Tatnall)

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Sooooo why not do both? Make cuttings and root some for both spots.
I saw the hoop house you built. Surely a small wind block to create a southern facing wall would be easy for you.

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Hi Anne,

Here’s the situation simplified with photos.

Walking outside my home on the East side. So you’d going onto a small barbecuing deck.

Everything was planned. Above is from my kitchen.

Now you’re looking south from my deck. Looking off your right shoulder. I built another plant holding bench up against the house which slopes signigifacntly. This is why my greenhouse benches slope upward (heading south.) In front of the hoophouse is a tight, stone path with a raised bed on the other side of the path. If you were to walk down the steps of my deck and turn right you would walk directly thru the center of my hoophouse and once exiting and turn right… that stone path leads you to a greenhouse that’s attached to my home. There’s another significantly wider raised bed in front of the greenhouse. And I’m building more of them. And I cannot plant in front of the greenhouse because that block all the sun thru winter to the plants at the floor stage and possible at the second level up.

So you see it’s not going to work. I hope I didn’t bore you to death!

Now looking over your left shoulder from my deck. This is where I could fit two. I’ve put all my plant cages here so they cannot be seen by anyone but me. My house sits way back so no-one coming down my driveway could see that junky pile of cages. I would get rid of them…


And the Eastern side of my hoophouse has two rhododendrons I hesitated to plant there as things lay. Tell me if I’m missing something because I’ve thought about removing the rhododendrons to replace with figs. The way I see it is if I plant the figs let’s speculate 4’ away then even when the hoophouse is winterized, the figs are still 4’ away and not gaining the advantage of planting right up against any structure. Maybe I’ve been overthinking this???

Dax

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Okay, I’ve convinced myself the answer was in front of me all along. I’ll move those rhododendrons and plant the figs and they will receive sunlight all morning, all day, and all night. Thanks, Anne!

Thanks very much,

Dax

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Thanks for the list as I want to put five in the ground. I have at least five on that list cool!

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I wasn’t sure if the list would help anyone in zones lower than 7 as that’s where @hoosierbanana is.

Drew, we’re in about the same zone. Aren’t the roots hardiness equally important? Shouldn’t we be planting the cold hardiest of the cold hardiest? I’m kind of feeling real dumb right now.

I understand there are some on that list that qualify: Danny’s Deight for example. But aren’t there a lot on that list that are not cold hardy rated at all… ?

Dax

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Fruiting after winter kill is really a factor or precociousness and ripening speed. Assuming there are buds below ground to regrow in spring and the tree is healthy, figs can survive very cold temperatures. A few people have punted some out there with no help to see what happens in colder zones and the roots mostly survived from what I recall.

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Super information.

Dax

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