• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
stewards:
  • r ranson
  • paul wheaton
  • Beau M. Davidson
master gardeners:
  • John F Dean
  • Timothy Norton
  • Nancy Reading
  • Carla Burke
  • Jay Angler
  • Christopher Weeks
gardeners:
  • Tina Wolf
  • Saana Jalimauchi
  • thomas rubino

Current Progress with Figs in Zone 7A (Virginia)

 
pollinator
Posts: 180
Location: Zone 7a, 42", Fairfax VA Piedmont (clay, acidic, shady)
36
forest garden fungi urban chicken woodworking homestead
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So far, have done well with four Hardy Chicago figs from a big-box store; planted them in Spring 2021 and they survived our winter outside with no protection (albeit in a sunny area near my house).  One of them even got to 9 ft tall last fall and tried to produce figs, though they didn't fully form.  I believe it got below 10F on at least a few nights here during mid-January.  Unfortunately, a Brown Turkey I planted in summer 2021 from Monticello did not survive the winter.  In Monticello they grow on a very sunny and rocky protected micro-climate, which may get more winter sun than my house.

Also have had success this Spring in rooting fig cuttings from a neighbor's tree.  They weren't sure what species it is, but presumably something very hardy, as it's over 15 ft tall.  These got a small cut in bark to expose the cambium, dipped in water, dipped in a powdered root hormone, and then put into potting soil (into a hole poked first with a stick).  They have done great with occasional watering, and moved into the garage during a few nights of 25 degree lows.  These were all cut and planted on 20 March.

This year I've also started three small figs from Edible Landscaping in pots - a Celeste, Conadria, and Long Island.  Not sure yet if I want to plant these permanently in the fall or take them inside for the winter.
 
Josh Garbo
pollinator
Posts: 180
Location: Zone 7a, 42", Fairfax VA Piedmont (clay, acidic, shady)
36
forest garden fungi urban chicken woodworking homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Update on figs.  The Brown Turkey actually survived the winter, albeit with several inches of winter damage.  The current project is "low-tech" fig cuttings - clip a bunch of twigs, stick them some potting soil, and hope for the best.  So far 90% of them have rotted and are thriving.
 
gardener
Posts: 823
Location: Coastal Chesapeake, VA - Zone 7b/8a - Humid
258
2
cattle homeschooling kids monies fish chicken bee building solar horse homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If you do it right… they should do decent.

I wonder if figs are like what they say about citrus trees… in that they won’t reach that Winter hardiness until the trunk hits year 5 or so… and gets girth to it/lignified/and a thicker layer of bark.

I am trying citrus here in-ground on the border of 7B/8A in Chesapeake, VA.

Even my Meyer Lemons (only rated to 25F when mature) are just fine after seeing actual temps down to 7F and wind chills below 0F this past Winter.

My baby figs are all still alive as well.

One big thing I noticed about what the main difference of a branch surviving or not is…

If they woke up during that false-Summer (several weeks in the mid to upper 80s) we had that was then followed by nights back down to 20F to 25F. Any tree that woke up… was killed back to the ground. That sap froze and destroyed them.

For instance… I had one branch of my Italian 258 wake up and it died. The other two branches were just fine except the tips.

My large mother in-ground Smith woke up aggressively and then was killed back to the ground. The one in the container stayed dormant and was just fine like nothing happened.

Same thing happened to my two LSU purple figs in large containers. One woke up and died back to the ground… the other does not think anything happened and has zero damage.

All of these trees are direct copies of each other.

I aim to mulch that Smith deep this time since it woke up so easily.

Good luck! I can’t wait to be plucking some great figs off of them into the future.

Oh, and my citrus is all planted into a micro climate… and had extra protection on top. Though Yuzu Lemons are said to be good down to 0F to 5F
 
gardener
Posts: 1312
Location: Zone 6b
851
forest garden fungi books chicken fiber arts ungarbage
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Marty Mitchell wrote:

All of these trees are direct copies of each other.



That's very interesting since they are supposed to be identical in genetics. Does the difference in ages  affect the wake up time?
I rooted six smaller non-producing twigs trimmed off from the mother Chicago hardy fig. I am going to plant them all, maybe some will come up with different traits to select for.
 
Marty Mitchell
gardener
Posts: 823
Location: Coastal Chesapeake, VA - Zone 7b/8a - Humid
258
2
cattle homeschooling kids monies fish chicken bee building solar horse homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

May Lotito wrote:
That's very interesting since they are supposed to be identical in genetics. Does the difference in ages  affect the wake up time?
I rooted six smaller non-producing twigs trimmed off from the mother Chicago hardy fig. I am going to plant them all, maybe some will come up with different traits to select for.



Age does make a difference I hear. So does hormones within each individual tree that changes based on several factors like branching orientation (Horizontal/Vertical).

I believe the main difference in wakeup time is mainly a combo of two different main things though.

1) The cultivar. Some just wait longer than others no matter what conditions. This causes them to have a better cold tolerance rating. Like my Shangri La mulberries both woke up and got zapped. However, my Illinois Everbearing didn't wake up for another month at least... and didn't come close to having a mark. In fact, I think that thing is rated to survive down to zone 5 while my Shangri La mulberries didn't survive their first Winter here on the border of 7B/8A. I will try again though... and make copies to grow out in pots for a few years to harden off in a protected spot before putting them back out there again.

2) Ground Temperature! As the sun gets higher in the sky in the spring/and the days get longer... the ground warms... and signals things to wake up. The mistake I made with my in-ground Smith was... I had put a ring of chicken wire around it and filled it with leaves to about 2' off of the ground. This insulated the ground and kept it from getting as cold during the Winter... which left the tree in less of a deep sleep. Then when we had the few weeks of warm weather (a few of the days even got up to the mid 90's), I had removed that ring of chicken wire and pulled off the pile of leaves. Which really woke the tree up.

This year I am going to try something different to see if it works. I am just going to put 3" or 4" of bright pine wood flakes (animal bedding from Tractor Supply) around that tree. The cold will be able to seep in during the Winter and the brighter color will keep the soil cooler during the next false Summer. At the moment I have a black nursery fabric that gets hot once it is exposed to the Sun.

This will help the tree to come back from its roots easier too... as it blocked it this past Spring and Almost did it in.
 
May Lotito
gardener
Posts: 1312
Location: Zone 6b
851
forest garden fungi books chicken fiber arts ungarbage
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Indeed, I don't see the time to break dormancy listed per fig cultivar, so it's more likely influenced by environmental factors. I have only one mature Chicago hardy fig and it always dies back to the ground then wakes up in mid May, avoiding any late frost damage. I aquired 5 more cultivars and they may behave differently though.

I am trying something different this year to save the first year branches from dying back. When this year's new growths reach 1.5 ft high I started to pin them down horizontally on the ground. This results in a sprawling low bush that will be easily covered in soil and cardboards for winter protection. If the branches survive I will continue the process and let the radius the fig bush grow wider each time.

Here are the pictures of the fig bush at about 1.5 ft tall except for the central branch left unbent. 100 figs are currently ripening.

20230730_095908.jpg
 Octopus fig bush
Octopus fig bush
20230730_100118.jpg
The crown and outgrowing bent branches
The crown and outgrowing bent branches
 
today's feeble attempt to support the empire
Free Heat movie
https://freeheat.info
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic