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Fig Trees for Propagation  RSS feed

 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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I am so happy to have acquired a fig tree which I intend to propagate in the spring. It's large for my living space but it looks nice right now and I love it.

I am wondering what would be the best care for it over the winter. It gets quite cold here most winters, it freezes even in our barn. I could keep it in the house but is a warm dry winter healthy? I could put it in the stairway to the basement but to would make it difficult to use the stairs. We have a wood burning furnace down there and that's the best way to get wood down there. If it was the best for the fig I would consider it!

Also, there are quite a few unripe figs on it, should I take them off? I feel like I should, even though I am hoping they will ripen. Will the leaves all fall off? How much should I water it? What am I forgetting to ask?

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leila hamaya
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very nice =) that looks like a happy tree =)

while i am no expert on figs, and its been a long time since i gardened in new england, i can say some things about what i would do, and give some ideas.

figs are so easy to root cuttings from, its probably not as necessary to be really precise as with some other things, but i would take the cuttings now ish, or in a few weeks (once it goes dormant and loses leaves).
or at least take some cuttings once it goes dormant, maybe more just trim it into a nice shape and use whatever comes off as your cuttings...then take some more cuttings, if you need to, just as its about to come out dormancy (late winter).

these are the best times for me, i have been finding - just after it goes dormant, and just before it comes out of dormancy. then again i took a ton of cuttings mid summer this year on my figs, and they came out fine =) so maybe its not that important. with other stuff i have been finding that timing is crucial, especially since we get so hot and bright in the summer (not good for any kind of cutting).

but an added advantage to taking them sooner, would be you get to trim the tree down to a more managable size for wintering.

yes, it will lose all its leaves, once it gets colder, i probably would leave it outside until then, so it gets the clear signal that it is winter, and its cold and that should force it into dormancy.....once the leaves start falling off its dormant. when you bring it inside though, it may start to think it's spring already! best to keep it dry, and not too bright. it can even take lots of darkness, once its dormant. close by to your basement heater might be an ok place, even if theres little to no light....

some more ideas-
the method i have heard most people use to overwinter figs outside is to use chicken wire/hardware cloth/metal fencing, wrap it in a circle around the base of the tree, and then fill the enclosure with straw/leaves/mulch.
then they cover the entire thing with plastic, put a bucket on top to hold it together, and sometimes even wrap an additional layer of something for the very outside (burlap, or ?).

another way is to actually uproot the fig! only on one side, then dig a trench and push the fig over to be laying down in the trench. then cover it with dirt and tons of warm mulch for winter. figs are so hardcore like this, they survive this ok. people then take them up in spring, re settle them in, back to being upright, but i might just leave them that way. in this way they would layer themselves, and you would get lots of branches come up from where it was horizontally underground, basically each branch would tun into a tree, and you would get a thicket of figs. i suppose it would be more difficult if you want to keep doing this, then you would have dig a ton of trenches, and basically be ground layering them...
 
leila hamaya
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also i would definitely let the figs ripen and eat them =) yummmmm=)
that tree actually looks to be quite old, for its size, especially. the figs are nearly done, so you wont lose anything by eating them.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
69
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It's in a pot now, but my friend would like her pot back some time. I had hoped to get it planted and protected in a crater garden I plan to make from filling in an inground pool

We have had some pretty heavy frost this week, so I brought it in the house. Now today is warm and moist again.
The tree is almost too big and heavy for me to move alone, so I'm debating about taking it outside again.

What if I leave it in the house until the figs ripen and the leaves fall off, then put it in the basement? It's root bound but I thought I'd repot it when I take cuttings in the spring. I already know which branches I want to cut. Would it be better to cut them right after the leaves fall off?
 
John Polk
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Personally, I would not want to keep it in a very warm place.

You do not want it to winter-kill, but by the same token, if it is kept too warm, it may fail to go through the dormancy period. I don't know how important that is for figs, as they are very common in regions that get no true winter. It looks to be a very healthy tree.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
69
bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
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John Polk wrote:Personally, I would not want to keep it in a very warm place.

You do not want it to winter-kill, but by the same token, if it is kept too warm, it may fail to go through the dormancy period. I don't know how important that is for figs, as they are very common in regions that get no true winter. It looks to be a very healthy tree.


We don't keep it very hot in here in the winter, around 60-64. It does get dry when it's very cold out but I'm able to keep rosemary and pineapple sage alive all winter in here. Could I keep it in all winter and plant it in the spring in the crater garden?

Is ficus the houseplant the same as fig?
 
leila hamaya
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Matu Collins wrote:
It's in a pot now, but my friend would like her pot back some time. I had hoped to get it planted and protected in a crater garden I plan to make from filling in an inground pool

We have had some pretty heavy frost this week, so I brought it in the house. Now today is warm and moist again.
The tree is almost too big and heavy for me to move alone, so I'm debating about taking it outside again.

What if I leave it in the house until the figs ripen and the leaves fall off, then put it in the basement? It's root bound but I thought I'd repot it when I take cuttings in the spring. I already know which branches I want to cut. Would it be better to cut them right after the leaves fall off?


yes thats what i would do- take the cuttings now ish---->>>a few weeks from now.
it does look like its already starting to go dormant, so theres that issue about getting it fully into dormancy, and not into a false spring mode...where the plant starts to get signaled that its spring ( by warm temp and moisture) but its NOT, so it gets confuzzled and weird.
to keep it dormant, you want cool---cold, dry and dark ish. indirect, or indoor light is ok, but not too much of it.

ditto with the cuttings, though warm and the moist-not-wet thing gardeners always say, that really is important. for cuttings, warm is better. but dark and cool is ok for cuttings too, some people even start cuttings in the fridge, slowly.
its too easy to go overboard on moisture as well. putting them in full sun, or too bright and hot and wet, thats probably the most common mistakes.

when and if you do plant it outside, plant it really deeply, and just mound up a huge pile of mulch on top of it, so that the very top stick out and everything else is buried. or at least, this is how i do it, so it spreads underground and layers it. its not good to do with most fruits, but figs respond really well to it, especially if you want more cuttings to propagate. you can also do cuttings horizontally in medium, so they are completely buried except for the very tip.
 
leila hamaya
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and yes, those braided ficus house plants are the same family as the edible fig - the ficus genus. also the same genus as the tree the buddha is said to have sat beneath - the bodhi tree or banyan tree

---- and the same genus as the trees people make these groovy bridges out of --->>


Ficus elastica

ficus bridges

 
Bryant RedHawk
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hau kola Matu, Best thing to do for the fig tree is get it into the ground asap.
Once you have it planted in the soil, mulch around it fairly deeply (at least 6 inches but not against the trunk, leave a little space there) and water it in well.
Then you can prepare some smallish pots (at least 3 quart sized) prune the branches you need to and use those as cuttings.
When I make cuttings of my fig trees I use a knife to slit the bark at 3-4 places, evenly spaced around the stem base and 3" long.
Take the leaves off that are at or below your bark slices and plant so the slits are below the surface of the pot soil.
Use a plastic bag or a large clear jug to use as a cloche for each cutting, set these in a south facing window and nurture over the winter.
In the spring you should have some nice new baby trees to plant. I space my fig trees at 15 feet between trunks.

If you have some willow water, use that to water in the cuttings.

Now as for the growing figs, if you are getting frost, it is best to just remove the figs. If you aren't getting frost yet, then you can let them grow or you can remove them, your choice.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
69
bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:hau kola Matu, Best thing to do for the fig tree is get it into the ground asap.
Once you have it planted in the soil, mulch around it fairly deeply (at least 6 inches but not against the trunk, leave a little space there) and water it in well.
Then you can prepare some smallish pots (at least 3 quart sized) prune the branches you need to and use those as cuttings.
When I make cuttings of my fig trees I use a knife to slit the bark at 3-4 places, evenly spaced around the stem base and 3" long.
Take the leaves off that are at or below your bark slices and plant so the slits are below the surface of the pot soil.
Use a plastic bag or a large clear jug to use as a cloche for each cutting, set these in a south facing window and nurture over the winter.
In the spring you should have some nice new baby trees to plant. I space my fig trees at 15 feet between trunks.

If you have some willow water, use that to water in the cuttings.

Now as for the growing figs, if you are getting frost, it is best to just remove the figs. If you aren't getting frost yet, then you can let them grow or you can remove them, your choice.


My concerns about planting it directly in the ground: I don't want it to freeze and the place where I plan to plant it and root the cuttings isn't prepared yet. Would it be good to plant it now and uproot it in spring?
 
Bryant RedHawk
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If you don't want to or can't plant it in it's permanent home yet, just use the old nursery trick of "heeling in".
Since your friend is wanting their pot back, you could either get a large pot to put it in or wrap the root ball with burlap then dig a hole and set it n there, lots of thickly applied mulch will protect the roots and keeping it watered will prevent root freeze.

If it were mine and I was in your situation, I would burlap wrap the root ball and dig a hole for the winter sleep.
as far as cuttings go, you can wait till spring to do those or even wait till it puts off some new growth that isn't coming out where you want it too.
I make cuttings of what I like to call straggler branches (they are going to cross or are crossing a better formed branch and so would be pruned off anyway).
I usually make my cuttings around June and plant them up as I prune.
 
Francesco Delvillani
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Location: Italy
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Matu Collins wrote:I am so happy to have acquired a fig tree which I intend to propagate in the spring. It's large for my living space but it looks nice right now and I love it.

I am wondering what would be the best care for it over the winter. It gets quite cold here most winters, it freezes even in our barn. I could keep it in the house but is a warm dry winter healthy? I could put it in the stairway to the basement but to would make it difficult to use the stairs. We have a wood burning furnace down there and that's the best way to get wood down there. If it was the best for the fig I would consider it!

Also, there are quite a few unripe figs on it, should I take them off? I feel like I should, even though I am hoping they will ripen. Will the leaves all fall off? How much should I water it? What am I forgetting to ask?



The leaves will fall off in winter....it's normal !! Fig plant is not tropical, is mediterranean.....most cultivars can take 10F without any problem !! I don't know where you live...but have higher temperatures you can take it outside, near to a wall. The only problem is to protect the roots...in pot are more delicate because air tempeatures is lower than ground temperatures. You can put the fig's fruit on the tree...when temperature will drop down they'll fall off or will stop growing.
During winter water only if the soil is dried !!!
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
69
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Francesco Delvillani wrote:.....most cultivars can take 10F without any problem !! I don't know where you live...but have higher temperatures you can take it outside, near to a wall. The only problem is to protect the roots...in pot are more delicate because air tempeatures is lower than ground temperatures. You can put the fig's fruit on the tree...when temperature will drop down they'll fall off or will stop growing.
During winter water only if the soil is dried !!!


I am in New England where temperatures can go well below freezing for weeks in the winter.
 
Aaron Festa
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Location: Connecticut
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Matu do you know what kind of fig tree- Chicago hardy, brown turkey etc. I'm in CT and after the brutally winter we had last year both my 1yr old fig trees came back.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
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Aaron Festa wrote:Matu do you know what kind of fig tree- Chicago hardy, brown turkey etc. I'm in CT and after the brutally winter we had last year both my 1yr old fig trees came back.


That's good news! My friend on Cape Cod had a fig in a pot in an unheated greenhouse that froze and the top growth died but new growth appeared.

It's not a Chicago hardy.
 
R Scott
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If you heel it in, take cuttings now, the tips will die back over winter and you might as well use them instead of lose them.

We keep (hardy) figs alive in Kansas, in a very exposed spot. We make a big ring of chicken wire or hardware cloth and fill it with straw or sawdust to insulate as best we can.
 
Brendan DeVincent
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Hey all
So I'm actually in a very similar situation - I live in eastern central mass and have a young Chicago hardy fig which I purchased a few months back. I currently have it in a pot inside but have been debating whether to transplant it outside or not, which I'm starting to lean towards.
As I've read this discussion I got excited at the prospect of cuttings too...
The question is, Is there a time when a tree is too young to pull cuttings from?
The place i rent could really benefit from a couple of nice fig trees, but I don't want to jeopardize the health of the one I have at the potential for more growies
Thoughts?
Would a picture help to determine whether it could withstand the process or not?
Many thanks!
Brendan
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Brendan DeVincent wrote:Hey all
So I'm actually in a very similar situation - I live in eastern central mass and have a young Chicago hardy fig which I purchased a few months back. I currently have it in a pot inside but have been debating whether to transplant it outside or not, which I'm starting to lean towards.
As I've read this discussion I got excited at the prospect of cuttings too...
The question is, Is there a time when a tree is too young to pull cuttings from?
The place i rent could really benefit from a couple of nice fig trees, but I don't want to jeopardize the health of the one I have at the potential for more growies
Thoughts?
Would a picture help to determine whether it could withstand the process or not?
Many thanks!
Brendan


It is more about how many branches the tree has over how old it is. I would not take a cutting from a tree that only had 3-4 branches, I would wait so that it had that many(or more) after the pruning.
 
John Polk
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It is more about how many branches the tree has over how old it is. I would not take a cutting from a tree that only had 3-4 branches, I would wait so that it had that many(or more) after the pruning.

Agreed. Think of taking cuttings as one of the benefits of normal pruning. The branches that didn't belong on the tree will now yield you additional trees. Win/Win.
 
Amjad Khan
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Location: London, Ontario, Canada - zone 6a
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I found a video featuring Steven Biggs who grows figs in Ontario, Canada, which probably gets just as cold, if not colder, than your area Matu. If you have the patience to watch the whole video you will find some good information on overwintering in there. He offers several strategies to keep your tree safe over the winter period.


Duration 1:07:12

I don't want to dig into the ground, or plant the tree in the ground so for the first time this year I will try the above ground "shipping container" method. I will lay the tree down inside of a horizontal frame, jam it with dry leaves, place a lid over the top and cover the whole thing with a weighed down tarp.

I was wondering if anyone knows: Should I put a barrier between the leaf insulation and the tree itself? Will the leaf-tree contact invite anything like mice, since it will be on the ground outside?
I have seen mice in our shed and compose pile, and Mr. Biggs mentions that mice like the bark... would the barrier likely even help?

Hope I'm not stepping on any toes by asking this question in your thread Matu!

Thanks,

Amjad
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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hau, Amjad, If mice are around (and they are just about around everywhere) then your idea of bagging the tree so the leaves aren't touching is a good one.
You can even dust the leaves with DE to further discourage mice from finding your tasty bark.
The DE will be inhaled and that will do not good things to their lungs which tells them to get away and stay away.
I didn't think this would do much at first but I have tried it for our shed and no mice have been found in or around the shed anymore.
If you could use a breathable bag to enclose the tree in, it would allow for better air circulation and less chance for molds or fungus to gain a foot hold on your tree as well.
 
Amjad Khan
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Location: London, Ontario, Canada - zone 6a
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Thank you Bryant, I will take those recommendations to heart.
 
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