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Most cold hardy fig

 
pollinator
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Does anybody know of a fig tree that can stand the cold better than hardy Chicago? I’m 90 miles south of Kansas City. My tree dies back every year but still produced around 30 good figs last year. I’d sure like to find one just a bit hardier.  

I did get 18” of trunk to survive the winter, so maybe that will be hardier. It also grow back faster and bigger every year.
 
pollinator
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Possibly Michurinska (Michurinska-10, a.k.a. Florea) ?

https://mountainfigs.net/varieties/varieties-a-l/florea/

https://www.ourfigs.com/forum/figs-home/3668-florea

Over here it got planted as a young plant just in time to catch 2 consecutive years of hard spring frosts and finally a year with a crazy warm January followed by a freezing February (lost 3 mature peach trees, a mature Violetta = kind of Brown Turkey fig, some buddleia bushes and even some rugosa roses during this winter). It seems to be in good shape.
 
Ken W Wilson
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That sounds great! Thanks! I didn’t find a supplier with a quick search. I will look for it.

I ordered a Marseilles because the description said it slow it’s growth and hardens up in the fall. Not sure if it is a good option or not. My tree is as green as a tomato plant when freezing weather hits.  We sometimes get a freeze before a frost.
 
Crt Jakhel
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One of the good points of Florea/Michurinska is that it presumably is able to grow maincrop figs in the same year after having been frozen. To what extent that's true I'll only be able to tell you firsthand in a couple of years when our little plants grow up sufficiently. And if I'm never able to tell you because we don't get any more nasty frosts, that's okay too

Michurinska is widespread in Eastern Europe. In the US I believe it's somewhat rare. Maybe you could consult Ebay, I've seen quite some cases of fig cuttings for sale (haven't looked for a while though) and the sellers were mostly from the US. Or look up sources in the ourfigs forum, whether from members themselves or commercial offerings that they know about.

Here's a guy that grows a gazillion varieties of figs, among them Florea, and is offering to air layer them on demand (in limited quatities): https://willsfigs.com/p/air-layers - he's from Florida, a very different environment, so the parent tree would be used to friendlier conditions, but in the end a Florea is a Florea anywhere.
 
pollinator
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you may know this, but another thing you could do is bury them each year.

either dig a bunch around their root area and then actually pick them up/ push them over...or take the lighter flexible branches and keep bending them to the ground, ground layering them.

people do this growing figs in new england, usually dig up the root ball area, then make trench for the main trunk, and push the whole tree over for the winter.
and then cover the whole thing in soil/straw/leaves/etc.

then they reverse the process in spring, stand it back upright.

i would do similar, but then just keep it buried, and keep burying lower branches...
and make it into a multi branched shrub/hedge eventually...keep bringing it back to the ground each year before winter.

additionally, the whole *plant the tree at same level as ground* rule of green thumb - doesnt apply to fig. you can just keep mounding dirt/mulch on top of them, keep burying the stems, and mound it up.
it doesnt hurt the stems, the just form new roots where you bury them, and this helps the roots get deeper by adding tons of stuff around them each year.

this makes the roots hardier.
 
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just keep it buried, and keep burying lower branches...
and make it into a multi branched shrub/hedge eventually...keep bringing it back to the ground each year before winter.

additionally, the whole *plant the tree at same level as ground* rule of green thumb - doesnt apply to fig. you can just keep mounding dirt/mulch on top of them, keep burying the stems, and mound it up.
it doesnt hurt the stems, the just form new roots where you bury them, and this helps the roots get deeper by adding tons of stuff around them each year.

this makes the roots hardier.

 This sounds like a phenomenal idea!  It's like a living hugulkultur in a way.  
 
Ken W Wilson
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I’ve started to lay some of the multiple trunks down to bury them. They seem too brittle. I wonder if it would still work if they crack a little. There are about 8 trunks, so I guess I might as well try to bury a couple this fall.

The root ball is too big and spread out to dig up. Some of the trunks are 3’ apart. They actually got 8’ tall last fall, after having froze to the ground. About 80 percent of the figs didn’t mature before freezing.

One year I used pipe insulation. That was sad because the trunk survived the cold and started to grow then died back because it was girdled with mold.


Thanks, everybody!

 
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Ken, I'd love to get an update and hear how everything is going. I plan on growing some figs in the Mound City area (Kansas zone 6a), and it sounds like that might be in your neck of the woods.

I have an in-ground Hardy Chicago, and I am currently rooting cuttings for Ronde de Bordeaux, and an unknown variety. I also just ordered some Italian 258 cuttings.
 
gardener
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Location: Maine, zone 5
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Look up step over espalier.

Here in Maine I just wait for the bushes to drop their leaves after it gets into the 20s and then pin them to the ground.  I usually use bags of cedar mulch to cover them and as soon as the snow melts off them in the spring I pull the bags off.  I have 9 varieties in ground and it works for all of them.  Biggest issue is mold as the old saying goes "More lost to mold than cold".
 
Ken W Wilson
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We had a really cold, wet spring. My fig trees are healthy, but I’m not sure if any of the fruit will ripen before it gets cold again. It’s going to be close.
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