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How to Bury the Tops of Fig Trees for Winter

by Andrea Cohen
 
  • Overview

    Fig trees are beautiful additions to any landscape and can produce delicious, exotic fruit. The tree can grow in just about any climate, but doesn't take well to being left open to dangers of frost. It is important to protect your fig tree from extreme cold temperatures, and you can do this by burying the tree for the winter. It is best to do this before the first major frost, or by Thanksgiving. Uncover them after the last chance of frost, around Mother's Day.
 
  • Step 1

    Cut branches so that the tree is approximately 3 feet tall. This task is easier if you have a more bush-like fig tree with several branches rather than one main stem. Save the clippings without leaves to root new trees for the following season, if you choose.
  • Step 2

    Bend the stems down individually---don't worry, they shouldn't break---and pin each down with a strong wire or metal hanger.
  • Step 3

    Cover the bent branches completely with the tar paper, waterproofing the tree so that water and snow does not get to it.
  • Step 4

    Cover the tar paper with approximately two wheelbarrows full of soil, either dug from elsewhere in your backyard or purchased. If you don't have enough soil, you can add to this with mulch from the garden including leaves (can even be bagged leaves) and grass clippings. This is how the tree should stay throughout the winter with no watering, heating or ventilation.
  • 2
  • Pruning shears Heavy-gauge wire or wire hanger Roofing tar paper Soil Mulch Shovel Wheelbarrow (optional)
  • Pruning shears
  • Heavy-gauge wire or wire hanger
  • Roofing tar paper
  • Soil
  • Mulch
  • Shovel
  • Wheelbarrow (optional)
  • If your fig tree is in a pot, bring it into a garage or shed for the winter. If that is not an option, tip the whole thing, container and all, onto its side and bury it.
  • If your fig tree is in a pot, bring it into a garage or shed for the winter. If that is not an option, tip the whole thing, container and all, onto its side and bury it.
  • In the fall, do not cut the tree all the way down to ground-level as this will eliminate most fruiting opportunities for the following season and open it up to disease and frost harm.
  • In the fall, do not cut the tree all the way down to ground-level as this will eliminate most fruiting opportunities for the following season and open it up to disease and frost harm.

References & Resources