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Burying Fig Trees for the Winter

In the book Grow Figs Where You Think You Can't, I tell readers about a number of strategies they can use to overwinter their fig trees. One of the strategies I talk about is burying the plant.

Here's what I say in the book:

When it comes to overwintering figs outdoors, the method most people seem to know is burying them. Earlier, I mentioned fig orchards on the outskirts of Paris, France. This is the sort of technique that was used there. I call it the graveyard method.

I used to bury my lone fig tree, but this method is no longer practicable given the number of trees I have. But don’t discount this method if you haven’t a suitable spot indoors for dormant plants.

If you dig the hole deep enough, you can cover the plant with a layer of soil, although this is overkill in my area. A mulching material suffices here. If in doubt, deeper with more mulching and soil over top will be safer for your fig.

Here’s what you do:

  • Dig a trench on one side of your fig. It should be as long as the tree is tall. Where I live all that is needed is a trench just deep enough to bury it;

  • Tie together the branches once your tree or bush is dormant (this is so you don’t need to dig as wide a hole);

  • About 30 cm (12 inches) from the trunk on the side opposite to your trench, chop down with a spade to sever the roots, which will make it easier to bend over the plant;

  • Bend the plant so it lies in the trench, then weigh it down with something heavy or peg it into place;

  • Fill the trench with a thick layer of mulch, and cover with a tarp (you can cap this with a board and soil for additional insulation if you like).

More from the book Grow Figs Where You Think You Can't

Why Grow Figs |  Fig Pig | Fig Growth Habit |  Fig Variety Names

Taking Fig Cuttings | Overwintering Fig Trees |  Overwintering Figs by Burying

Grow Figs Where You Think You Can't
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Set of 4 fig note cards with envelopes. Blank inside. Photos by Steven Biggs

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