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
No Guff Press, 2012
By Steven Biggs
In this book, a Fig Pig (me!) who lives in a coldish climate, shares his passion for figs so that others in fig-unfriendly places can see that growing this fabulous fruit isn’t rocket science.
Tips, techniques, and anecdotes, along with the insights from other fig growers, make fig growing easy for people who live in places where they think they can’t grow figs.