This year proved that fig trees are as resilient as the immigrants who planted many of them. If your fig tree sustained damage last winter and all or part of the above ground growth died, chances are that over the summer new shoots have grown from the ground and you didn’t lose your tree after all. You may want to allow the new shoots to continue to grow so that your tree grows in a multi-stemmed bush form or you may prefer to remove many of the shoots and grow it as a tree with only one to four closely spaced trunks.
Whichever you choose you can remove any extra shoots to start new trees to transplant elsewhere or share with family or friends, making fig trees as generous as the immigrants as well. I rarely leave the home of one of my gardening friends without a gift of one kind or another, vegetables, fruit, seeds, etc. On a recent visit to Tommasina’s she was kind enough to not only demonstrate how to dig the shoots, but also offered the two she dug as gifts.
The shoots can now be planted in containers or in the ground or even buried in a trench for the winter. If planted in containers or in ground, they will need to be protected this winter. Bring the container inside an unheated space such as a shed or garage and wrap it with burlap or a blanket and keep it watered lightly. Similar protection is needed if planted in the ground, but will need a final layer, such as a plastic tarp, to serve as a moisture barrier. If burying in the ground, dig a foot deep trench the length of the shoot and lay it inside. Cover the trench with heavy cardboard or plywood and cover the whole thing with several inches of soil.
Stay tuned for more blog posts about protecting your new fig shoots for the winter.
You can read more about Tommasina in our “Meet the Gardener” section here.