Wrapping a Fig Tree for Winter

There’s not one right way to protect a fig tree for the winter. Seems everyone has a method that works for them. Michele (pronounced Mee-KEL-lay) has devised an ingenious method to wrap one of his very large trees. In the video below, he and his helpers partially uproot it, lowering it to the ground in order to make it more accessible. Uprooting is facilitated by the fact that the tree is planted next to a garage which has prevented large roots from developing on that side, making it easier to sever the roots to rotate it downward. He has other trees that he buries in the ground in deep trenches that he covers with plywood, partially uprooting those as well and lowering them in a similar fashion. If your tree is not as large as Michele’s, you can wrap it as it remains upright by using his method of bundling the branches and layering hay, fabric and heavy plastic as shown below.¬†Before wrapping, make sure all the leaves have fallen off and remove any remaining figs that didn’t ripen. Mid to late November is usually when Michele and many fig growers wrap their trees.

Learn more about Michele here.

Comments

Deb

I have a question, like eveyrone else’s, my fig tree did not survive last winter. It did get new growth in the form of green leaves this past spring/summer but i was still left with the dead wood of the stalks. should i cut those now and wrap my fig for winter. or should i leave the dead wood? i’m not sure what to do. Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks,
deb

Reply
Mary Menniti

Yes, Deb, You should wrap your tree soon. Cutting the dead wood now will make it easier to bundle the remaining branches together to tie them before wrapping.

Reply
Carol

My fig tree has no leaves coming since unwrapping from winter. Is it dead?

Reply
Mary Menniti

It’s too early to tell if your fig tree has survived another brutal winter. Last year many trees didn’t show signs of life until midsummer. Wait and watch to see if leaf buds swell on branches or if new shoots emerge from the ground. It may be that all above ground growth is dead, but most likely the roots have survived and will send up new starts.

Reply
Amy

Hi Mary,

Last summer, I bought my first fig tree from the Arthur Avenue market in the Bronx. I did just as you told me to prepare it for winter. I put it into my garage on a wooden plank and wrapped it. In early April, I unwrapped it and moved it to my basement in front of a large window (it was still too cold to put it outside). In May, I moved it outside to my deck. I am sad to report that there is not a single bud or even a sign of new growth. I did scrape some of the bark and saw that it is green underneath. Will my tree come back? I am so worried about it.

-Amy

Reply
Mary Menniti

If you saw at least a little green when nicking the bark there’s still hope that the tree might still be alive. Continue to water and keep in full sun throughout the next month or so. Fig trees are very resilient, but it may be that it dried out during the winter. Watering lightly every three weeks or so is necessary even though the plant is dormant.

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Christy S

Thanks for posting your YouTube video with Michele and his figs. My grandma’s best friend’s father came straight from Italy with a fig tree many years ago and he buries it every year in the same way. Thanks for sharing. Christy

Reply

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