The fig tree (Ficus carica L.) is a Mediterranean fruit tree that thrives in dry, warm climates. Dormant fig trees can handle temperatures to 15 degrees Fahrenheit, but, according to experts with California Rare Fruit Growers, an actively growing fig tree will sustain damage if temperatures dip below 30 degrees Fahrenheit. In the northern regions of the United States it is best to grow the fig tree in a container so that it can be brought indoors during the winter. Ground-planted trees will require protection.
Discontinue fertilizing the fig tree in late summer to early fall. This will help the tree to go dormant.
Withhold water as well to keep the roots from becoming frozen. Stop watering the tree two weeks prior to the expected first frost.
Pack soil 6 to 12 inches up the trunk of the tree. Pack it as thickly as possible. If it won't stick, try moistening it and mixing it with some mulch before applying it to the trunk of the tree.
Spread 4 to 5 inches of shredded bark mulch around the base of the tree, extended out 3 feet.
Construct a soil berm, or mound, around the fig tree to divert water from melting snow. Mound up soil, to a height of 12 inches, and form it into a ring around the tree, placing it 3 feet from the tree.
Erect four posts around the tree and drape a tarp or some carpet over the posts, covering the tree. For optimum protection, the tarp should completely cover the tree and reach to the ground, where it can be secured.
Add a heat source under the tarp on particularly cold and snowy nights. This can be something as simple as a few strings of Christmas tree lights or a Coleman-type lantern.