Winter Care for Fig Trees

Overview

Fig trees thrive in many warm, subtropical areas found in the lower United States. Some gardeners grow these trees in large pots in northern states and transport them into the house when temperatures begin dropping. Trees planted outdoors in cooler climates and landscapes require special care during the winter months to keep them from succumbing to the cold temperatures. Healthy, mature fig trees grown in cool climates mature and produce quality fruit for use in a variety of foods.

Step 1

Prune your fig trees late in the fall or early winter. Wait for the trees to lose their leaves and begin their dormant stage. Use sharp pruning shears to cut away approximately one-half of each tree's outer branches. Remove any dead sections of limbs on your trees at this time.

Step 2

Pull the remaining branches towards the centers of your fig trees. Do this on a dry day to avoid trapping moisture near the limbs and branches. Enlist the assistance of a friend to help you complete this task. Pull the branches inwards and upwards to form a tight, vertical shape. Tie the branches in place with pieces of soft, strong rope to hold in place without damaging the bark on your trees.

Step 3

Cover your tied trees with larch pieces of burlap fabric. Begin wrapping a section of burlap over the tops of your trees, working your way downward toward the lower branches. Overlap the edges of the burlap to avoid gaps that leak cold air. Pin the burlap to hold it in place.

Step 4

Wrap a layer of thick, brown packaging paper around the burlap to provide an additional layer of protection. Place this over the entire tree, from the top to the soil. Place sections of cut cardboard around the bottom portion of your trees. Tape or tie the cardboard in place.

Step 5

Place layers of tarpaper over your wrapped tree. Direction the layers of paper with the top sections over the bottom sections to direct the flow of water outward, away from the tree. Tie or tape your tarpaper in place.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not winterize your fig trees with plastic wrap or sheeting. This wrap limits necessary airflow around the dormant tree.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Rope
  • Burlap
  • Pins
  • Packaging paper
  • Cardboard
  • Tape
  • Tar paper

References

  • Cornell University: Fig Culture in Northern Climates
  • New Mexico State University: Fig Tree Winter Protection
Keywords: fig tree, fig winter protection, wrap fig tree

About this Author

Laura Dee is a writer, artist, and the co-owner of Wallace & Wallace Copywriting,an online business which specializes in providing marketing materials and copy to various companies. She has written for Demand Studios since 2008 and is currently working on a series of childrens' picture books.