There are many varieties of fig trees available in North America. Of these varieties most are intolerant of cold weather. Temperatures that reach below 10 degrees Fahrenheit will kill the upper portion of most fig tree varieties, which will come back from the root system only if the ground has not completely frozen too. Small bush-type figs will be easier to protect against winter weather than full-size trees. In both cases, the upper limbs must be protected from cold temperatures so as not to kill the foliage and fruit-bearing portions of the tree.
Construct a circular cage from the woven wire fencing around the fig tree you wish to protect. The cage can have the same diameter as the outermost limbs of the fig tree. In cases where the limbs have a long reach, you may wish to prune them back. A typical diameter for the cage is from 6 to 8 feet. A 6-foot-diameter cage will require approximately 28 feet of fencing, and an 8-foot cage will use about 50 feet.
Tie the ends of the fencing together with a piece of steel tie wire, using the pliers. Twist the wire though both ends of the piece of fencing to help the cage hold its form.
Stuff the cage with straw mulch to insulate the tree from the winter weather. Fill the first cage to the top with straw. Keep the woven wire fencing cage centered on the fig tree's main trunk or on the smaller bush type limbs (the tree's variety will determine the type of upper limb structure it has).
Make a second cage to fit on top of the first. The second cage will be held together in the same manner as the first one. Connect the top of the first cage to the bottom of the second cage using more tie wire. Attach the two cages in several places around their perimeter. The overall height of the cage should now be 8 feet, if you're using 4-foot-high woven wire fencing.
Fill the second cage with straw to its top.
Cover the entire cage structure with a heavy-duty tarp. Secure the tarp to the straw-filled cage structure with the nylon rope.
Remove the tarp, straw and cage when all threat of cold weather and frost have passed from your location.