Fig trees produce a fruit used in cooking or eaten raw. Figs require warm temperatures to grow properly. In the winter, when windy, cold breezes blow, even dormant buds on the fig tree may be affected by the cold, causing cellular damage when water inside the tree freezes. However, covering a fig tree right before Thanksgiving time prevents cold weather from damaging branches and ruining fruiting buds.
Tie the branches of the fig tree together once the leaves have fallen off around Thanksgiving time, recommends the Cornell Cooperative Extension. Pull all the side branches together so that they are facing up towards the sky. Tie the branches together using a strong, soft rope, having a working partner help hold the branches up, using the ladder for a taller tree. Prune away any branches that break.
Hold the end of a roll of burlap at the bottom of the tree, and have a working partner roll the burlap around the tree, all the way to the top. Overlap at each pass for good coverage. Pin the burlap together to keep it from coming off. Do not pin the burlap into the tree as this may cause disease.
Wrap the tree with a heavy brown paper in the same manner as with the burlap to insulate the burlap and keep it dry. Tie the paper in place using rope.
Cover the lower half of the tree using cardboard, tying the pieces in place. Place tar paper around the cardboard to guide water away from the tree, and tie it to the tree tightly to avoid any cracks.
Shovel soil around the base of the tree to protect any lower part of the trunk that may still be exposed from water, wind and frost.
Remove all covering in Mid-March once the threat of frost is past.