How Do I Care for an Outdoor Planted Fig Tree Over the Winter Months?

Overview

Figs are a subtropical tree, which means they can only tolerate so much cold weather. You can grow figs in areas that have freezing winters if you take the time to care for your plant before the cold strikes. This is especially true for younger plants where the stem tissues are still soft and vulnerable to freezing. Once the fig tree is several years old, the winter protection is not as necessary.

Step 1

Prune out any dead wood or branches that are crossing over other branches. Pull the branches together at their tops and hold them in place with some aluminum wire or a coated wire that will not harm the tree. Wrap the wire gently around the collected branches and twist it to hold them securely. Pull in any smaller branches growing out from the sides and wire them together with the other branches.

Step 2

Wrap the whole tree from an inch off the ground to the top with brown paper toweling or other brown paper. Don't be afraid to wrinkle it and bunch it up as you go; that will create more air pockets of insulation.

Step 3

Drape the paper-wrapped tree with large garbage bags. The bags will weatherproof the tree; without them, the first rainfall will dampen the paper, rendering it useless. Open the bottom of the bags so they create a plastic sleeve that you can slide over the tree.

Step 4

Wrap the weatherproof tape around the base of the tree, holding the garbage bag in place. Work your way up in a spiral. Drape and tape more bags so that they overlap the lower ones, until you get to the top of the tree. Finish the top of the tape wrapping by having it overlap on itself.

Tips and Warnings

  • Remove the wrapping in the spring when the freezing temperatures are finished.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Wire
  • Brown paper
  • Garbage bags
  • Tape (weatherproof)

References

  • Clemson University Cooperative Extension: Selecting, Planting, and Managing Trees Part IV, Fig Trees
Keywords: wrapping fig trees, protecting fig tree, fig tree protection

About this Author

Based in Maryland, Heidi Braley, currently writes for local and online media outlets. Some of Braley's articles from the last 10 years are in the "Oley Newsletter," "Connections Magazine," GardenGuides and eHow.com. Braley's college life included Penn State University and Villanova University with her passions centered in nutrition and botany.