Protect Your Precious Figs: Why Winter Storage Matters for Container Trees
While container fig trees offer the luxury of portability, they face a unique challenge in cold climates: winter survival. Unlike their in-ground counterparts, these potted beauties lack the insulation of surrounding soil and are susceptible to frost damage.
This is where proper winter storage comes in. For growing zones 4, 5, 6, 7, & some zone 8 climates, storing container fig trees will help them avoid certain demise and help ensure a successful harvest of figs the following season.
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When to Store Your Fig Tree:
Let them experience frost: Fig trees are deciduous and need to go dormant. Aim for two to three frosts before storing them.
Check for sap flow: When the tree is dormant, sap flow almost disappears. Cut a branch to observe this.
Temperature guidelines: Generally, store your fig tree if temperatures are forecast to drop below 15°F.
Younger trees: Younger trees may need protection earlier, especially if they haven't fully lignified.
Should My Fig Tree Get Hit by Frost?
Yes, frost helps: Allowing frost helps prevent condensation and mold in the storage environment.
Avoid treating them like houseplants: Encourage dormancy by letting them experience frost and changing weather.
Common Storage Locations for Dormant Fig Trees
Choosing the right storage location for your dormant fig tree is crucial for its survival and health. Each location offers its own unique advantages and disadvantages. Here's a table summarizing the most common options:
Heated room: Only suitable for short periods if controlled temperature and lighting are available.
Uninsulated attic: This may not provide enough protection from freezing temperatures.
Carport or patio: Offers some protection but is not recommended for prolonged cold spells.
Choosing the Right Storage Location:
Consider the following factors when selecting a storage location:
Temperature: The ideal temperature range for dormant fig trees is 15-50°F.
Light: Darkness is preferred for dormancy, but light is acceptable.
Humidity: Low humidity is ideal to prevent fungal diseases.
Accessibility: You should be able to check on your fig tree occasionally and water it if necessary.
Space: Make sure the location has enough space for your fig tree to be stored comfortably.
By carefully considering these factors and the advantages and disadvantages of each location, you can choose the best storage option for your dormant fig tree and ensure its successful winterization.
Common Mistakes to Avoid:
Storing too early: Wait for frost and dormancy before storing.
Storing in unheated basements: This will disrupt dormancy and damage your tree.
Not insulating sheds or greenhouses: Ensure temperatures stay above 15°F.
Using artificial heating without insulation: This can lead to uneven temperatures and damage.