Sunday, April 6, 2014

Baby fig tree overwintering

This past fall I agonized over how to overwinter my two small fig trees. One I had purchased at a farmer's market. The other I had started as a cutting from my beloved mature fig tree. (See previous 2 posts.)
I finally decided to risk planting out the daughter plant. After planting, I built a chickenwire cage around the tiny tree. I mulched the plant and then filled the cage with leaves for insulation.

The purchased plant I wrapped in burlap and placed the plant, in its pot, inside a larger pot. I insulated the space between the two pots with leaves. This little tree went into a small unheated shed attached to the house. (Thanks to the Garden Web fig forum for ideas on overwintering.)

I knew I was taking the bigger risk with the propagated plant, putting it in the ground when it was so young. But if the risk paid off, I might someday have a majestic, prolific tree like the parent. Then came freezing rain, many snowstorms, and bitter cold, a brutal winter unlike what we normally experience here in the mid-Atlantic.

Yesterday, with some trepidation, I removed the leaves from the enclosure. My tree looked like a dead stick. But as I dug away the last of the compacted leaves, at the very base of that stick was a leaf bud tinged with fresh green. The baby lives! And the other little tree looks to have survived as well, in the dark shed and with only a few sips of water over the winter. Hooray for the vigor of plants!