In the book Grow Figs Where You Think You Can't, I tell readers about a number of strategies they can use to overwinter their fig trees. One of the strategies I talk about is burying the plant.
Here's what I say in the book:
Outdoors – Buried
When it comes to overwintering figs outdoors, the method most people seem to know is burying them. Earlier, I mentioned fig orchards on the outskirts of Paris, France. This is the sort of technique that was used there. I call it the graveyard method.
I used to bury my lone fig tree, but this method is no longer practicable given the number of trees I have. But don’t discount this method if you haven’t a suitable spot indoors for dormant plants.
If you dig the hole deep enough, you can cover the plant with a layer of soil, although this is overkill in my area. A mulching material suffices here. If in doubt, deeper with more mulching and soil over top will be safer for your fig.
Here’s what you do:
- Dig a trench on one side of your fig. It should be as long as the tree is tall. Where I live all that is needed is a trench just deep enough to bury it;
- Tie together the branches once your tree or bush is dormant (this is so you don’t need to dig as wide a hole);
- About 30 cm (12 inches) from the trunk on the side opposite to your trench, chop down with a spade to sever the roots, which will make it easier to bend over the plant;
- Bend the plant so it lies in the trench, then weigh it down with something heavy or peg it into place;
- Fill the trench with a thick layer of mulch, and cover with a tarp (you can cap this with a board and soil for additional insulation if you like).
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