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SteveNJ

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Reply with quote  #1 
Today I wrapped my in-ground Bella Fig tree for the winter. The NW NJ weather has turned cold enough and the tree has begun dormancy. All the leaves have fallen off on their own. Notice the unripe crop of figs :(  these fell off when pulled slightly.

The method I used is slightly different then last year due to some collapsing of the covering. First I thinned out the branches to 4 and cut them back to about 5 feet in overall height. Next I tied all the branches close together and then to a metal post slightly taller than the tree. The tree and post were then wrapped with a few layers of burlap. A metal cage was made from 1/2 metal hardware cloth and filled with hay. Hay was also bundled and tied around the upper part of the tree. The entire thing was wrapped in insulation (foil-covered "bubble wrap"). A clear plastic drum liner was put over the top and tied. Important note: the top of each layer is left open to allow for moisture and excessive heat to escape. A 6 inch mound of dirt was built around the base of the structure and covered with leaves to prevent the dirt from washing away. An unused plant container was put over the top to protect from rain penetration but the drainage holes allow for air/moisture to escape. I think the tree looks like it's ready for a formal night out with it's top hat :o)

To the right of the tree is another smaller planted Bella Fig tree that I had cut to the ground. I plan to let this one grow in a "bushy" form next season. I covered it with about 6-8 inches of mulch and another 6 inches of hay. I covered it with white plastic to keep out excessive amounts of rain/snow. I punched holes in the plastic to allow water to evaporate. The plastic is held down with stones, logs and dirt. The dirt was covered with leaves as above. I am a little concerned that mice might make a home in the mound over the winter but we will see how it goes. 

Attached Images
jpeg 1_Bella_Trimmed_Before_Wrapping.JPG (150.92 KB, 190 views)
jpeg 2_Bella_Tied.JPG (167.85 KB, 196 views)
jpeg 3_Bella_Wrapped_in_Burlap.JPG (154.65 KB, 205 views)
jpeg 4_Bella_Wrapped_with_Hay.JPG (185.51 KB, 226 views)
jpeg 5_Bella_Covered_in_Insulating_Wrap_and_Plastic.JPG (163.81 KB, 225 views)
jpeg 6_Bella_with_Hat_and_Finished.JPG (190.22 KB, 228 views)


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Steve
Zone 6a - Northwest NJ

jazzbass

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Reply with quote  #2 
Great wrap job. You have given me a few ideas. I don have trees large enough to put in the ground yet. Perhaps in a year or two. Keep up the good work.

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SteveNJ

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Reply with quote  #3 

Thanks. I thought my particular approach might be helpful for some folks as there is always a lot of questions on winterizing.


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Steve
Zone 6a - Northwest NJ
loslunasfarms

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Reply with quote  #4 
Good job, didnt think about using a pot for the roof of the fig enclosure. I have also been debating wether Tyvek would work pretty good also. It is on sale on craigslist all the time from guys that have extra from remodelling work.

Good pics.



SteveNJ

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Reply with quote  #5 

Tyvek would work great for the outer covering. It is white so will reflect the sun and it will keep the water out but it has no insulating properties. I probably could have done without the clear drum liner because the "bubble wrap" insulation is water proof but I added it for extra protection (being cautious). I suppose the hay would be enough insulating protection and the tyvek could provide the moisture barrier. The opening at the top is the most critical feature and the pot with the drainage holes just work so nicely (if you have one of the right size - in my case it fit snuggly and needs no other means of securing).


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Steve
Zone 6a - Northwest NJ
gorgi

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Reply with quote  #6 
Good job wrapping!
One important  item that I think needs some clarification, is the "top" part.
Ventilation IS needed; water is NOT. So maybe rather than a regular pot
(with holes on top), a bucket, or similar, maybe better suited
(no top holes - ventilation should come from the loose sides).
P.S. I no longer do this hard stuff as all my figs are potted and are wintered
in an unheated garage (or similar).


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SteveNJ

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Reply with quote  #7 
Thanks Gorgi. The pot I used has no holes in the bottom. It has holes in the sides at the base - the type you would buy a large shrub in from a nursery. Good point though. The problem I found with buckets (like a 5 gallon pail) is they are too deep relative to their diameter which leads it to sit rather awkwardly on the top. The nursery pot is just the right depth and diameter. I am sure you can get both to work but I recommend having some holes and not relying on a loose fit. Remeber you want some air flow reaching the open wrapping to move the heat and moisture. Everyone comes up with a unique solution - the important principles are: insulating, protecting from rain/snow with a moisture barrier, and providing for moisture/heat escape. Oh yeah, for some protecting against those nasty mice and voles!

BTW - most of my newer figs are destined to stay in pots because of the short seasons. I will put a few in the ground when they are bigger so I will be wrapping for some years to come.

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Steve
Zone 6a - Northwest NJ
Dieseler

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Reply with quote  #8 
Steve, i must admire for the effort you put to do that tree very nice, also i bet you can wrap a nice christmas present  ; )
I can bet that tree will be just fine come spring. Im sure you have helped a lot of fig growers here that wrap there tree's giving them idea's.
Best of Health
Martin
SteveNJ

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Reply with quote  #9 

Thanks Marty ... but when it comes to applying TLC to their figs, I bet you got 'em all beat!


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Steve
Zone 6a - Northwest NJ
moshepherdess

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Reply with quote  #10 
Steve,

I went to a Farm Show Friday in North Central Missouri (Columbia) and I sat in on a fruit seminar.  I was late and didn't get the handout but I think I got the info correct regarding possibilities for vole and mouse control around fruits.  Sulfur dioxide or Vit. D3 can be used, but I don't know specifics.   I will be requesting more information from the fellow this week - he said he could send me the handout and I will try to remember to post anything else I discover.  Mice and moles are a problem in my hoophouse all year round.

Elizabeth

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Elizabeth
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SteveNJ

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Reply with quote  #11 

Elizabeth - that would be great if you can share what you learn. I do have mice that get into the sheds and make nice little homes in wood piles and such. I lost a snowblower to a family of about a dozen mice that ate everything that wasn't metal (they nested right in the housing). I've come across voles in some of my gardens and landscaping. I haven't had any issue yet with my trees but it is likely only a matter of time (so its good to be proactive).


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Steve
Zone 6a - Northwest NJ
gdlou

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Reply with quote  #12 

I just wrapped up my trees in a similar manner.  The only difference is that I actually was able to bend my trees down and added additional covering with leaves from the yard.

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Reply with quote  #13 
Steve, today i just brought my tree's in garage, weather has been different this year we had a day here with 28 for low then  4 or five days later about 29 for low then we had a warm spell where it hit 70 for 3 days in a row during day . So last night it got down to 26 , i looked at tree's this morning and my 1 italian tree a skiny looking branch on top started to turn almost black , i call it frost bite, it was only 1 like that, all tree's had dropped there leaves in last couple days which struggled to hit 40 to 45 during day and of course being near chicago that darn wind is around it seems like all the time. So there off to a good sleep now. But i at least get to hopefully watch some little ones grow under grow light that were to small to go dormant for fear of loseing them.
Martin
SteveNJ

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Reply with quote  #14 

Yeah we had a mix of cold/freezing days and warmer days also (our good friends in Chicago tend to send their weather to us a few days later). But this week looks like we will start to stay cold so I moved my potted figs in my insulated shed and wrapped the in ground ones - remeber I got about 5 inches of snow on Oct 28th - that's what finally caused the remaining leaves to fall. Now I got a nice bunch of cuttings (as you know) to keep me busy over the next couple of months.


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Steve
Zone 6a - Northwest NJ
SteveNJ

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Reply with quote  #15 
I gave in today and decided to finally unwrap my 2 in-ground Bella fig trees. If you read back in the thread, the tree on the left was cut back to about 5-6 ft and 4 branches. The tree on the right was cut to the ground to allow it to grow into a bushy form this year. They both pulled through the winter without any damage from the cold, moisture or vermin.


Attached Images
jpeg P1020065_resize.JPG (142.05 KB, 62 views)
jpeg P1020066_resize.JPG (143.86 KB, 51 views)
jpeg P1020067_resize.JPG (247.59 KB, 55 views)
jpeg P1020070_resize.JPG (188.44 KB, 65 views)
jpeg P1020072_resize.JPG (171.12 KB, 59 views)
jpeg P1020076_resize.JPG (130.30 KB, 59 views)
jpeg P1020077_resize.JPG (118.13 KB, 68 views)


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Steve
Zone 6a - Northwest NJ

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Reply with quote  #16 
Steve,
i counted 5 months total time wrapped and i know you cant wait now to watch it leaf out and look "Bella" (Beautiful)  again!
Nice informative pictures.
jazzbass

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Reply with quote  #17 
Great Job Steve. Keep up the good work.

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SteveNJ

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Reply with quote  #18 
Yes 5 months almost to the day. I unwrapped them a little earlier this year since they got started late last year (cool weather) and didn't start fruiting until July. Of course, they never ripened before the cold weather set in. I'm hoping with an earlier start, and it being it's 3rd season, that this will be my year for a bumper crop. Also, since it is of a good size now, I will restrict its growth a little more this year by using Herman's "pinch after 6 leaves" method. When I started pinching last year, fruits popped out a week later but it was already late in the season.

Thanks guys for the "attaboy" ... since I prune this guy back quite a bit, there are no tips to really die back so it winters better. My potted guys are still in my shed and they have nice green buds just waiting to come out. Next weekend is the better time for them.

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Steve
Zone 6a - Northwest NJ
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