Tuesday, November 5, 2013

How to: Overwintering Fig Trees

So, you've tried your hand at propagating fig trees, via either soil or water, and want to know what to do now that the weather is turning cold. Well, good news! After all your hard work at getting your little cutting to leaf and root, you're about to get a little bit of a break.

By now, the leaves of your tree are probably starting to turn yellow, or may have begun to fall off. This may seem like the tree is not doing well, but in actuality this is exactly what is supposed to happen. This is the natural process of the tree going into dormancy for the winter, and is a sign that it is about time to overwinter your tree until the spring.

What does it mean to overwinter your tree? It means to provide your potted tree with a space to spend the winter in dormancy. The tree essentially goes into hibernation and will wake up in the spring when it begins to grow new leaves. To effectively overwinter your tree it needs a cold environment but away from the elements of frost and strong icy winds.

When should you overwinter your tree? When the last leaf has fallen off of your tree naturally.

What's needed to overwinter your potted fig tree? An area of your home, like a garage, that is unheated. Some people specify that the area needs to be without light, but our garage gets a good amount of sunlight and I've never had a problem with it affecting our fig trees. The area however should remain unheated, as the presence of heat can effect the tree's natural cycle.

How to care for your overwintered tree? When I said you get a break, I meant it. Once the tree goes into dormancy it does not need a lot of care to survive. One to two cups of water (depending on the size of the tree) every two weeks is all the tree needs to survive. (Many say you only need to water the tree once a month, but I prefer twice a month.) For our trees in large pots, I give them two cups of water during feedings, and one cup of water for the trees in smaller pots at those same feedings. Once the tree begins to grow new leaves, usually in the early spring (though this may vary depending on where you live), I slowly ramp up how often I feed the plants. By May 10th, back outside they go.   

Now wish your tree a happy sleep and good luck!
A la prochaine friends...

No comments:

Post a Comment