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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Figs Dying Back During Winter Months

Fig with late spring freeze damage on the tips and leaves
Q. I have a backyard orchard in Henderson with 14 fruit trees planted similar to what I have learned from the Dave Wilson videos and the UNR orchard. This is my 3rd year and I should be getting a decent amount of fruit. My problem is the figs. Two years in a row two fig trees have died to about 3-4 inches up the trunk. Last year I replaced both trees with new Kadota and Black Mission figs purchased from the nursery in pots. The new trees have apparently done the same thing. The trees are planted on the NE property line, so they get full afternoon sun. We had a very mild winter....I don't really understand what is going on here.

A. I am not sure what is going on either. If you are in a particularly cold part of the valley you could be getting some winter kill. It is not just the minimum temperature that matters. If low temperatures hit out of season (November or early December or mid February) they can't handle the low temperatures they could normally handle in December and January.

The important points in planting figs would be the same as the other fruit trees; add compost to the backfill at planting time, make sure it is planted the same depth as it was in the container, stake it the first year, it does not have to be whitewashed so don’t, keep the rabbits from it as they LIKE figs and will kill them, water them the same as other fruit trees, mulch them with wood mulch but keep the mulch away from the trunk 12 inches the first four seasons until established.

Do not water directly next to the trunk but at least 12 inches away. Do not fertilize directly next to the trunk or you can kill them. They can be damaged by very cold winters, more so than apples or pears. I hope this helps.

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