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  • unheated garage

    around what outdoor temperature does it usually take to start killing off some of the most cold hardy fig trees in your unheated garage? if you have an idea, give a temperature that may begin to cause branch die-back and a lower temperature that may start causing the death of roots/entire tree (edit: a little information about your garage would be nice).

    also, for the zone 5-6 people, what's the highest number of figs you've gotten during the first grow season after an outdoor tree died all the way back to the ground? age of tree and variety would be appreciated.

    rough estimates/educated guesses are expected for everything I have asked.
    Last edited by Oats; 03-15-2015, 02:53 PM.

  • #2
    Number of ripe figs the season after ground dieback can vary widely depending upon the age/structure of the base and the micro-location, ranging from a handful to dozens, to potentially much more.

    Whether the "unheated garage" is attached or not, receives sun or not, is exposed to wind or not, is insulated or not, is large or small, holds much thermal mass or not ... consideration of these variables will account for a difference of dozens of degrees in "outdoor temperature" that will cause dieback and death of any fig trees inside.
    Tony WV 6b
    https://mountainfigs.net/

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    • #3
      Originally posted by mountainfigs View Post
      Number of ripe figs the season after ground dieback can vary widely depending upon the age/structure of the base and the micro-location, ranging from a handful to dozens, to potentially much more.
      what do you mean by "structure of the base" and what is considered good/bad form?

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      • #4
        A fig bush (multiple trunks) should produce more after ground die-back than a fig tree (single trunk).
        Tony WV 6b
        https://mountainfigs.net/

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        • #5
          Oats,
          There are 3 typical shapes for fig trees Tree, Bush or Espalier. with the tree or espalier there is only one main trunk, but with the bush form there are multiple main trunks from the soil line.

          But to answer your original Question,
          When fig tree branches are exposed to several consecutive days in the teens (below ~15*F) it will usually result in die back. The roots of in ground trees are better protected by the thermal mass of the soil. Temperatures just above freezing ~40*F will usually keep breba alive. Occasional temperatures below freezing will not usually result in major die back, but may result in damaged buds in the spring. and trees will start to bud out if temperatures are continuously above ~50*F.

          As Tony mentioned there are too may variables to realistically answer you question about the quantity of figs that can be produced after die back. But from personal experience IMO, in a zone 6 - 7, depending on the size of the root mass and the tree before die back, each new branch of an established tree can produce over a dozen figs each if the total number of branches are limited, based on the original size of the tree. for example if you had a three year old tree that had 4 branches and produced 200 figs last season, you would prune the multiple suckers to only 4 new branches and you could harvest ~ 40 - 60 this season. The new branches are basically new "fruiting branches".
          Click image for larger version

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          Last edited by AscPete; 03-16-2015, 08:41 AM. Reason: typos
          Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

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          • #6
            herman2 reported several varieties gave him 50+ fruits after last winter's cold killing most figs to the ground. I believe they were fairly mature plants. They were:
            Adriatic JH
            Malta Black
            RdB
            Improved Celeste
            Takoma Violet
            https://www.figbid.com/Listing/Browse?Seller=Kelby
            SE PA
            Zone 6

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            • #7
              My garage reached the low 20's two or three times (briefly) during the winter of 2013-14. There was no bud damage (except for slight damage on perhaps 1 or 2 trees) and I got brebas on several varieties.
              Steve
              D-i-c-k-e-r-s-o-n, MD; zone 7a
              WL: Verdolino, Figue Jaune, Nantes Maroc, Lussheim

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              • #8
                alright, this is some good stuff. my garage is probably too risky in zone 5b, the only thing going for it is that it's in good shape so it'll block the wind but it's not insulated and it's not attached, and my basement is probably too warm since the thermometer says it's around 60F (it feels colder than that), although I don't exactly trust it since it says the refrigerator is around 60F as well. perhaps I should look into that...

                I didn't want to for awhile but I'm starting to get the urge to bury 2 entire trees together just so I can compare them with those I let die-back completely next winter.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by AscPete View Post
                  When fig tree branches are exposed to several consecutive days in the teens (below ~15*F) it will usually result in die back.
                  is this how it is for most trees? I often notice that temperatures drop 5 or even 10 degrees lower than the zone an area is rated for once every 2-4 years (according to weatherspark) but it tends to last only for a few hours to a maximum of a half day (if I remember correctly). for example, zone 7a occasionally hits zone 6a temperatures for at least a few hours, that probably won't kill most trees that shouldn't be any lower than zone 7a, the lower temperatures have to last for at least an entire day or more, huh?

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                  • #10
                    The length of time a plant is exposed to damaging temperatures definitely plays a role in how much damage is done but short exposures can cause dieback. A few hours definitely will.
                    Bob C. KC, MO Zone 6a. Wanted: Martineca Rimada, Galicia Negra, Fioroni Ruvo, De La Reina - Pons, Tauro, BFF, Sefrawi, Sbayi, Mavra Sika , Fillaciano Bianco, Corynth, Souadi, Acciano Purple, LSU Tiger, LSU Red, Cajun Gold, BB-10 any great tasting fig

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                    • #11
                      Also, I think the amount of fruit you get after dieback depends more on conditions you get that growing season than anything else as long as there are some fruiting branches.
                      Bob C. KC, MO Zone 6a. Wanted: Martineca Rimada, Galicia Negra, Fioroni Ruvo, De La Reina - Pons, Tauro, BFF, Sefrawi, Sbayi, Mavra Sika , Fillaciano Bianco, Corynth, Souadi, Acciano Purple, LSU Tiger, LSU Red, Cajun Gold, BB-10 any great tasting fig

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