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  • Cold hardiest fig without dieback?

    I manage a heritage orchard project for a local historical farm in NJ, zone 6a, and I would like to bring figs to the site. When I research cold hardy figs, most recommendations ignore the fact that the entire plant dies back either annually or in cold snaps. Are there varieties that are cold hardy and don't die back at -10F? I would ideally like to prune the trees and develop trunks, branches, and structure without having to wrap in the winter rather than maintain multiples shoots from the ground.

  • #2
    Hardy Chicago.

    Just based on the fact that its named after the probably the coldest city in the ol US of A.
    Inland Empire - Zone 9b

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    • #3
      Hardy Chicago is a later fruiter and not the hardiest.
      Florea, Improved Celeste, RdB are the best, but you are asking for everyone's dream fig tree.... Once my kids are older, I will try breeding the tree you're looking for. We should chat again in 40 years!
      Zone 6a/b - west of Boston
      Waiting for climate change to bump me to Zone 8

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      • Kid Fig
        Kid Fig commented
        Editing a comment
        What.

        They need to relabel it to Kinda Hardy Chicago.

        I'll start the petition....

    • #4
      Originally posted by Trekking View Post
      I manage a heritage orchard project for a local historical farm in NJ, zone 6a, and I would like to bring figs to the site. When I research cold hardy figs, most recommendations ignore the fact that the entire plant dies back either annually or in cold snaps. Are there varieties that are cold hardy and don't die back at -10F? I would ideally like to prune the trees and develop trunks, branches, and structure without having to wrap in the winter rather than maintain multiples shoots from the ground.
      There is no such thing of a hardy fig that won't die back in zone 6. But there are a couple of things that you can do:

      1. Plant trees in a sheltered location near wall or other structures. This will block the damaging wind and give the fig trees chance to survive.
      2. Wrap the young trees over the first several years. When they get stronger, you may not have to wrap them any longer. But a very bad polar vertex can kill the trees to ground again.
      3. Learn the inevitability that fig die-backs are common. Learn to live with that. Plant the varieties that can fruit in the same season after die-back.

      Princeton, New Jersey, 6B
      flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/red-sun/albums
      http://growingfruit.org/ for all fruits

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      • Joshawa
        Joshawa commented
        Editing a comment
        this is sincere advice....

    • #5
      I agree with comments above, except the suggestion of Hardy Chicago. There is NO fig that will survive -10 F uncovered without dieback to the ground. Something around +5 F is the realistic lower limit for a mature tree, and that's unreliable depending on dormancy status.

      The "hardy" part of Hardy Chicago is marketing.
      Joe, Z6B, RI.

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      • Sulev
        Sulev commented
        Editing a comment
        Not exactly completely true. My inground young figs (2 summers old seedlings, total 8 trees) did not die back at all, even though our winter was colder, -22ºF (-30ºC). I did wrap slightly some trees, and piled snow on top of every tree. But my friend, who I gave 2 trees, did not cover them at all. Roe deer ate tops of his figs and they suffered some frost bite (temperatures there were even lower as he lives much farther from the sea than me), but at least half of both fig's trunk survived.

      • jrdewhirst
        jrdewhirst commented
        Editing a comment
        Snow acts as a very good cover. So piling on snow is covering, whether done by you or Mother Nature.

    • #6
      Yes, what he said ⬆️
      Steve - Clarksburg, MD zone 7a

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      • Sparky
        Sparky commented
        Editing a comment
        jrdewhirst And I'm not sure what you are referencing when talk about 5th and 10th year trees. I don't see that mentioned anywhere above.

      • Sparky
        Sparky commented
        Editing a comment
        Ha, maybe you botched it too? I see the reference below. Should your comment have been down there or is the forum acting weird?

      • jrdewhirst
        jrdewhirst commented
        Editing a comment
        Yup

    • #7
      The most touted Hardy fig variety was the St. Martin. I do not recall what the lowest temp this variety was "reported" to endure. But I figure if I put a first or second year tree in my zone 6 over the winter, it may be killed completely, not just killed to ground.

      The cold hardiness of 1st year, 5th year and 10th year trees are completely different.
      Princeton, New Jersey, 6B
      flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/red-sun/albums
      http://growingfruit.org/ for all fruits

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