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  • Suggestions for in-ground varieties in zone 7a/6b

    As noted in a couple other threads, I have a lot of room for orchards and would like to eventually have some good producers planted in-ground that can take the winters we have here next to the Blue Ridge in Virginia. I would also like to have the flavor groups all represented in the various color spectrum (yellow, green, red, gris, dark, black) as much as possible. Now, I've been researching varieties and some places give flavor descriptions and some give a comment about possible hardiness....but piecing all the bits of info together has my brain aching.

    So...I'm tossing this subject and questions out to the group. What varieties do you know of fall into this myriad of categories? I do plan to keep potted varieties not suited to this zone, but I'm looking at the medium-/long-term property plan.

    My mentors, friends, buddies, and acquaintances....have at it and THANK YOU for your thoughtful responses!
    Bryant...Franklin County, VA...Zone 7a. Wish List: a 32 hour day....more sleep

  • #2
    I live on the same border -- 6b/7a -- in RI. Based on my limited (2+ years) experience growing figs outdoors but extensive reading and discussion, I think you will probably not succeed permanently without protection. The main threats seems to be cold, wind, and sun -- probably not in that order. Unless you would consider burying the plants all winter or heating them during periods of extreme cold, I think you just have to accept cold as an inevitable risk. At most, maybe you can mitigate the cold very modestly by a combination of pruning low to the ground and covering.

    On the other hand, any opaque covering can readily shield plants from winter wind and sun. Blocking wind can help prevent excessive drying. Blocking the sun seems especially important -- you don't want a plant to come out of dormancy early. There were some very warm weeks this winter when I was very happy that my plants were living in man-made caves.

    My experience has convinced me that cold is not my main risk. During each of the past three winters here, there have been days down to roughly -5 F. I've had as many as six plants in the ground. With covering, I've lost no plants. Florea and Gene's Paradiso have both survived 3 winters; Hardy Chicago has survived 2 winters; and Marseilles Black, Ronde de Bordeaux, and Lattarula have apparently survived 1 winter. I did have heavy damage to Florea in the 1st year, but there has been very modest damage otherwise. These results have been achieved with very good protection -- foil-covered bubble wrap over the plants and a plastic moisture barrier below, but no mulch, no burying, and certainly no artificial heating. I suspect you might achieve comparable results with other materials that merely block the wind and the sun.

    Plenty has been written about cold hardy varieties, taste groups, and the intersection. Personally, I'm headed in this direction:

    Sugar: Florea
    Honey: Lattarula
    Dark Berry: Hardy Chicago, Marseilles Black
    Bordeaux Berry: Ronde de Bordeaux
    Adriatic Berry: Paradiso (Gene)

    As of last fall, I'm pruning all of these plants to a low "T", Japanese-style, for main crop figs only. After pruning and tying, the main laterals are roughly 12-18" off the ground. That makes them relatively easy to protect. I may experiment next year by covering a plant or two with nothing more than a thick blanket.
    Joe, Z6B, RI.

    Comment


    • DBJohnson
      DBJohnson
      Fig Phenom
      DBJohnson commented
      Editing a comment
      @Mountainfigs: I haven't had luck with my Brooklyn White cuttings... I have a couple plants I rooted last summer that are labeled O'Rourke but I suspect them to be IMproved Celeste based upon leaf pattern (spade). LSU Purple and Champagne rooted last summer were both victims of The Great Basement Flood of 2016, but I have plans to replace both later his spring/summer. And have two Atreanos rooted last summer that are leafing out and happy in the greenhouse.

      I've also been considering where on the place I could build a walipini after seeing the pics of your sunken greenhouse with the happy figs.

    • mountainfigs
      mountainfigs
      Senior Member
      mountainfigs commented
      Editing a comment
      Greenfin has the sunken greenhouse(s), I believe.

    • DBJohnson
      DBJohnson
      Fig Phenom
      DBJohnson commented
      Editing a comment
      Ooops! Sorry for the confusion.

  • #3
    Thanks! I'm definitely down for protecting the trees. Eventually I may even go so far as to set up winter boxes to protect from the wind in winter. One of the locations I'm considering on the place has some good wind breaks to the north and west, so that may be the first place I do large planting a despite it not being a southern exposure...more like west.
    Bryant...Franklin County, VA...Zone 7a. Wish List: a 32 hour day....more sleep

    Comment


    • #4
      DB
      I am thinking that this idea may be adapted to work in your situation. I took this picture in Lanzarote some years ago. It is a dry windy environment and any plant culture has to overcome these factors.
      This picture shows the desolate landscape and yet growing in the base of each pit is a grape vine. The sunken pit moves the plant out of the near constant wind. It also absorbs heat from the sun which releases its heat at night.
      Condensation is also captured and made available to the plant. With your space and a small excavator for a day you could dig out 10+ 8 foot diameter cones and replicate this proven method. The dug out soil would be mounded around the edges to create a 3 foot depression. A back filled trench on the down hill side filled with rock would ease drainage. Every fall prune all branches below the lip and out of the way of desiccating wind.


      Click image for larger version

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      Ian

      Ian

      Really happy with what I have.

      Comment


    • #5
      Check my list in my signature, lots of hours spent answering the same questions in there. Especially check the tabs along the bottom for some 'Best of' lists.
      https://www.figbid.com/Listing/Browse?Seller=Kelby
      SE PA
      Zone 6

      Comment


      • #6
        Kelby's spreadsheets of Herman2's recommended in-ground fig trees zone 7, NJ, https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...gid=1415597439

        They could be planted in raised beds or swales for better water retention, soil management.


        More linked info on building swales, http://figs4funforum.websitetoolbox....unt=24&forum=0

        Good luck.
        Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

        Comment


        • #7
          Some other varieties that I've come across that are supposedly cold hardy to zone 6b/7 (which I am also in):
          JH Adriatic Adriatic Berry
          Strawberry Verte Adriatic Berry
          Unk Carini Adriatic Berry
          Kathleen Black Bordeaux (Berry)
          Olympian Bordeaux (Berry)
          Ronde de Bordeaux Bordeaux (Berry)
          Danny's Delight Dark (Berry)
          Malta Black Dark (Berry)
          Marseilles Black VS Dark (Berry)
          Nero 600m Dark (Berry)
          Sal's EL Dark (Berry)
          Takoma Violet Dark (Berry)
          Lemon Honey
          Celeste (malta) Sugar
          Florea Sugar
          Hollier Sugar
          Improved Celeste Sugar
          Longue d'Aout Sugar
          Nordland Sugar
          Zingarella Sugar

          Malcolm
          Malcolm - Carroll County, MD (zone 6b). Interested in cold hardy figs. Currently container growing, MBVS, St. Rita, Olympian, RdB, Beale, Sal's EL, UCD 184-15s and Desert King.

          Comment


          • smithmal
            smithmal
            Senior Member
            smithmal commented
            Editing a comment
            Yeah... I had heard those two are suspect, but KB is from Takoma Park (zone 7) so it probably saw some bad winters in the past. Zingarella was noted somewhere as cold hardy (can't remember where) but how cold hardy I'm not sure.

          • Rewton
            Rewton
            Fig Phenom
            Rewton commented
            Editing a comment
            I had also heard that Zingarella was cold hardy and I believe this was from Herman2 who grows the same type of Zingarella that I do (originating from Richard Watts). However, in my yard, growing next to other varieties for comparison, I wasn't very impressed. Definitely much less cold hardy than the Mt. Etna types that's for sure.

          • paully22
            paully22
            Senior Member
            paully22 commented
            Editing a comment
            Try Granthams Royal, Osborne Prolific, Latarrula, LSU O'rourke, Ginoso, Lebanese Red "Bekaa Valley" --- works great here(zone 6/7) with no winter protection.

        • #8
          Rewton -- Thx. I'm glad to hear that JH Adriatic has worked out for you in ground. I've got cuttings of JHA destined for outside (borderline 6B/7A).

          All -- Does anyone in Z5 or Z6 have experience with Nordland? I'm planning to buy it but I'm not sure whether to keep it in a pot. Rewton, you've had success with LdA, which seems very similar to Nordland.
          Joe, Z6B, RI.

          Comment


          • Rewton
            Rewton
            Fig Phenom
            Rewton commented
            Editing a comment
            My experience with LdA in the ground is not so extensive actually and in part I was going by what another member (Frank, I believe also in zone 7a) from Virginia has found growing LdA in the ground.

          • Kelby
            Kelby
            Moderator
            Kelby commented
            Editing a comment
            It's assumed that Nordland is a variant of English Brown Turkey. With protection it will probably be ok, they have shown to be pretty hardy. I personally would container grow EBT variants in pots as they also have a great breba crop.

        • #9
          Thanks for all the additional info. Will check it out once I get home from my trip.
          Bryant...Franklin County, VA...Zone 7a. Wish List: a 32 hour day....more sleep

          Comment


          • #10
            LSU Scotts black, Hollier,JP Ventura made it through winter in ground with no die back.They did better than my Florea?I have 20 acres with figs planted at different locations,so i have to factor in micro climates, age and health of tree.I grow all my trees with 3 main trunks,it makes a difference and do not let your trees over produce first 3 years.I white wash my trunks also to help them from warming up to quick in morning sun.All the fig trees i plant seem to die back for first 3 to 4 years and after that they are fine.See what works for you,we need more zone defiers.

            Comment


          • #11
            newnandawg
            Moderator
            newnandawg has some experience in this area. He's had some die back, Most resprouted but several weren't able to bear figs if I remember correctly. Hopefully he'll chime in and set me straight.
            Bob C.
            Kansas City, MO Z6

            Comment


            • #12
              Bryant, I am in 7b and have 79 in ground trees at my house and another 30 at a friends house.
              He is also in 7b. I will give you what I would put in ground in my area if I were starting over.

              Malta Black, LSU Scotts Black, Col de Dame Grise, Malta Mission, Alma, Takoma Violette,
              VdB, RdB, Kesariani, Col de Dame Blanc, Negretta, Rose Marys New York Purple, Petite Negri,
              Unknown Carini, Bethlehem Black, Smith, Attilio Purple, Chiappetta, Gino's Black, Unk Afghanistan,
              Persian White, Nordland, Bouriasotte Noir, Dominicks Italian, St. Rita, Salce, LSU Tiger and Hollier.
              newnandawg 7b Newnan, GA

              Comment


              • #13
                newnandawg
                Moderator
                newnandawg and
                Harborseal
                Senior Member
                Harborseal, thank you! Just got home from my conference so finally getting a chance to read through the thread. I have quite a few of those varieties you listed,
                newnandawg
                Moderator
                newnandawg, so it looks like I have a start.
                Bryant...Franklin County, VA...Zone 7a. Wish List: a 32 hour day....more sleep

                Comment


                • #14
                  Kelby -- Thx. That's helpful.
                  Joe, Z6B, RI.

                  Comment


                  • #15
                    Hardy Chicago comes back every year and produces good figs here in Z6.
                    Bob C.
                    Kansas City, MO Z6

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