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  • Hardy Chicago in zone 6a

    I am still very new to the fig community and to growing figs. Anyway, last spring I purchased a Hardy Chicago and put it in ground. It grew to be about 2 ft tall and produced 6 fruits. All 6 were harvested, but I had to learn when to pick them for best taste. Not sure how it will do through the winter, but here is a picture of the last fruit I picked. FINALLY waited long enough. Looked even better in person.
    Zone 6a
    Wishing upon a star: (Bass' Favorite, Craven's Craving, Campaniere, Colonel Littmans, Smith, Sao Miguel Roxo, Socorro Black, Thermalito)

  • #2
    Looks great, if it hasn’t gotten horribly cold maybe you can still go out and give it some mulching or cover around the base. Some growers here have noted preserving several inches of trunk above ground through the winter can help produce a larger and earlier crop. Good luck!
    NE Ohio, Zone 6a. Wishlist: Sodus Sicilian

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    • #3
      Beautiful looking fig, looking forward to my baby growing up. Continued success and Good Growing!
      Tony. Pickens county, SC zone 7B
      WL: Azores Dark; Brooklyn White; Dominick; Florea; Golden Riverside; Napolitana; nothing I can't pronounce!

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      • #4
        You've gotten at least 15°F lows a couple times already, in zone 6a. Look for at least tip damage thus far, your tree being unprotected up to now.

        Your goal is to get as much prior growth to survive winter as possible because from it, new growth made in 2020 will produce your main fig crop at summer's end.

        If your tree dies to the ground, it being Chicago Hardy, should regenerate growth from its crown come spring 2020, and produce some figs from the usually long basal growths it most likely will make then. Half or more of these figs will not have enough time to ripen before cold weather and short fall days halts further ripening. You therefore do not want to let your tree die to the ground. Particularly, young trees as yours have a harder time preserving old growth their first years, and can die to the ground, even when well protected as compared to an older tree. Therefore, a young tree needs all the winter protection it can be given to get it going.

        The winter protection goal is to keep the tree as dry as possible under its protection. Moisture induces mold growth, which invades dead/dying growth killed by cold, and I believe the mold invades live tissue also, further killing back previously live growth.

        Your covering should be rainproof, and your interior insulation should be a material that does not hold or absorb moisture.

        The space around your tree, under your protection, should be spacious. This keeps the large as possible protected air mass from having its temperature from fluctuating quickly from the rapid change from highs to lows in the outside air, which I believe does more harm than cold temps themselves.

        I do not think anyone has yet discovered the ideal winterization method for in ground fig trees where well below freezing temps are a given during winter.

        My neighbor has been winterizing his fig trees for almost 30 years, and even with the best he can do, some winters are so brutal that a <2' trunk is all that survives come spring. That is from a tree that reached 10+ feet tall, with old branches it previously made and survived for several earlier mild winters, and with good new growth made the previous year.

        Thorntorn
        W. PA., Pittsburgh, zone 6b USDA, but more 5b, realistically. All pot grown fig trees, no in-grounds.

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        • Froo-T
          Froo-T commented
          Editing a comment
          Thank you for the information about how to protect in-ground figs. I am trying a couple options that may or may not work. I'll post some pics that show what I'm trying out.

      • #5
        This may be a complete failure, but at least it's an attempt to preserve this fig.

        1) I used pipe insulation around branching with upside down tomato cage to brace it. (Tied it together with some yellow rope)
        2) Then I put rocks around base to keep base from rotting with the mulch.
        3) Finally I wrapped it with some waterproof, reflective insulation that someone gave me.

        Like I say it may be a complete failure, but so is doing nothing.
        Hopefully I'll have a pic for you all in the spring that shows some success.
        Zone 6a
        Wishing upon a star: (Bass' Favorite, Craven's Craving, Campaniere, Colonel Littmans, Smith, Sao Miguel Roxo, Socorro Black, Thermalito)

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        • #6
          I wish you much success! I believe the tree 's location in an inside corner, along your house, is a big plus for survival and thrival! I also hope that location is a sunny one. If it is, that makes that spot a heat trap in which your tree will grow robustly and ripen its figs earlier. Figs love heat and sun. The more in our locales, the better.

          Thorntorn
          Last edited by Thorntorn; 12-21-2019, 08:13 PM.
          W. PA., Pittsburgh, zone 6b USDA, but more 5b, realistically. All pot grown fig trees, no in-grounds.

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          • Froo-T
            Froo-T commented
            Editing a comment
            Thank you and "yes", it is on the south side of the house. :-)

        • #7
          Another thing....that tree is planted close to your foundation, which appears to be a poured foundation, and not block constructed. That is good. There are reports of fig tree roots infiltrating foundations and sewer lines. Block foundations I believe are more easily compromised. In the event of any possibility, I would keep your tree smallish by pruning, which pruning, fig trees are very adaptable to. That will keep its roots in bounds, accordingly. Actually, in ground in zone 6a, your tree should never get as large as it would in Texas, Florida, or California, with accordingly massive roots, but just keep its root infiltration potential in mind.

          Thorntorn

          ​​​​
          W. PA., Pittsburgh, zone 6b USDA, but more 5b, realistically. All pot grown fig trees, no in-grounds.

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          • Dtownfigs
            Dtownfigs commented
            Editing a comment
            Thank you for mentioning this!!! I’ve cautioned some other growers who dismissed me when I mentioned that all trees planted near a house should be no closer than 10’ from a foundation.

        • #8
          I grow Chicago Hardy in zone 6a, it dies down to the ground usually but comes back and produces. It was a cold wet spring this year but I still got half of the harvest. It will ripen even when it is 60 degrees in the day and colder at night which is great. you can make a cold frame over it in the fall to try to get the end of the harvest in a cool year. I have bought Florea and Improved Celeste (Among several other cold Hardy varieties) to try here as well because supposedly they will ripen a week or two earlier.

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          • #9
            Originally posted by Froo-T View Post
            I am still very new to the fig community and to growing figs. Anyway, last spring I purchased a Hardy Chicago and put it in ground. It grew to be about 2 ft tall and produced 6 fruits. All 6 were harvested, but I had to learn when to pick them for best taste. Not sure how it will do through the winter, but here is a picture of the last fruit I picked. FINALLY waited long enough. Looked even better in person.
            looks great follow MrC advise is exactly what I do here in 6b ,but I do trim tie up and place a barrel stuffed with straw over each one I have 8 ingrounds they fruit well every year for me.
            zone 6

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            • #10
              my winter protection
              zone 6

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              • #11
                Chicago hardy 6B
                zone 6

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                • #12
                  Chicago hardy
                  zone 6

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                  • #13
                    zone 6

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