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Re: [nafex] Overwintering fig question

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I've just finished reading an article by Lorraine Johnson in Canadian Gardening
(no date given), of Joe Gallucci in Toronto, who keeps his fig tree alive by
burying it.

To quote the article:
"He has a 12' fig tree laden with ripening figs from July to well into October.
In November or early December, before the ground freezes - as late as possible
though in order to keep reaping the fig bounty - Joe ties up the branches to make
the tree more compact.  He digs right under the tree, all around the roots,
without breaking the deep, main root.  He then digs a trench the length of the
tree, two feet deep or more where the branches are especially bulky.  He tips the
tree gradually over a period of two or three days, keeping the main root still in
the ground, until the whole tree is in the trench.  He assures me the tree bends
easily: "Once you dig around the roots, it almost goes down by itself".  When it's
in the trench, he covers the tree with dead leaves, puts a plastic sheet on top
and covers the plastic with earth.  The tree stays in the underground shelter
until late March, after the danger of a harsh frost is past, and then he digs it
out and gradually elevates it, resting it in the axis of a home-made Y-shaped
wooden stilt to prop it up.
Joe is following a tradition started by his father with a fig shoot brought from
Italy to Toronto when the family immigrated 40 years ago.  They've been through a
few trees since then; some died when they weren't dug in deeply enough, and
another in an experiment that must have been a sight to behold - it was left
standing but covered with pink insulation.
(end of quote)

I don't know what zone Toronto is in, but it's cold.

Another thought ... don't use maple leaves to mulch the tree ... maple leaves
stick flat to one another and form a suffocating layer.  I think oak leaves would
be great - they dry up slightly curled and a mass of them would form pockets of
air and act as an insulating layer.

Don't use grass clippings - same problem: they form a suffocating layer


Derry Walsh & Bill Chase  email:wchase@interchange.ubc.ca
Aldergrove,  B. C.,  Canada
phone/fax (604) 856-9316
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Home web page  http://www.interchange.ubc.ca/wchase/HTML
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----- Original Message -----
From: <edforest55@hotmail.com>
To: <nafex@egroups.com>
Sent: Saturday, September 23, 2000 5:38 AM
Subject: [nafex] Overwintering fig question

: Can anyone help this person? (I would ask him to post it himself to
: Nafex but I don't know how to tell him to access our group) Thanks!
: I have a brown turkey fig tree which is 5 years old. I live in New
: Jersey which has a temperate climate. Every fall, I cover the tree
: with burlap and fill the interior with leaves. When I uncover the
: tree in late May, the branches are dead and new branches begin to
: grow from the bottom. These get to be 5 0r 6' in height and two of
: them (out of five or six) sprout about a dozen figs. These grow to a
: decent size and then stop and never ripen. Then the winter arrives
: and I start all over again. Am I doing something wrong? Help!