Question of the Week Number 1: July 15, 2021

“My fig died back to the ground in the cold, but new shoots are coming up from the roots. Can I train them to be a new tree? Will they be the same variety?”

Fig that was killed to the ground by the cold is producing strong new shoots.

It’s funny how a question will pop to the top of the list. This question was called in to my several radio programs five or six times this past weekend. Not all of them made the air, but there they were nonetheless.

The February cold spell really hurt figs in much of Texas, especially in the northern parts of their range. Even the most winter-hardy variety Celeste was killed to the ground in many gardens.

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If you have a fig, and if it is sending up new sprouts from its roots, the good news is that you still have the same variety of fig. Figs are propagated from cuttings. Genetically they are the same as the mother plant. So, if you had a Celeste fig to start with, you still have a Celeste fig.

Trim off all the dead stems by cutting them as close to the ground as possible. Allow most of the new shoots to develop. At some point later this fall you can remove perhaps half of them, Leaving as many as 6 or 7 in place. Next year you may want to thin the numbers down to 4 or 5 major trunks.

People also want to know how long it will be until their figs will begin producing fruit again. While they are re-growing like this, the plants are going to be extremely vegetative. Fruit production may be delayed by two or three years.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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