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Herman2

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Reply with quote  #1 
I had the bellow fig cultivars in ground without frost protection:
Maltese Falcon
Kathleen Black
Tacoma Violet
Atreano
Aubique Petite
Malta Black
Violette de Bordeaux
Vista Mission
LSU Scott's Black
Gino's Fig
Marseilles black VS
Bataglia Fig
Col de Dame Grise
Sal Gene
Hardy Chicago

January Lowest temp:10F

Here how they performed:
No Winter Damage:
Tacoma Violet
Malta Black
Gino"s
Marseilles black vs
Hardy Chicago
Sal Gene

One third ,from top dead:
Maltese Falcon
Kathleen Black
Atreano
Bataglia

Half Dead from top down:
Col de Dame Grise
LSU Scott's black

Three quarter dead from top down:
Violette de Bordeau
Vista Mission
Aubique Petite

All of the above were  tree that were 5 years old or older
These results ,(facts),show that indeed ,some cultivars are hardier than others no doubt.
In my climate we need hardy cultivars,that are early ripening,and have close eye to resist rain.
Any of the three requirement missing,the cultivar,is useless to us,in Northeast.
kubota1

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Reply with quote  #2 
Great info!
Thanks for sharing.

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Chivas

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Reply with quote  #3 
Very interesting results, I have an extra Col De Dama Blanc I will plant in ground this year (two years old) but i am going to train it to be a step over fig, about 7 feet long and next year with 6-7 vertical branches.  Now seeing your Col de Dama Gris survived halfway with no protection with 10 degrees f, we had 0 degrees f this winter, but all my in ground trees survived well with protection, I am confident that with protection the col de dama blanc has a very good chance to survive winter here as a single stem then to allow the vertical growth.  I will plant it in a spot that is usually the last one to get frost and is more protected from wind by a fence, hoophouse and a shed on north and south of it.  

I know a 2 year old tree is much younger than what you are using but so far Celeste, Colisanti dark and Dalmatie all survive winter well being two years old and the fmv infested VdB seems to be fine where it sent out uninfected (or symptomless growth) other than a few inches of die back.  Your findings give me hope to try it and see how successful I am with these because I can try, I hope not to fail but I am ready for that if it comes.

Did you ever try Ronde de Bordeaux for cold hardiness?  I am planting a 2 year old this year for step over as well so I am rolling the dice, but with back ups just in case.

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cis4elk

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Reply with quote  #4 
Thank you for sharing this useful information.
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Herman2

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Reply with quote  #5 
I have a 5 years old,Ronde de Bordeaux that I protected,and it lost about a third of wood with protection,so,we will see.
It is younger and smaller in size than all the above so,those must be more than 5 years old.
shah8

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Reply with quote  #6 
This has always been a deeply weird topic for me.  Atlanta in the '80s and '90s was a solid zone 7a, and there has never been an issue with even young figs surviving temps of 0 degrees with minor damage here.  Been more of an issue with nurseries selling not very healthy bare-roots and the figs not surviving a year for other reasons.  The Petite Negri in my yard survived the winter of '96-'97 with a little tip damage, and the few more winters in the low zeros that occurred affected it not at all.  Something else is going on other than just straight cold-hardiness.
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Especially desired figs: UCD 187-25, UCD 200-48, UCD 157-17, UCD 309-B1, Princesa, Black Madeira, high quality sugar fig that ripens Sept-Oct.

Probable desired fig: Smith, St Jean, JH Adriatic, CddB, Gulbun, Pastilliere, Sucrette

Rooting:  Smith, CDDB--this pretty much means I have my fun tries (tho' important since they are truly desirable), and only interested for this year: Gulbun, BM, 187-25, or something wildly exotic or precious that nobody has any good reason to send me.

PHD

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Reply with quote  #7 
Herman,
 In previous post's you mentioned that Marseilles VS was hardier than Hardy Chicago. Hardy Chicago would show frost damage but not MVS. Is the Hardy Chicago now more resistant to cold because it is older? or was it because the temperature did not drop below 10F? 

 Thanks,
  Peter
aphahn

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Reply with quote  #8 
Thanks Herman! Very useful.
I'd be curious to know which of your cultivars go dormant first in the fall and which ones wake up last in the spring.
I have noticed that my Desert King goes dormant almost a month before my Violette de Bordeau, but the DK starts growing again a couple weeks before VdB. Both are potted, and these traits contribute to them being poor candidates for in ground growing here.
Have you observed differences in the dormancy times with your figs? Do you think that the timing makes a difference in how well a tree survives a given climate?

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Herman2

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Reply with quote  #9 
Andy:I can't tell which fig goes dormant first,because here they all go dormant the same time,that is when first hard frost come.
In the Spring I noticed that the hardiest cultivars ,leaf out last:Ex:Marseilles black vs.
Hardy Chicago,did not have any damage this Winter,but it had damage about 6 years ago,when it was -4F
baust55

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Reply with quote  #10 
Thanks for the info Herman .
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Read more mad non- scientist stuff ....check out my post on KITTY LITTER !

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Fig trees I have : Hardy Chicago , Weeping Black , Ginoso , Excel , VEBT , and Genovese Nero .

My Wish list: Panache,  Florea,Desert King , RdB, Marseilles black vs, Vdb , Abruzzi,   JH Adriatic , Nero 600 , MvsB, Malta Black,
robertharper

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Reply with quote  #11 
Herman, I have noticed here also that the hardiest figs tend to leaf out later then the more tender figs.
We appear to be always about 10 degrees colder then you are during the winter months.

Here in our location it only got down to a low of 0 degrees, this last winter.

I too have also noticed that it takes more then just being cold hardy for figs to be successful in the north. So, there is something else at play, besides just being cold hardy.

I have noticed that the most cold hardy figs here will break bud a month later then the more tender figs.

The latest figs to break bud here, have been Marseilles Black VS, and Gino's. I suspect that Gino's just might prove to be one of the most cold hardy figs that we are testing.

I'm still not impressed with Hardy Chicago's cold hardiness. 

The most cold tender in ground fig this last winter, was once again Kathleen's Black. Even with a lot of insulation it still lost a lot of stems to cold.

I see your having good luck with Malta Black also. Keep us posted after this summer, and let us know if you still think that Danny's Delight and Malta Black, might be the same fig.

Bob Connecticut Zone 5b/6a
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Reply with quote  #12 
I think it's an important to take not of the timing of when varieties leaf out.  Similar to your mention of the hardiest figs leafing out later, the hardy varieties of pomegranates which I grow do the same (even though none of them find my cliimate challenging they have been tested in more harsh conditions).

I remember reading many years ago of rose gardeners who bent branches down in the fall and buried their plants (not sure if it was with soil or straw, most likely).  Again, that's not something that I need to be concerned with but it seems that it's something that could work well with figs, especially if one doesn't mind forgoing brebas and removing all but the last bud from last year's growth.

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ascpete

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Reply with quote  #13 
Herman,
Thanks for sharing and documenting this info.
I am curious as to how your Improved Celeste fared this winter. My "Improved Celeste" were some of the best growing and producing plants last year (first full year) and were average in their cold tolerance (from my winter observations). Though, average is still good!
pawpawbill

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Reply with quote  #14 
Great info Herman. This is a useful guide for me in zone 7a in Tennessee.

I will also be curious to see how a few others compare in trials, including improved Celeste and Florea.


Bill
Herman2

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Reply with quote  #15 
Bill:Florea needs Colder climate than 10F,to see where is the limit of cold resistance.
Bill and Pete:I protected my Improved Celeste,because it is ,a short tree,(3foot),and I did not want to loose any branches to frost.
So I do not know if I C is super hardy or just average.
It did come out alive without die back,from past Winter but with Winter protection.
rcantor

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Reply with quote  #16 
Have you tried Nordland, Florea and Violette de Soleis?  Are they not tasty or productive enough?
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MichaelTucson

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Reply with quote  #17 
Great info Vasile!  Thank you.

As for other variables at play besides lowest temperature:  I strongly agree.  I am reasonably convinced that two of these additional factors that have some primary importance are:
             - variability of the temperature, particularly when crossing the temperature range just below freezing.
             - cold wind (particularly below 32F)
I have not proven this obviously, but am experimenting with it (will take some years).

My hypotheses:  
  1. Wind is very drying, especially cold wind.  The amount of moisture that is removed from growing tips (even when dormant) by cold dry wind seems significant.  It also affects the cambium directly... the greener (younger) the tissue, the greater the vulnerability.  But any living tissue even underneath bark on a mature limb, is also vulnerable.
  2. Temperature swings through the range just below freezing.  I think this is particularly true in the early winter (late fall) and late winter (early spring).  The reason I think this matters to survival of the tissue is twofold -- 
    • A. in the fall the tissue is "hardening" and in the spring the tissue is budding/opening.  The springtime vulnerability should be obvious without me saying much to all of you experienced growers.  The fall hardening process is however (I believe) equally a time of vulnerability:  if temperature swings keep the tissue going back and forth between toward-dormancy and toward-waking, energy is lost and the tissue is weakened.  
    • B. This range of temperatures from roughly 28F - 32F is where the "reversal" effect of H2O is particularly unusual.  H20 generally behaves as most compounds do in their liquid and solid states, contracting as temperature decreases and expanding as temperature increases.  Except in this range, where it "reverses", and the expansion upon cooling in that range is rather pronounced.  (You all know of this phenomenon).  But I think the expansion is breaking cell walls, as well as other more delicate tissue structures.  When there is more water in the tissue at the growing tips, there is more  damage from this  (hence the added sensitivity to temperature swings through this range at the beginning and end of winter... because that is when the young tissues is more inundated with water).
It's hard to control for these things, but observations over the years on EBT have been generally supportive of these hypotheses.  I'm now growing more varieties and have more opportunity to observe, so I'll see if they hold up.  And I've got no doubt that there are additional factors to consider.  So far those three (temperature, wind, and temp variability especially during transition times (winter's onset and winter's termination) are the ones that have captured my attention.  I think water saturation also matters, though it can be somewhat controlled (moreso with potted trees). 

Whatever the set of primary variables, it is clear that this should be viewed as a multidimensional dynamic, rather than a linear (single variable) function.  Fascinating to explore, and I guess I'd expected that somebody somewhere had already documented this dynamic (though I've not found it).  
 
If anyone else has been paying attention to such additional variables (beyond temperature) affecting survival of fig trees through the winter, I'd be particularly interested to hear what you've observed.

Mike   central NY state, zone 5

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Herman2

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Reply with quote  #18 
Nordland is resonably hardy,Florea does not do good here because of wet clay soil,and rain,while ripening most of the time,and Violette de Sollies,is positivelly not cold hardy,comparable with the other you mentioned,and other known hardy figs like Marseilles Black vs,Sal Gene,or Gino's Black.
rcantor

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Reply with quote  #19 
Thanks.  So is Nordland not as good as the others?
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Martineca Rimada, Galicia Negra, Fioroni Ruvo, De La Reina - Pons, Tauro, BFF, Sefrawi, Sbayi, Mavra Sika , Fillaciano Bianco, Corynth, Souadi, Acciano Purple, LSU Tiger, LSU Red, Cajun Gold, BB-10 any great tasting fig
Herman2

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Reply with quote  #20 
Well,The others are proven,Nordland is new for me,so,I never left Nordland without winter cover,at 10F,to see what happen.
Gr8Figs

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Reply with quote  #21 
I have 2 Hardy Chicago trees in ground and they are the last trees to produce leaves this year.I noticed today that the buds are starting to swell along with a few breba figs.

Last year,I had insulated them with wire cages and leaves and the low temperature was 15F.The spring temps were in the 70's and I uncovered them,but there was a late frost on April 14 that killed the leaves,several breba figs, and the branch tips.





The low this year was 18F and I believe the HC fig trees have adjusted properly and remained dormant until now.

This last winter,I did not protect my 2 year trees that were in ground.There were two unknown varieties of similar size and health that were planted about 20 yards apart in my field.One suffered bad freeze damage while the other had a few 2-3" tips that froze.IMO,I think that it is difficult to draw absolute hardiness conclusions about fig varieties unless you have a large sample population of the same size,health,and cutting variety over a longer period of time ~10-15 years.


Attached Images
jpeg HCfreeze640.jpg (112.99 KB, 43 views)


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Barry Northeast Georgia 8a Wish List:Medium-Small Size,Dark Cold Hardy Figs

Low Temperature of 4F in 2015,17F in 2016,17F in 2017

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Reply with quote  #22 
Herman,

Do you heavily mulch your unprotected figs during the winter?  I've taken to mulching figs very heavily, thinking that it insulates the base of the trees (similar to burying the tree) as well as protects the tree from fluctuations in ground temperature, especially in early spring.  Figs don't seem to mind the extra mulch piled up around the limbs and base and will readily shoot out roots into it (if it stays damp).  I do pull back the mulch a bit during the active growing season.

I would also agree with Mike that wind plays a large part in killing off limbs.  I think that's why wrapping and/or insulating with leaves works so well, mostly for the wind desiccation factor.  We're not really keeping the figs much "warmer" by wrapping them since they don't produce heat of their own.  

Curious for your input!

Tim

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Reply with quote  #23 
Mike's hypotheses, both one and two is what we experienced here in north central Arizona this past winter.   Out of 16 trees, all experienced die back.  5 or 6 died to the ground and all but one of these are  coming back from the base of the trees.  All  were exposed, except for heavy mulch over their root zones.

So, like Tim has suggested...next year if we experience the same conditions, I will be wrapping trees.
In zone 8.  (Who woulda thunk).

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robertharper

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Reply with quote  #24 
What I have noticed here in Connecticut, is that there are ninet things that dictate whether or not a test fig plant makes it through the winter, without dying.

Number one is the main factor. It must be a fig that has cold hardiness in it's DNA

Number two: protection from winter wind.

Number three: How much green growth has been allowed to stay on the plant going into winter. Pinching helps tremendously in harden the tips of limbs, and branches. 

Number four: How wet is the ground going into winter.

Number five: The use of to much nitrogen, has caused rank growth.

Number six: Was the plant allowed to carry to many green figs into the first frost day.

Number seven: How healthy was the plant going into winter. Did it have strong growth. Or did it have stunted growth.

Number eight: Late winter and or early spring sun, will kill parts of the plant that survived the winter cold. Come early spring the plant is warmed by the sun hitting it and sap starts to flow upward. Then at night when the temperature starts to drop back below freezing, the parts with all that sap in it freezes, on the side where the sun hit it. All of our plants that were ever alive through the winter, but died during the spring, you can see the dead parts are all on the south side of the plant. But the tissue on the north  side of the plant, is green.

Number nine: Did the plant ripen it's fruit early enough to have time to divert energy toward building strength, instead of ripening fruit. 

Bob  Connecticut zone 5/6a
scott_ga

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Reply with quote  #25 
Very good points Bob. Nice to hear an expert opinion. The Georgia State Botanical garden has a fig that demonstrates your 8th point. The fig is planted on the South side of a several story building close to the building's wall. In this climate, there shouldn't be significant freeze damage in this climate and the north surfaces of the limbs are undamaged, but the south surfaces of the limbs are badly damaged.

Southern exposures are great for summer ripening, but bad for maintaining winter dormancy.

Scott

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MichaelTucson

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Reply with quote  #26 
Excellent comments.

Bob, I'm glad to see our observations agree so closely.  Your points number 3 and 8 are consistent with what I was saying in my point 2 (both A and B).  Your point 2 (wind) matches my first point.  Cold hardiness of the variety is implicit for mine, and also mentioned as "temperature".  I also agree with point 4 (ground water) and mentioned it though unnumbered.  And then you extend very nicely to articulate additional factors... very nice articulation of the points!  I very much like the way you wrote that.

I suspect that your point about nitrogen (your point 5) is also related to points 3 and 8.  Excess nitrogen (especially at the "wrong" times of year) creates an excess of vulnerable green tissue.  It is the vulnerable green tissue that is most at risk, not only to "itself" (in the sense of that tissue being susceptible to necrosis from cold or wind or waking/waning); but that tissue also represents a risk to overall tree health (because it is an energy sink... it takes energy from other parts of the tree, and then when it dies it represents an unfulfilled investment in energy by the overall organism... in other words:  it wastes energy, and wasted energy weakens the overall tree).

I had not noticed the other things you've said (e.g. carrying green figs too late in the season), but that too is consistent with this notion of wasting energy.  

There's another point here that many of you have made (Andy, Vasile, Bob, Harvey, others).  In particular, the "late budders" seem to do better.  That too seems consistent with these concepts about tissue vulnerability in the transition times.  (Simply:  if it wakes up too early and leafs out, then it is more susceptible to damage from early season temperature swings).  Maybe this is a point 10 for Bob's list  (or you could think of it as a subpoint for point 1 I guess).

Interesting set of info in this thread... I'm glad to see it here!

Mike   central NY state, zone 5

p.s.  Isn't it funny how it all resembles tautology?  "If you want a fig that grows well in a short growing season with cold winters, then choose a fig that has adapted to places with a short growing season with cold winters".  LOL. 


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musillid

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Reply with quote  #27 
Boils down to keeping your tender parts protected.
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aphahn

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Reply with quote  #28 
Bob, in keeping with the title of the post, what differences between cultivars have you seen for your points? Do certain ones handle some variables better than others?
I'm specifically interested in the second and eighth points, winter wind and warming. Any note worthy cultivars in those areas?

I witnesses number three first hand last fall when I left a bunch of figs on my VdB just to see how far they would go. A unexpected cold snap killed 2/3 of the tree, while others that didn't have any figs suffered no damage.

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snaglpus

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Reply with quote  #29 
Figs in Ground           No burn  ¼ burn  1/3 burned Died to Ground
ABQ1                           X
Atreano                        X
Atreano Gold                 X
Beer's Black                  X
Black Celeste                X
Bourjassote Grise                                    X
Byadi                           X
Celeste                        X
Celestial                       X
De La Senyora               X
Deanna                                                 X
Desert King                   X
Don Fortiss                   X
Emerald Strawberry        X
Encanto                       X
English Brown Turkey                 X
Florentine                     X
Gino's Fig                      X
GM14                           X
Green Greek                            X
Hardy Chicago               X
Hunt                            X
Improved Celeste           X
Italian 258                    X
Italian Black                  X
Italian Honey                X
JH Adriatic                   X
Kathleen Black              X
Lamperia                      X
Los Lunas                    X
LSU Champagne            X
LSU Everbearing            X
LSU Hollier                    X
LSU Purple                   X
LSU Scott's Black          X
LSU Scott's Yellow         X
LSU Tiger                     X
Marseilles Black             X
Marseilles White            X
Martian Unknown                                     X
Native Black                 X
Negronne                     X
Pananas Purple             X
Papa John                    X
Paradiso GM#9              X
Peter's Honey                           X
Petite Negra                 X
Raspberry Latte             X
Red Celeste                  X
Ronde de Bordeaux         X
Sal's C BC31                  X
Saratoga                      X
Shar Italian                   X
Smith                           X
Stella                           X
Strawberry                    X
Sweet George                            X
Tacoma Violet                X
UCR187-15                    X
Violette de Bordeaux                                 X
Votata                          X
Weeping fig                    X
White Triana                  X

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snaglpus

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Reply with quote  #30 
I had the above list of trees inside a nice table with more information but the website said it was too much data to add.  So, all the trees listed above are growing in orchard - in the ground.  I think a few are missing.  I think I have 68 or 70 fig trees installed, some are dups like Celeste, Improved Celeste and Strawberry because I like their taste.  Trees got no protection at all!

 

Notice how my Violette de Bordeaux got burned pretty much but my Negronne did not.  The exact same thing happened to those 2 in my containers, same exact age and height.  VdB got burned but Negronne did not.  Think they are the same tree?  HA!  Heaven only knows!  Coldest temp this past winter was 22 degrees.  All but 2 did extremely well.  Will report status of my 200+ container trees next week.   But I know my VdBs took the hardest hit and LSU Black was second. 

Bourjassote Grise and Deanna took the hardest hit!  But I my BG did ripen last year!  Deanna did not.  I wonder how they will do this year.  I might be burning Deanna or I might move to a pot.  She grew great in a pot a few years back.


Lesson learned -  The older the tree the more it will survive in my climate without any die back.


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