Growing figs on Long Island is easy. But getting trees to survive the winter takes a bit of work and dedication. Here's how it's done:
Never use any plastic materials for any part of the process.
1. When the tree is young, for the first few years or two, it’s a good idea to cut it back by half before wrapping. This is safe to do as long as the tree is dormant, which by wrapping time, it should be.
If your tree is large, pull all branches inward and tie them together with soft but strong rope. Be sure the rope and branches are completely dry before wrapping. Wait a few days after rainfall, if necessary.
2. Wrap the tree completely from top to bottom with burlap, securing the burlap to itself with pins or staples to keep it from falling off. Be careful not to pin or staple the burlap to the tree.
3. Next, wrap some heavy brown paper, typically sold in rolls, around the burlap and tie it into place.
4. Remove some soil from around the base of the tree.
5. Surround the bottom half of the tree with cardboard. Tie it into place, too.
6. Tar paper is next. Surround the tree with it so that rainwater will roll off it and away from the tree.
7. Once you’ve completely wrapped your tree, mound up soil around the base.
8. Top it off with a pail to deflect rainwater. Unwrap your fig tree on a cloudy day in April, just after the last frost.