Fig Guide: Winter Preparedness

Fig Guide: Winter Preparedness
In end of November, I finally had time to go out to visit my figs. My husband prepared me by saying, "Honey please don't be worry but I want to warn you many of our newly rooted (last winter) and several older figs trees have been damaged. I have been quite slow in doing my fig cutting inventory, while I was excited to see how my fig trees were doing. I wasn't prepared to see the damage now! As I remembered it was last year in February, that was when I saw some mice damage. That is usually the end of the season. Now I'm seeing damage this early I'm always worried all the way to March! That's three months of worrying. And, usually I have backups or copies of the same variety for situations like this. This back up plan doesn't work when the mice ate all the copies of the varieties.

The IV Organics white paint has a rodent damage protection, it is known for protecting trees from sun damage. Have anyone used it for rodent damage protection? When the damage is just some chewing on the branches I don't really mind as much, I can just prune it off. But when it chews a huge damage into the trunk. Then it promotes disease that can kill the entire tree. If you remembered what the mice did to my beautiful Maltese Beauty last winter. Now I already have at least twenty trees in that state. After my newly fig cuttings made it through root rot and entire summer and survived our heatwave in June. Just to end up be eaten by the mice. Next year we will be better prepared.
Often Spring and Summer there is no need for any protection from mice. Then we forget, until we see signs of damage. Summer time we preoccupied with how to deter the birds from eating our under ripe figs. Birds eat them when ripe, but they gotten to hungry and started to eat my under ripe figs. I see many have large trees and at the rate of mice damaging my trees I'm not sure when my trees will get to that size. I been taking cutting from the tree that is severely damage and rooting them to start over. I guess it keep me busy! Don't underestimate mice, be prepared!
My local friend Slavi, in Kirland, WA. Since his trees are very low to the ground. He ties them and have been painting the trunk white but I think he just uses home depot white paint. I think it could b the taste of the white paint that deters the mice. He hasn't tried the IV Organics white paint. I don't seem to see any damaged done to large in ground trees.

This year's suspect is vole. At first I thought they were moles, since there were many mole holes around and we saw some with long nose and claws. Moles are different than mice we have been dealing with. The only good thing is moles don't like to climb a certain height they prefer to be grounded. Mice/ voles they can climb all over trees. I have heard of mole damaging roots of in-ground fig trees but not potted. I was surprised when they chewed the trunks of my potted figs. Since moles dont eat wood they eat the bugs on disease roots, these are striping chewing on the trunk and branches laves the primary the suspect are vole or mice. Voles loves to eat the bark of young trees. And, they usually aren't good at climbing trees and tend to damage low hanging branches. So a mature tree with high branches aren't usually damage compared to dwarf bushy fig trees. To plant any tree in ground in an area that has any voles, moles, gophers I highly recommend wired/ mesh basket that protects the roots, there are many similar products sold on Amazon. They would still damage any roots that is not protected inside the mesh area but it is still better than no protection at all. However, i wished there was an all-in-one product that protects from trunk to the roots. I would imagine a mesh wire that protected from the roots up to 1 feet of trunk, might as well try to deter mice/voles!
This Christmas in Seattle, we had a rather early snowy winter than usual. December 25, we had our first snow and it stayed for a few days. Right when it we thought our snow for the year was done, December 28 it snowed again. Now its January 8, 2022 I'm finally waiting for the roots of my trees to thaw so I can safely bare root to ship.
Should you take cuttings before or after frost? If your trees branches have fully lignified the quality of cutting would be better if taken before frost. Keep in mind that after taking cuttings the frost will further damage it and hence it will be pruned again in early Spring. However, by waiting until March to take cuttings, the tips branches uncut are protecting the tree. For others living in a much colder area, I have seen them prune their fig trees way back to just the trunk and either bring the potted trees indoors or wrapping it from frost damage. Cuttings does well in the fridge. Next, the air tight seal bags is not necessary better, rather a simple zip-lock bag will do. Don't forget to disinfect the cuttings before you store it. And, always remember to disinfect any cuttings you receive before you store it or root it. Always make it your responsibility as the receiver to disinfect your cuttings it is in your best interest to do so.
I have gotten some cuttings from my own vole/mice damage trees and will be rooting them, for others, I will be starting over with new cuttings. I will update the progress of how my trees recover. So far we have a couple of things we have done to try to reduce the vole/mice damage and so far it is working. There seems to be no new signs of damage to my trees. Seems as there is always something new to learn. I'm sure in the next few years, I probably be dealing with deer or rabbits! Until then what's on your Figaholics wish list?
Here is the link for the IV Organics Paint