I am a resident of the Mt. Washington neighborhood of Baltimore City. I have...

Asked May 28, 2014, 9:54 PM EDT

I am a resident of the Mt. Washington neighborhood of Baltimore City. I have three fig trees on my property, one approx 10yrs old & 12ft tall that produces 100+ figs per year. The other two are 3yrs old, bushy & approx 7ft tall, and I expected them to begin fruit production this year. NONE of the trees has produced any foliage thus far this spring. I have a neighbor with tree previously healthy and productive 12ft trees that are similarly "dead" appearing. The tips of all the branches are a "rusty brown" color. The central trunk and large branches are normal grey color. If I cut through a thick grey branch, there appears to be a milky fluid in the central channel. Are these trees dead due to a winter kill, or is there a chance they will recover given another year? One of my younger trees appeared to die over the winter after I planted it, only to have fresh branches emerge from the roots during the next summer (the "tree" was only a 3-footer at the time). If I should wait before removing/replacing the trees, how severely should I cut them back.

Baltimore Maryland fruit fig winter damage

1 Response

Many fig trees in Maryland were killed or severely damaged as a result of the severely cold winter weather. In some cases the trees are not likely to survive. It is typical for fig tree roots to put up new growth following a winter kill, so that may be your only recourse: to nurture whatever new growth emerges. It is also somewhat encouraging that you find some of the milky sap in a portion of the branches. That may indicate the possibility of new growth emanating from the upper growth. So, you may want to wait for a couple of weeks before pruning to the ground.