Here is a follow-up to my other Instructable about burying a fig tree.
I do this to ensure they survive the harsh Michigan winters. In general, I bury mine after a frost knocks the leaves off, and dig them up in mid-late May after the danger of frost is gone. Halloween and Mother's Day are good reference times.
Step 1: Locate Your Tree
In the first Instructable, I showed how to cover the tree in insulating materials. The tires and straw bales did a good job holding the leaves down, and provided a place for the snow to hold on to.
Step 2: Gently Remove the Insulating Layer
Scrape the leaves away, and use a shovel to remove the thicker layer of dirt. Be careful not to injure the tree with the shovel! Once you get to the plastic, use your hands to pull it away. Holes in the plastic let water and air into the branch area, while preventing the dirt from encasing the branches.
The ends of the branches will have buds and tiny fig balls on them. Don't worry if there is a lot of mud or mold on the branches - that will dry out. The tree is very resilient.
Step 3: Inspect the Tree
Here is what the tree will have on it - buds and tiny green figs. Some branches may get broken or otherwise die on their own. As long as you have a good root ball, more branches will grow.
Step 4: Stand It Up
With the shovel, dig under the root ball so that it falls slightly into a hole when you stand the tree up. If you don't, the ball will sit too high and won't get enough water.
Stand the tree up, being careful to minimize how many branches you break. Don't worry - the tree will be fine.
At this point, you can take a shovel, hatchet or mattok and cut vertically through the root ball to separate it into 2 or more trees. Share a tree with a friend, and give them a link to these Instructables!
Step 5: Fill and Fluff
Take the dirt and cover the root ball. there will be exposed roots all around - tuck them down and cover them. Fill the ditch loosely with some leaves and dirt, which will make it easier to dig in next time.
Cover the ground around the base of the tree with a thick layer of leaves to hold in moisture.
Untie the rope and fluff the branches. they will dry out and find their own shape.
Step 6: Let It Grow!
The figs are ripe when they turn reddish and are soft. The bottom will start to open up. They tend to ripen very fast and not at the same time, so keep checking them. Ants love the bottoms when they start to open because they leak sweet juice.
Pull a ripe fig off the tree, peel the skin off and pop it in your mouth. The seeds are like strawberry seeds, so they won't bother you. They gave a very sweet, unique taste. Enjoy!
My neighbor gave me this tree about 15 years ago when it was about 3 feet tall, so you can see how fast they grow using this technique. I've moved it 3 times, and will be cutting the root ball this year so it stays a manageable size.
Step 7: The Other Tree
Here are some pics of the other tree...