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We planted two Chicago Hardy fig trees here in DC last fall, but we planted them a bit late, and had an early freeze and a cold winter overall. They were each a single stalk of about 18-24" (45-60 cm) and had several leaves, which fell off when the cold came.

The leaves didn't come back through the spring, and we thought they hadn't survived the winter, but a week or two ago we noticed that each had new sprouts growing from the base of the main stalk, so it seems that the roots survived after all!

I assume the previous stalks will die off, but should I do anything special at this point to ensure the sprouts grow correctly? One of the plants has two or three sprouts growing out of the ground several inches apart; should I snip all but the biggest so the plant focuses its growth on one main trunk? Do I need to do any trimming or clip any leaves to ensure the stalk grows tall/straight enough?

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  • We love pictures here, so that would help! – benn Jun 28 '18 at 13:56
  • There you go! You can see the original stalk at the top, and the new growth below. I think that's one of the small secondary sprouts I was talking about to the left of the bigger sprout. – nvioli Jun 28 '18 at 13:58
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    Wow, pretty strong to come back after that freeze. You can remove (cut away) the dead stalk. I would let it all grow for now, and maybe trim back when they are a bit stronger. – benn Jun 28 '18 at 14:01
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I suggest that you keep all new canes because in case of unusually cold winters it's easier to protect a shrub than a tree. Your fig trees are hardy, but you never know what the future might bring in terms of weather.

Keeping them as bushes will allow you to bend the canes and burry them in the ground until spring and the plants will have enough time to mature their fruits if they don't have to start producing new canes. I brought this up because my mother has a non-hardy fig shrub that she has to burry every winter if she wants ripe fruits the year after.

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