Edited by WSimpson NC on 10/28/2017, 10:39 am
You might want to try one . You could protect the whole plant when small and the trunk only when it gets bigger . New shoots would sprout out every year at least on the trunk , and some years , when you have winter lows above 5F , you would get fruit the next spring . When I saw our temperature forecast getting in the 5F area a few years back , I did protect the trunk to insure that the plant would survive . It didn't need the protection , and new growth started back out normally the next spring , but if it got colder than forecasted that year, the protection would have insured that the tree would have survived . If the branches were damaged I would just cut off the damage and let it sprout out on live tissue . In an extreme winter the only live tissue might be the thick protected trunk , but with that huge root system and thick trunk it would sprout out fast . Then in a couple of years the tree would fruit again .
Just an idea .