Fig trees can be stately and highly productive, but fig mosaic can take a toll on your fig tree. Fig mosaic is a complex of several, as yet unidentified, viral diseases that all infect Ficus subspecies.
Fig mosaic symptoms
Yellow leaf mosaic patterns are a common symptom of fig mosaic. These patterns are brighter yellow toward the center of each spot, fading to light yellow before reaching the healthy green leaf tissue. As the condition progresses, a rust-colored band appears around the edge of each mosaic spot. Leaves may also be deformed. Infected fruit shows mild mosaic patterning but may be smaller and less abundant than on healthy trees. Most often, fig mosaic causes early fruit drop, all but eliminating your crop.
How fig mosaic is spread
Fig mosaic is spread by eriophyid mites. As the mites feed, the virus is transmitted through their saliva. Fig mosaic can also be spread by grafting and cuttings.
Fig mosaic management
Trees take time to grow, so having to remove an infected tree is best avoided. Begin by only installing disease-free tree and planting them at the proper depth, giving them the irrigation and food they need to stay healthy. Monitor your fig trees for sign of mite feeding. You will need a 20x hand lens to see these tiny sap-suckers. Fig mite feeding is usually seen around bud scales and young leaves and it often causes a faint russetting. Twig stunting and leaf drop may also occur.
Sulfur treatments and horticultural oils have been shown to control fig mites.
Go take a look at your fig tree to see if mites might be present. If they are, get rid of them so that you can enjoy many years of sweet, delicious figs.
You can grow a surprising amount of food in your own yard. Ask me how!