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 of this publication, unidentified viral diseases that all infect the Ficus subspecies.
How fig mosaic spreads
All eriophyid mites,, especially fig mites, can bring fig mosaic to your trees. As they feed, their saliva transfers the virus to plant tissues. Grafting and cuttings can also spread the fig mosaic virus.
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. 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.
Look for signs of mite feeding if you suspect fig mosaic. Look around bud scales and young leaves for signs of mite feeding. You may also see faint russeting. Twig stunting and leaf drop may also occur.
Fig mosaic management
Trees infected with fig mosaic must be removed and destroyed by a professional. Tree removal is expensive. You can help prevent fig mosaic with these tips:
Sulfur treatments and horticultural oils can control fig mites. And those delicious figs are worth the effort.
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