A member of the ficus family, the fig tree is grown both commercially as well as in southern landscapes for its fruit. Hopefully, the fruit of your fig tree will not be disturbed by the presence and activity of common diseases. Gardeners can easily tell if a fig tree is succumbing to a particular disease, as all are simple to identify and equally easy to treat.
Most Common Diseases
Three diseases commonly affect fig trees: fig rust, fig mosaic and anthracnose.
Identifying Fig Tree Diseases
Fig rust attacks the leaves of fig trees, causing light orange spots to form on the foliage. The spots start off small and grow larger with the passing of the growing season. Fig mosaic is a viral disease that also affects the leaves of fig trees. It causes yellow spots to form on a fig tree's leaves. Anthracnose causes black or brown spots to form on the tree's leaves, which will turn yellow as the disease progresses.
Effects of Fig Tree Diseases
Fig rust can drastically alter the appearance of fig trees by causing their leaves to excessively drop. This rapid leaf dropping can sometimes incite premature new growth, leaving the tree at risk for injury by cold temperatures. Fig mosaic causes fruit to drop early and makes the leaves smaller. Anthracnose affects both the leaves and fruit of fig trees.
Control fig rust by spraying the infected tree with neutral copper spray in May or June. Because fig mosaic is often spread by cuttings, gardeners should take extra caution when handling cut pieces of fig tree, making sure there is no physical evidence of the disease. Anthracnose is treated with copper fungal spray.
Prevention of Diseases
Practice proper soil management and good nutrition to help ward off diseases. Gardeners should avoid deep cultivation, which can damage the fig's roots.