Sick Small Deformed Leaves on my Fig Trees?

jajadaApril 18, 2010


Was hoping someone could help me diagnose a problem with the fig tress on our property. We moved in a year ago and want to start selling the figs we get from an existing dozen trees or so through our local CSA.

In trying to learn about figs (I have no experience at all) I of course went and took a really good look at our trees. One is huge and covered with figs. The others all seem to suffer from something that attacks the leaves and resultingly those trees aren't carrying a fraction of the fruit I see on the healthy one, also the fruits are smaller. The suffering trees have retarded/deformed/small/discolored leaf growth which seems to be the cause of all this. I have included some pictures, I hope someone can shed some light on this. If all my trees produced like the healthy one we would be rolling in figs!!!!

Any help is much appreciated, thanks so much,


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Could be a real bad case of fig mosaic virus. What varieties are they? r

    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 8:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Your tree is suffering from fig mosaic virus.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 9:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Jajada,
your pictures show FMV, classic case is mottled leaves that are raised like bubbles, plant leaves in what appears to be a lack of chlorophyll, badly deformed looking leaves,or tiny darker green spots observed with a light from under leaf .
You can click the link i posted last season.
I showed FMV mild case and more severe case in a few of my plants.
I see your in CA and the FMV can be transmitted thru some bugs and thru pruning shears also from one plant to another.
FMV is a curable virus in plants but much much to costly for the average gardener, fig plants can be easily reinfected by certain bugs that will transmit it .
Many fig plants can deal with it as they get larger a few such as ischia black are most affected and stunted by it as it can affect the plants cells from multiplying therfore stunting it.
Its been my experience that once a plant has it its there for good although it may seem gone its there and can show itself anytime.
FMV may not show in all limbs of a plant as its a very slow moving virus, its slow enough that in a lab new emerging shoots are cut and then sterilized and use of a microscope and scalpel to the extract the meristem by peeling back the outer shell consisiting of many tiny leaves within it eventually coming to the meristem which is an opague color very small and hard to see and propagate useing certain types of medium are used in a complete sterile setting. Its very costly to do as stated properly but that part of the plant has the highest probability of not yet being infected and contains all whats needed to start a new plant.
FmV is in tobacco and potato crops called by different intials but basically is the same type of virus. How they deal with it im not sure as i have only read about fig plants mostly.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 19, 2010 at 12:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV) can attack tomato plants too.


    Bookmark   April 19, 2010 at 2:44AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks so much for the information. I guess that's pretty easy in that it sounds like there is nothing I can do about it.
Too bad, most of the trees appear severely stunted except for the one HUGE one that's by itself on the other side of the field, this thing is a 20 feet tall bush wide enough to do laps around! I will be needing a biiiig ladder :-)

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 2:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Once a fig tree has FMV it will always have that virus. However, there is something that I would definitely try if those were my fig trees. I would try cutting down a couple of trees (to one foot above the ground) that show the most FMV symptoms. Cutting the tree down will force new growth on your tree. Since you already have a good root system on your tree, the new growth will be rapid and quite vigorous......many new sprouts should outpace the FMV. After the new sprouts appear, choose the one(s) that do not show any virus symptoms and allow it (them) to grow and form a new tree for you. I would do this now.

Fertilize the ground around your pruned tree with either an 8-8-8 or 13-13-13 all purpose fertilizer. Sprinkle the fertilizer directly on the ground around your pruned tree and then water it in with a hose. Continue to water your tree to keep the ground always damp. I would fertilize it again after one month and would not fertilize it any more until the following year.

By doing those two things, there is a pretty good chance that you can turn your sick looking trees into nice fig bearing symptom-free trees. If those were my fig trees, that is exactly what I would do.

....I would also suggest fertilizing one (a few?) of the smaller trees right now to see if the new growth appears symptom free. I have successfully eradicated FMV symptoms on three of my small in ground fig trees by doing just that. They continue to exhibit normal growth and fruiting.

Should you give any of this a try, please let us know how it turns out as your results might prove helpful to others. Best of luck to you.


    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 8:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Dan,
That's great advice which I will definitely employ.
Will this mean that I get nothing until next year in terms of fruit?
Also, I will take some more pictures if you would like to help me find out just what kind I have, there are so many varieties, I hope you can help or I will be selling 'anonymous' figs, hehehe.....

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 7:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sure there is a possibility of getting fruit this year.....if you live in a zone with a warm long season, you might even see fruit on your prunned tree. We would love to see pictures of your project. I'm sure someone will be able to ID your tree once you have pictures of the fruit. Even nameless figs sell well if they look and taste good. I will even overlook "looks" for good taste.


    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 7:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ok, took pictures of our trees, or 16 of them anyway, I think we have 20 total. I tried to make the pictures small in size so I can include a lot of them as I don't know how many varieties we may have.
The pictures are taken in the following order: First I shoot the tree with an 8 foot board in it so you can see the scale. Then I shoot a fig on the tree up close so you can see that as well. So, every time you come to a new picture of a whole tree, the following picture or two will be of its fruit.
Ok, let's try, let me know if any of you have trouble seeing the pictures.
Hopefully someone can identify these trees for me so I know what I am selling.
Thanks again for all the info.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2010 at 2:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
satellitehead(z8 ATL Metro)

Not sure if anyone can really tell what variety they are without seeing the unripe fruit, the ripe fruit, the ripe fruit sliced in half, and the predominant leaf pattern.

I can say that those trees could probably use a good pruning, and if you take some of the branches after pruning, defoliate them, and stick them in the ground, you probably have a great chance of them growing a new tree. You could double or triple your orchard in no time flat ;)

    Bookmark   April 21, 2010 at 1:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks! That's a great idea, I just might do that. But how many years until a tree from a twig will yield significant fruit for sale?
Now I am also trying to find out about the local market here in Central Ca. so I can figure out how to sell them. I don't even know how profitable this thing is but it seems that most of the work is just picking the fruit and watering. I do have the number for a guy who has a stand at the local farmers market and will give him a call...

I guess I will just have to keep posting pictures of the fruits as they mature until someone might determine what kind they are, then I can tell my customers what they are buying which would obviously be really nice :-)
If anyone has a way to narrow down what type it is even a little bit I would love to hear about it....

Thanks much

    Bookmark   April 21, 2010 at 2:46PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Help please!!!
I badly need your help .why do the leaves curl and...
Kimmy Jane Santiago
Negronne 2014
Pictures are from one tree but two different fig fruit....
fiddle leaf fig dilemma - one healthy, one w/ incredibly droopy leaves
About a month and a half ago I purchased a 3/4 foot...
Trade blueberries for figs (cuttings) 25 for 1
Hi, I am new to this forum and have become recently...
The Great Boulder Fig Planting Experiment
Let me first say I'm not a fan of rooting figs inside....
Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b
Sponsored Products
Solid Bronze Oval Knob
Signature Hardware
Presidio Tryne Semi-Flushmount by Hubbardton Forge
$378.00 | Lumens
2 Way Motion Glass Rectangular Coffee Table - CTY221
$557.04 | Hayneedle
Boomerang Coffee Table in Walnut
$699.99 | Dot & Bo
Moooi | Lolita Suspension Light
$715.00 | YLighting
Hinkley Lighting Outdoor Lighting. 120-Volt Line Voltage Step Light Bronze Finis
$99.00 | Home Depot
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™