what bugs eat fig leaves?

ponnie1996May 1, 2006

I have been putting my figs in and out of the garage for a few weeks now. The trees are in half barrels and are now full of leaves. I have noticed lately that some of the leaves are being eaten by something. Any ideas on what types of bugs will do that? what can I do to prevent this?

Also notcied that some of the leaves are curling along the edges, what can be done about that. Thanks in advance for your replies.

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epfeuffer

i've been pulling my figs in and out of the garage as well for the last 4 weeks. they've got big 7-8 inch leaves on them and look as big as last year already. i noticed in the beginning the leaves were curling and looked as if someone had munched on them. but it has stopped and the new growth for the last week or 2 has been clean and robust. my understanding is that the fig tree needs to spend a little time in the shade when coming out of garage or the new growth gets a sunburn. i think that the strong sun curls the young leaves and they become brittle around the edges. then the wind breaks off brittle edges and makes it appear as if they've been chewed. i emailed the folks at paradise nursey to help diagnose the problem. they indicated the young leaves would just be replaced by strong ones and to give the tree enough fertilizer. i put miracle gro on the tree every 4 days. the day after applying the fertilizer i water completely with the hose to the point that water is pouring of of the bottom of the barrel. this keeps the fertilizer from building up i think. either way they are growing great now. hope this helps

    Bookmark   May 1, 2006 at 3:50PM
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gene_washdc(zone 5a)

I've seen the Plum Curculio eating my fig leaves in the past. They didn't do any serious defoliation, but I found it curious that they'd eat fig leaves. I always think of them being more of a pest of apples, cherries and such.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2006 at 4:00PM
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ponnie1996

thanks for the quick replies!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2006 at 4:26PM
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bjs496

I have found beetles munching away at the leaves of my trees. They tend to eat at the perimeter of the leaves.

We have leaf-footed bugs that suck the sap out of the leaves. They tend to work in the middle of the leaf. The leaf doesn't really curl or show a puncture wound, but it does wrinkle around the bug's incision. Both the leaf-footed bug and the beetles are usually out munching at night.

I have also dealt with leaf curlers and spider mites. Both spin a web on the underside of the leaf that either causes curling at the edge or wrinkling in the interior. If you take a magnifier to the underside of the leaf, you might see the bugs that are responsible.

Last year I took a two part approach to getting rid of the bugs. One I sprayed with neem oil weekly for four weeks. Secondly, while it rained, I would use the hose with a sharp spray on the underside of the leaves. The buggies don't like being wet, which is why they hide on the underside. I think this was more effective than the neem oil. Neither method was effective on the Beetles or Leaf-footed bugs. I'm not sure if a poison would be more effective, I hunt them at night with a flash light. If you flick them, they hit the ground stunned and then a quick stomp does them in. Its actually kind of good for relieving stress.

Your bugs may be different, but you should be able to see them hiding on the underside of the leaf or at night. If you decide to use the neem oil (or any other spray, spray either in the morning or at dusk when it is cooler.

~james.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2006 at 4:28PM
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