Answer: There are several possible causes for the problem on your fig and maple, and they may not be related.
Figs are susceptible to nematode attack, especially on sandy soils. These pests stunt the root system and create a number of stress related problems on above ground plant parts. If you dig up a root near the surface and see swollen areas, nematodes are the probable cause. There is no practical control for nematodes. The best way to help the tree is to apply a deep mulch (about 4 inches is good) of compost and keep the tree well watered. Add 2 or 3 inches of composted material each spring.
Another possible cause on both trees is lack of water or poor nutrition. Apply 1 cup of balanced fertilizer in the area beneath the branches and give your tree a good, deep soaking once or twice a week.
A final possibility for both trees is damage from a broadleaf weed killer. Treating the area around the tree with a weed and feed can result in such damage. There is no remedy for herbicide injury. If it is a minor case, the tree will recover in time.
Good luck with your trees!
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