Ask a Question forum: Brown and Black spots and edges on some Fig Tree Leaves

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Name: Pat Morris
Augusta, GA, Zone 8b (Zone 8b)
I love gardening & love to share.
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patmorris1
Jul 21, 2017 12:34 PM CST
My Fig tree, rooted by a friend of mine and given to me in a 1-gallon can about 5 years ago is having leaf problems. The tree is maturing wonderfully; and each year it bears more and more delicious figs. However in about the last week or one week and one-half, some of the leaves have gotten brown and black edges and spots on them. I don’t know if it is a disease or what is causing this to leaves at different places in the tree.

On one of our especially cold –freezing days the leaves were just coming back. And the tips of the leaves on the top limbs of the fig tree were burned looking from the freeze. Everyone suggested not to remove the damaged leaves; but that as the weather warmed thee tree will be fine. That seemed to be the case until recently. I don’t know that the brown and blacking leaves is a residual effect of the freeze or something else. Would you please give me your feedback as to what is causing my leaves to get the black and brown spots and black edges; and what I can do to remedy this? Here are some pictures. The first one of of the whole tree about a week ago. The others are of the damaged leaves taken today.
Thank you very much!

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Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Jul 21, 2017 3:22 PM CST
Frost damage.
Tree looks great.
I live in fig country .
Never heard of anything that troubles a fig.
Except, poor pollinazation.
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Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Pat Morris
Augusta, GA, Zone 8b (Zone 8b)
I love gardening & love to share.
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patmorris1
Jul 21, 2017 3:29 PM CST
Thank you. Should I just leave them alone or pull the damaged leaves off?
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Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Jul 21, 2017 3:44 PM CST
If they bother you, cut them off.
😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Jul 21, 2017 4:06 PM CST
We have a member who is pretty knowledgable about figs. I will give him a shoutout to attract his attention to your question.

@ediblelandscapingsc
Can you please take a look at the images and offer some advice? Thanks.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Daniel Erdy
Catawba SC (Zone 7b)
Fruit Growers Permaculture Hybridizer Plant and/or Seed Trader Organic Gardener Daylilies
Region: South Carolina Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Photography Herbs Region: United States of America Seller of Garden Stuff
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ediblelandscapingsc
Jul 22, 2017 9:49 AM CST
Thanks greene, Pat you have a mild case of fig rust. It's common in the southeast and in bad cases will defoliate the tree and cause fruit drop. It's unknown how far the spores can travel but they are shaped in an aerodynamic way to reduce drag so they can spread high and as far as possible. The actual rust starts appearing when temps warm up and the humidity gets higher. Rust will not survive out west, the air is to dry. That's why Philip has never seen it before. They do make sprays to control the rust but I'm not sure there is an organic spray for it or not. I see this most often in the Celeste variety it seems very prone to not only getting rust but defoliating and dropping figs. From your leaf shape my guess is you have Celeste. is this what your figs look like?

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Name: Pat Morris
Augusta, GA, Zone 8b (Zone 8b)
I love gardening & love to share.
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patmorris1
Jul 22, 2017 11:20 AM CST
Yes, thanks; I believe these look like my fruit. Do you have a suggestion of a spray (whether organic or not) that can get rid of the rust? And should I go ahead and remove as many of the rust affected leaves as I can? I would like to take care of the rust before the figs drop or worse. The figs have been prolific and delicious this year -I really don't want to lose the tree.

I am also air-layering limbs ( a couple of limbs have roots already) of the fig tree. If the rust is on any of leaves of the limbs I am air-layering do I need to treat it now or after I remove it from the tree -or should I get rid of it?

Thank you so much for your feedback. I am sad that my Fig tree is sick -has rust. Hopefully, I can save it. Thanks again!!! Thank You!
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Name: Daniel Erdy
Catawba SC (Zone 7b)
Fruit Growers Permaculture Hybridizer Plant and/or Seed Trader Organic Gardener Daylilies
Region: South Carolina Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Photography Herbs Region: United States of America Seller of Garden Stuff
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ediblelandscapingsc
Jul 22, 2017 4:09 PM CST
It's not going to kill your tree and in your case you most likely won't even see fruit drop. I don't use sprays myself besides compost tea because almost everything I grow is edible and I don't want to put toxic stuff on my edibles. I'm sure you can google search fig rust sprays and it will give you some suggestions. I've never had rust on my fig trees I can't say if it's the tea or just luck. Removing the infected leaves may help slow the spread but it won't cure it. Burn all your leaves in fall or bag and discard them this will help also. You can also think about trying some other varieties if the problem get worse. Good luck and please keep us updated to how your tree does.
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Name: Pat Morris
Augusta, GA, Zone 8b (Zone 8b)
I love gardening & love to share.
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patmorris1
Jul 22, 2017 7:11 PM CST
Thank you so much. I have never used anything other than organic sprays; and as much as I love the tree (I have had it 5 years; it was rooted by a friend of mine); and have been raising and caring for it since it was a baby -I don't want to poison myself or others. I appreciate your feedback and won't bother you again -but wondered if I could run one more thing by you?

I have been doing some air-layering of the limbs on my Fig tree and Pomegranate tree to have new trees to share with my niece and a couple of friends. They are doing great and I will leave them on the tree and check them again before severing from the mother plant (It has been almost 3 months since I started the process and the roots are growing well.). My concern? I am afraid that I will be giving them a diseased -rust plant. I noticed today that three of the limbs have rust on the leaves (and I think the other one is getting it too). Should I not let the air-layering (of which I am so proud) mature further and give away as their first fruit tree? I don't think that I should pick off all the rusted leaves on the air-layered limbs? I will try some compost tea -but should I tell them that I no longer have trees in the making for them? And hopefully it won't come back next year -or do you think during the cold weather and the leaves fall off it and they no longer have rust that it may take care of the problem? I know that I am rambling -I am just concerned with my first air layering project (in 43 years) that I can't give them away.

Have a good rest of the weekend. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!
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Name: Daniel Erdy
Catawba SC (Zone 7b)
Fruit Growers Permaculture Hybridizer Plant and/or Seed Trader Organic Gardener Daylilies
Region: South Carolina Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Photography Herbs Region: United States of America Seller of Garden Stuff
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ediblelandscapingsc
Jul 22, 2017 8:24 PM CST
Your not bothering me, I love talking figs. It's best to wait until your plant is dormant before removing the air layer at which time rust will not be an issue but if the people you want to gift the plants to live in SC, GA, FL, AL, or MS they may get rust from local spores.
Have you tried rooting any cuttings from either your pom or fig trees? Both root easily when using dormant cuttings. So easily in fact that rooting hormone isn't even needed.
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Name: Pat Morris
Augusta, GA, Zone 8b (Zone 8b)
I love gardening & love to share.
Image
patmorris1
Jul 23, 2017 6:33 AM CST
I thought of doing that next. The other day I put down some cuttings from my Lady Banks Rose and they seem to be happy. The main reason I decided to give air-layering the Fig and Pomegranate a try is that I understand that an air-layered plant will produce fruit without waiting a few years; and a plant from a rooted cutting takes several years to produce fruit. Is this not the case? I would like to still be alive when my friends enjoy the fruits (of my labor) from their propagated tree while I am still alive Crossing Fingers!

Thank you. Have a great Sunday. Thank You! Smiling
Bringing more beauty to the landscape.
Name: Daniel Erdy
Catawba SC (Zone 7b)
Fruit Growers Permaculture Hybridizer Plant and/or Seed Trader Organic Gardener Daylilies
Region: South Carolina Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Photography Herbs Region: United States of America Seller of Garden Stuff
Image
ediblelandscapingsc
Jul 23, 2017 9:21 AM CST
Often if you root fig cuttings in a large enough pot it will produce figs the next year. The poms will take about 3 years but air-layered poms also don't often fruit until the 2nd year. I do cuttings more than layers because from one branch I can make 5, 6 maybe even 10 plants, but I also sale and trade a lot of plants so this is the best method for me. For the average homeowner just wanting to expand their orchard or share a few plants layers are a great choice.
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