I have several fig trees. Some of them seem to be contracting some sort of illness - leaves dry and fall off completely.

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This does not seem to weather or water related. Watering them does not help and others that had no water at all are doing great.

Two trees that had the problem when I moved here last summer have since recovered but now two previously healthy trees have it.

Is this an illness? Should I be worried? Is there anything I can do except wait?

  • What do your leaves look like when they begin to sicken? Before they are totally brown. How do the plant's roots look? This isn't due to the season, your other fig trees are all right?
    – Lori
    Mar 22, 2015 at 1:31
  • @Lori They seem to start browning on one side, accompanied by a whitish seam, a bit like flour. When the browning is complete there is no trace of white left.
    – Pekka
    Apr 6, 2015 at 19:40
  • Maybe mealy bugs, look close at the white. Click the link to see some. google.com/…
    – Lori
    Apr 7, 2015 at 21:24
  • Hi! I'm wondering how your trees are doing. Did you figure out the problem? An update or answer would be a big help. Thanks! Nov 10, 2015 at 22:08
  • Hi Sue, they seem to have recovered and it seems to be somewhat cyclical - i.e. those that had the problem, eventually started growing leaves again, and those that had leaves started losing them. I've seen other fig trees in the area do the same so I assume it's a natural thing.
    – Pekka
    Nov 10, 2015 at 22:12

2 Answers 2


It may be just a matter of physical conditions with varying amounts of rainfall. Permit me to draw a parallel with my apple trees on sandy soil. If my trees are allowed to go their own way growing as much canopy as they want they do well in consistently moist years. However, such years are rare. If the following year is dry, even though the roots are healthy and run deeply in the sand, there is not enough ground water to satisfy the canopy's demand and the trees look really stressed, with small leaves and weak twigs.

The solution might just be a regular pruning programme to keep the canopy open and balanced, planning on a moderately dry year every year.


figs, ficus carica, are prone to a ground worm like critter that eats it's way into the root systems. They are prevalent here and I use a sistemic pestacide to control them.

  • 1
    Can you elaborate on your answer and provide additional references (links)? Also, where is here and specifically what pesticide are you using?
    – JStorage
    Dec 1, 2016 at 0:46

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