I have white fig trees in my yard, and this year we are experiencing figs that seem to be waterlogged, and are now turning brown and falling from the tree. Some that have remained on the tree have literally dried up (so much so that when I touch them they break off if my hand). We have never had any issues with them before. What is wrong?

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    Please send pictures, close ups as well as the entire tree and the bottom of the trunk and soil transition. What have you been doing for watering (when do you water), fertilizing...how long have you had this tree in this spot? You are saying you've had great figs for previous years? Need to see the foliage and some close ups of the foliage. The underside of the leaves. The buds that will become figs? What plants are nearby? Do your neighbors have figs as well? How are their figs?
    – stormy
    Sep 8, 2016 at 20:34
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    Also, where do you live? Welcome to the site! Sep 8, 2016 at 23:05
  • Fig tree are kind of weird and each have kind of a mood of their own...
    – J. Chomel
    Sep 9, 2016 at 13:49

1 Answer 1


This is caused by fruit souring:

Fruit souring in plants is a very common problem and appears frequently in citrus, figs and grapes. It’s caused by a variety of soil-borne yeasts that gain entry through the skins of ripening fruits, where they feed, resulting in the fruit’s fermentation. Wounds may be so small that they’re difficult to see with the naked eye, but soon water-soaked spots appear and spread across the infected fruit’s surface.

As the yeasts work through affected fruit, they break down the tissues, which become slimy or almost completely liquid and ooze from the skin. Gas bubbles may erupt from broken areas in the fruit’s surface and a white to cream colored layer of mycelium often appears. Affected fruits may change colors, but this color change is heavily dependent on species and variety.

You cannot save fruit once the rot has begun, but you can take steps to prevent it.

  • Avoid letting soil splash up into the plant. Organic mulch will help immensely. Prune off low hanging branches.

  • Avoid damage to ripening fruit. Handle lightly, and control pests that will damage the fruit skin.

  • Thin the fruit to avoid touching/rubbing. (I had fruit souring in my grapes one year - this is not applicable there).

  • Prune the plant if necesary the thin the center and improve circulation.

  • If you see one fruit beginning to sour, remove it and any adjacent fruit. If you just had a recent infection, remove any fruit that shows skin damage.

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