Garden - fig tree in distress

Asked August 30, 2016, 10:54 AM EDT

Fig tree doing well until recently. The problem is at the ends of branches -- new growth is stunted, leaves are curled and yellow, and the stems have long lumpy whitish things that eventually turn brown. On the part of the branch below the "damaged" area is this webby stuff. There are no bugs that I can see but something tells me they are the problem.

Anne Arundel County Maryland

3 Responses

The burned look area on some of the leaf edges is likely from leaf hoppers. This is called 'hopper burn' and is not concerning.
The 'webby stuff' not concerning and is left over from the brief visit of another insect.

Our fruit and vegetable specialist looked at your photos. We are not sure what your first and second photo show, but wonder about pic 2 showing damage done then healed over by insect feeding or inserting eggs into the stem. The curling you mention he says they just do sometimes.

If all the concerns are at the very ends of the branches and the leaves continue to look of good color and are turgid (hydrated), we don't think you have a serious problem.

Our entomologist is out, but we will share the photos and get back to you if we have any more information for you.


Thanks for the quick reply. What concerns me is the damage on the stems (see picture 1). The branches with that damage produce curly leaves, which never open fully, then they turn yellow and there's no new growth. Eventually other leaves turn yellow as well. Branches without that damage look healthy (see picture 2). At first only one or two branches were affected, but many more are affected now.

We really cannot for sure what you are dealing with. The scarring on the stem looks like a type of injury possibly from earlier stem damage by an insect. There is nothing to do other than prune below the damaged section of the stem.