Are your fig tree leaves turning yellow? If yes, don’t panic just yet! This article will help you out in understanding the reasons why this happens and suggest the most appropriate solutions to combat this problem.
Continue reading to know how to save your fig tree!
An Overview of the Fig Tree
Nowadays, you can find fig trees all around the globe, provided that winters are not too long or harsh. However, the plant is native to the Mediterranean area. This hardy tree can quickly propagate and has a high pest resistance ability.
It’s not wrong to say that this plant is one of the favorite houseplants for anyone who has a garden, as it is relatively easy to keep. Besides, the delicious edible fruit of Ficus carica — the scientific name of the fig tree — makes this flowering plant more popular.
The deeply-lobed, elegant leaves give fig trees a perfect ornamental look. However, you should know that the leaves are a litmus paper for the health of the entire tree. But wait, do you know what a healthy fig tree looks like? If not, let’s have a quick look.
A healthy fig plant grows to 35 to 39 feet with a trunk that is usually 7-8 inches in diameter. Yet, the size varies from type to type. Usually, they bloom twice a year, but sometimes they give fruits only once a year.
The tree leaves vary in size, shape, texture and color. Mostly they have a pickle green color with elegant purple shades.
Why Are Your Fig Tree Leaves Turning Yellow?
There can be several reasons for fig plant leaves yellowing. The most prominent are:
- Stress due to inadequate or excess water supply
- Deficiency of nutrients
- Severe pest attacks
- Transplant shock
Let’s take a look at each of these problems, to see how they come to be and how you can troubleshoot the issue.
– Excess or Too Little Water
Water is usually the primary reason for the fig leaves yellowing. Excessive water and dehydration both can cause trouble for your tree’s health. An inappropriate water supply develops stress conditions in the plant, which interrupts its normal functioning. If you spot yellow leaves on fig tree, chances are the issue has something to do with water.
Don’t forget, gardeners, that the fig tree is a Mediterranean land plant and adapts to a warm and dry environment. Are you wondering how you can irrigate your fig tree? Don’t worry, here we explained everything you need to know about watering it correctly.
– How Much Water Does Your Fig Tree Need To Prevent the Yellowing of Leaves?
As it is native to dry environments, the fig plant possesses deep and sturdy roots systems to absorb groundwater. Thus, you don’t need to give them plenty of water. The proportion of water to prevent your fig leaves from yellowing depends on the tree size and environmental conditions like temperature, rainfall, etc.
If the temperature is dry and hot (during summers), you need to water it once a week. Usually, 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week is enough for your plant health.
– How To Figure Out if Your Fig Tree Needs a Drink
Here’s a pro tip for performing a water check: Dig your fingers into the soil and check whether the upper soil is dry or not. If the soil feels arid, it means that it’s time to irrigate your tree. It is recommended to feel your tree soil every time before watering the plant.
Note: Fig plants grown in pots need water more frequently than those growing outdoors. In fact, in containers the plant roots cannot grow, and no extra groundwater is available to them.
– Nutrient Deficiency
To be sure, fig trees rarely face nutrient deficiency issues, as they have the ability to grow even on relatively unfertile soils. Still, like any other plant, this tree also relies on some specific micro and macronutrients for normal growth and functioning.
Research conducted on the deficiency of nutrients shows that an improper supply of nutrients results in the fig leaves yellowing.
– Do You Know Which Nutrients Are Essential to Your Fig Tree?
Fig trees need potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus to grow at their full potential. These substances act like building blocks for the trunk, leaves, roots and the delicious fruits of this plant.
They stimulate plant metabolism and the synthesis of vital components. Here is an overview of the role of these components, whose absence can cause the yellowing of leaves in fig trees.
The robust and active root system of the plant is maintained through the absorption of potassium. Potassium deficiency causes the fig leaves to appear rust-colored or yellow.
Overall, the lack of potassium can cause the shrinkage of your fig tree roots and hinder fruit development. Sometimes, the prolonged shortage of potassium can also stunt the tree’s growth.
Nitrogen is an essential component for every plant, including the fig tree, as it provides raw material for making proteins. A lack of nitrogen decreases the synthesis of chloroplast and chlorophyll (the green pigment in plants).
Therefore, the whole plant attains a pale yellow color. Ultimately, the leaves dry out and turn to brownish-yellow. If the deficiency is not combated, it can prevent blooming, cause stunted growth, or even lead to the plant’s death.
If your fig tree leaves turn to dark bluish-green color, it is an indication that it is suffering from phosphorus deficiency. If the scarcity is not treated, your plant leaves will turn pale yellow.
However, know that in the first phase the leaves look healthy, just much smaller in size. If you suspect your plant is suffering from a lack of phosphorus, check for this symptom.
– Pest Attacks
Just like you found fig plants delicious, pests and bugs also love their sweet plant fruits and tree sap. So, if your fig plant health is down and the leaves show yellow discoloration, this may be due to a pest attack.
Yes, it is an alarming situation for your plant, and if not treated, it can lead your tree to poor development and even death. To prevent this unfortunate outcome, here is a useful list of fig tree-loving pests that can be a problem for you: If you know them, you know how to fight them!
- Fig scale
- Pacific spider mite and two-spotted spider mite
- Navel orangeworm
- Nematodes (microscopic roundworms)
- Ground, fruit, fig, and Sap Beetles
- Carpenter worm
- Aspergillus niger (a fungus)
In the next section, find out how you can get rid of these annoying parasites.
– Use of Fumigants
Among all pests, root-knot nematodes can most easily cultivate in the roots of fig trees. Once your plant roots get infested with nematodes, the latter start stealing the tree’s nutrients. Gradually, the nutrients available to your fig start downing, which becomes the reason for fig leaves turning yellow.
Unluckily, this is the worst-case scenario. In case of an attack by nematodes, all that you can do is eradicate the fig tree. After that, you can fumigate the soil before planting your new fig tree to prevent future infestations. It would also be a good measure to fertilize the soil to stimulate the growth of the young tree.
Wait, be careful! Don’t think about using fumigants on your already existing fig plant: They will kill it anyway.
– Use of Pesticides
Sometimes, worms like the carpenter worm lay their eggs in the trunk of fig plants. When the eggs of such worms hatch, the larvae penetrate the trunk. These larvae are cream-colored with a brown head and can grow approximately 2 inches long.
After digging into the cambium layer of the fig plant, they start feeding on plant sap. These active settlements are found by the sap and sawdust protruding out from their burrows. A pesticide “Steinernema feltiae” can control larvae infestations.
– Use of Insecticides
Spraying insecticides helps to combat and prevent fig trees from bugs like beetles, mites, and spiders. These bugs attack fig plant leaves and fruits and destroy them. Some of these bugs are infected with Aspergillus niger, which spreads fungal infection to fruits and leaves. Early harvesting of ripe fruits can save your fig plant from bug’s attraction.
– Transplant Shock
Have you transplanted your fig plant from a container or nursery to the fresh soil of your yard, and now its leaves are turning yellow? Well, it’s usual and called transplant shock. Just like the majority of organisms, the change in the environment also induces fluctuations in fig plants.
It is impossible to prevent plants from transplanting shock. Typically, the shock condition lasts for a few days until the plant adapts to the new place. After this period, the fig plant starts developing new green leaves, and the loss of leaves will be compensated.
How To Combat Nutrient Deficiency To Prevent Yellow Fig Leaves
Now, you may be thinking about how you can deal with these deficiencies to save your fig plant life. It’s a worthy question, and the answer is fairly simple: After detecting nutrient insufficiency, it’s time to fill it up. Thanks to fertilizers, you can combat this problem.
After fertilizing your fig tree soil with the appropriate supplement, try to avoid growing new plants in the same soil for at least two to three weeks. This will allow your already existing plant to absorb all the nutrients properly.
Moreover, if your soil is not so fertile, you must keep adding organic and sometimes inorganic mulches to keep it suitable for your fig tree.
Note: The use of fertilizers will not turn your yellow leaves to green. You need to wait for the old and discolored leaves to fall before the healthy new green leaves can replace them. At which point, you’ll get a green plant again.
After reading this article, you know why your fig leaves are turning yellow. Also, as a plus point, we have added the necessary precautions and solutions to deal with the fig tree’s major problems.
It is recommended to keep all possibilities in mind and find out the reason for yellow leaves carefully. After correct determination, you’ll be able to take care of your tree appropriately.
However, always take prevention as your priority in the case of a fig tree. So, gardeners, it’s time to grow healthy fig trees!
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