Thursday, May 10, 2012

Fig Tree Update - Fig Mosaic Virus

A couple of months ago, I brought my fig trees indoors to break dormancy early.  I wasn't sure whether there was enough summer here in Vermont for them to bear fruit this year.  Since then, they've grown by leaps and bounds.  My 'Paradiso' fig is already twice as big as it was all summer long last year.  I think my new fertilizer regimen is working. 

My "Black Triana" fig is growing as well.  However, soon after it started to put out new growth, I realized that the central trunk was dead.  It was easy to tell since it had turned light gray.  I removed it and since then the plant has put out several lateral branches at the base, which I'm training to grow upwards. 

I also realized recently why my trees didn't do so well last year.  I'm no fig expert but I think both of my trees have fig mosaic virus, which results in stunted growth, immature fruit drop and leaves that are deformed, have varied pigmentation and brown lesions.

A lot of the leaves look like this...

...and this.

On a brighter note, I did spot a baby fig the other day.  Hopefully it will actually ripen this year.  I guess it's fitting then that the fig cuttings I took in late winter all succumb to mold and never rooted.  Apparently, you should not take cuttings from fig trees that have mosaic virus.

I've read that there is no cure for the virus but if anyone has any advice on how to manage it (if that's possible), do share!   I've been giving my trees aspirin water (to boost their immune system) every few weeks and at the very least, it doesn't seem to hurt.


  1. Oh how sad. I wonder how they picked it up.

    1. Hi Daphne, I've wondered that myself but have a feeling that I'd purchased them this way.

  2. So sorry that you have a sick fig tree. Tomatoes are supposed to get mosaic virus from tobacco, so smoking in the community garden is prohibited. I hope that your fig simply has an iron deficiency that can be easily corrected.