Fig tree issue

Admittedly, this is only tangentially related to food, but I know many of you are gardeners too (and wouldn't a gardening/farming hotline be awesome?). Anyway, some of the leaves on my young fig tree are turning brown in spots. A quick search on the Interwebs has me paranoid that my tree will die if I don't spray with fungicide or copper (?). Have any of you had experience with this? Will my growing figlets be inedible if I spray?

  • Posted by: Midge
  • July 6, 2012


BoulderGalinTokyo July 10, 2012
Before you start spraying, look at the base of the tree and see if there is any orange 'bark-flakes'. That would be a bug inside eating the wood. It will also happen on a single branch. Our fig had a single branch start will spots then all leaves fell off, we cut it off to the main trunk, and there was a bug inside the branch as large as my pinkie. But did lose an organic rose I loved to disease, sprayed in the end but too late to save it. Good luck.
mainecook61 July 7, 2012
There is a middle course between spray and no-spray, particularly when a fungus or insect is about to destroy a crop. The best place to consult is the Organic Materials Review Institute (, which will tell you what is safe to use and what is not. Organic gardeners like me look for the OMRI label on fungicides and insecticides. It goes without saying that even an approved product is used sparingly.
Midge July 7, 2012
Thanks so much everyone!

Voted the Best Reply!

chefsusie July 6, 2012
This is where taking in a sample of the leaves to a local nursery would give you immense help. Also your county agricultural extension is a wealth of knowledge. Check them out! They will have help that addresses your climate, etc. Good luck!
Rachel G. July 6, 2012
Enjoying reading this question also... Just planted a fig tree!
allans July 6, 2012
More information is needed to completely answer your question. I'll tell you what I know first, then tell you what I need to know.
What I know:
I avoid using any type of sprays on food products. I just never do it. Companies will always tell you how safe something is, but the point of growing your own is often times to eliminate the risks associated with chemical products. You can't fully trust chemical companies or even the USDA and FDA for that matter, companies give too much money in exchange for influence. It's just a fact of life. (read Marion Nestle's "Food Politics" to learn more).
That said, fungal and disease issues are extremely difficult to manage after they make an appearance. Preventive treatment before signs of infection is the only way to control/manage outbreaks. Your best option at this point would be to remove spotted leaves, avoid getting the foliage wet, and prevent the plant from obvious stress (excessive drying out, plenty of available nutrients, etc) be certain it receives plenty of light and maintains consistent soil moisture.
I'm guessing that the fruit will be fine to eat (obvious if it's not).
Now what would be helpful to know:
What is the fig variety or cultivar.
Is it in a pot or the ground.
Where are you and the plant located.
How long have you had it
How big is it
What exactly do the spots look like - all one color, symmetrical, dark center radiating lighter
All this information is helpful to make an accurate diagnosis
pierino July 6, 2012
I have a healthy fig tree outside my front door. Are you sure the spots are caused by fungus and not some climate issue? Figs are very sensitive to location. You might ask at a nursery about eco-friendly treatments.
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