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  • Yellow leaves

    We have had extreme heat and no rain for over a week.
    Most of my trees are doing fine but several are developing yellow leaves. My trees are on irrigation and I’ve also been hand watering.
    I don’t see any pests.
    These trees are in the ground so I don’t suspect drainage issues…plus most of the trees look fine.
    Thoughts?
    Attached Files
    Piney Point Village, Zone 8b
    W/L- Cosme Manyo, Ondata

  • #2
    My guess is nutrient deficiency, Mobile Nutrients: Nitrogen, Magnesium, Sulfur, etc... https://www.ourfigs.com/forum/figs-h...s-in-fig-trees
    Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

    Comment


    • Bellefleurs
      Bellefleurs commented
      Editing a comment
      Pete, I had hoped that you would comment.
      Thank you so much.

    • AscPete
      AscPete commented
      Editing a comment
      Bellefleurs ,
      You're welcome.
      A foliar spray of Epsom Salt; Magnesium & Sulfur (1/2 tsp/gallon) and Water Soluble Nitrogen Fertilizer at 1/2 strength (or a 1/2 strength complete water soluble fertilizer) could be used for a quick diagnosis and recovery...

  • #3
    Looks a lot like what an RdB did last year here. But that was in a 12g grow pot and I think it was heat stress in my case. It came back okay. I hope a few sprays with nutrients does the trick for you.
    Tony; Pickens county, SC zone 7b

    Care for the Earth...there's no place like home

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    • #4
      A lot of mine are showing the same on the lower leaves. I just figured they were getting old😂.
      guess I’ll have to try some float spray this weekends
      Round Rock, TX 8b
      WL: Delicious figs

      Comment


      • Bellefleurs
        Bellefleurs commented
        Editing a comment
        I think that a few of these trees just don’t like this sudden heatwave. I don’t care for it either. We jumped from a freeze to the inferno.
        Tonight I hand watered a bunch and applied the foliar feeding per Pete’s recommendation.
        I also sprinkled skis release fertilizer around the trees that look stressed. It’s supposed to rain on Sunday. That should help.

    • #5
      The lower leaves of my trees have been yellowing and dropping but only 2 or 3 per tree. The top and lateral growth is lush. They did the same last year. The nutrient foliar spray is a great idea. In my situation I think the older leaves have done their part and are naturally dropping off. I would only be alarmed if the same yellowing occurs all over. Please keep in mind all of mine are potted. I hope its nothing major, your trees look well set.
      Forest Hill, Texas: Zone 8a

      No wish list but open to trades and offers

      Comment


      • Bellefleurs
        Bellefleurs commented
        Editing a comment
        Thank you Rudy.
        I’ve never seen yellowing this extensive before so I think it’s most likely due to our recent heatwave/ drought. We have irrigation but probably not enough due to this lack of rain. Getting the sprinklers right is tricky because we have 32 zones. One of my Smith trees dropped all of its leaves. I hope that it rains this Sunday and I pray that this particular tree bounces back.

      • Rudypayraise
        Rudypayraise commented
        Editing a comment
        Oh no all leaves then yes thats something else. Valid point on heatwave. The rain is healing. Im sending positive vibes...

      • Bellefleurs
        Bellefleurs commented
        Editing a comment
        Thank you Rudy!’
        Btw, we were in Dallas last weekend for my son’s graduation and it was HOT. Wow…it’s everywhere and super early. My trees are fruiting super early this time and after only a few inches of new growth.
        I am not sure what’s going on but I did spray with a foliar spray along with some Alaskan Fish fertilizer for good measure.

    • #6
      add a thicker and wider layer of mulch

      Comment


      • #7
        Looks very similar to when I don't water my potted figs enough and they dry out a little. In that case, baby leaves at the growing tips also dry and drop, whereas the older leaves tend to hang on, with the oldest among them yellowing and eventually dropping (prematurely).
        Mark -- living in the CA banana belt, growing bananas, figs, and most any fruit I can fit in my small, crowded yard.
        Wish List: more free time

        Comment


        • Bellefleurs
          Bellefleurs commented
          Editing a comment
          I noticed that the tiniest figs had turned black and were dropping off. Thankfully it rained last night.

        • Dennis Katinas
          Dennis Katinas commented
          Editing a comment
          Exactly, I had the same thing last year in a potted tree, giving it plenty of water and some nutrition even helped the leaves turn back to green, not fully, but good enough.

      • #8
        I think it is from the lack of water and high temperatures. How often and how much have you been watering them? Is this their first year in the ground? How were they fertilized?
        Jennings, Southwest Louisiana, Zone 9a

        Comment


        • Bellefleurs
          Bellefleurs commented
          Editing a comment
          Second year in the ground.
          Fish fertilizer along with seaweed emulsion.
          Also, some sort of organic granular that’s intended for citrus and avocado trees 😬.
          They received a top dressing of compost and mulch last month.
          Quite honestly I didn’t think that I had to fertilize these in ground trees so often. Pots, yes.

      • #9
        These are third year trees. We have irrigation that comes on every day but it just wasn’t enough because we’ve had no rain and it’s super hot.
        Time to increase the irrigation. Complicated though because we have 32 zones and a combination of sprayers, drips and other devices.
        I apply a granular fertilizer along with Alaskan fish plus epsom salt but had only applied it back in April.
        Piney Point Village, Zone 8b
        W/L- Cosme Manyo, Ondata

        Comment


        • Wisner
          Wisner commented
          Editing a comment
          It may be getting excessive water if it is watered daily. It does look to be deficient in Nitrogen.

        • Bellefleurs
          Bellefleurs commented
          Editing a comment
          Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
          I’m applying fertilizer to all the trees.

      • #10
        Originally posted by Bellefleurs View Post
        We have had extreme heat and no rain for over a week.
        Thoughts?
        In my opinion, this is a variety of the Mission family. Mosaic virus spots can be seen on some of the leaves. If you really irrigate the tree with enough water (without chlorine), then you need to import some combined fertilizer with trace elements. Yellowing of the leaves at the bottom of the branches is a symptom of nitrogen deficiency.

        Comment


      • #11
        Oldest leaves yellowing = Nitrogen. This time of year they need Lots!

        not sure if you have recently mulched with fresh vegetation, but Adding fresh uncomposted mulch causes Nitrogen immobilization. Ie: that mulch might actually be stealing Nitrogen from the soil to mineralize its contents into a usable form. Any fresh goods added to soil need mineralization to occur & that requires N. If N isn't available it's being stolen from its nearest source, soil. Try adding N & never add fresh woodchips without time for their processing. Adding N to compost will speed up the process fyi its all about Mineralization. Otherwise you are in the Immobilization process while things decompose.
        wnc Z7a Hominy Valley
        wish list: a world without Invasive Pests

        Comment


        • Bellefleurs
          Bellefleurs commented
          Editing a comment
          Last month I had a compost/ mulch installation.
          You are likely spot on.

      • #12
        Looks to me like an ethylene build up in the yellowing leaves. It is seen in autumn when days get shorter and temps start to cool and also when new leaves shade old leaves to the extent that the old leaves consume more energy than they make. Clearly not your case but let me take a step back and look at the big picture problem because not knowing your fig care history ultimately you are the best person to diagnosis the problem.

        In general ethylene causes a drop in leaf osmatic pressure leading to less respiration from stomate constriction and hardening of the abscission zone at the base of the leaf petiole, which cause a loss of chlorophyl. A diagnostic feature is whole leaf yellowing, in contrast to just margins or around veins, which if continued causes the leaf to turn brown and drop.

        Given the ethylene build up is not being caused by a seasonal or a life cycle events another cause is root damage. Root damage or stress can lead to a production in abscisic acid triggering a rise in leaf ethylene. There can be mechanical, chemical, or biological causes to root stress. Mechanical is typically soil compaction, e.g. some of the bigger riding lawn mowers when run in a repeated pattern circling a tree on wet soils can compact soils. Also flooding that creates a soil anaerobic condition can damage roots. A soil probe that can pull a soil core from about 18 inches deep and a rotten egg stink in the core sample would be diagnostic of anerobic conditions.

        Chemical root damage could be caused by accidental spillage of swimming pool chemicals or flushing pool water around the trees. Biological root damage could be fungal (not likely, young figs are pretty resistant to most decaying root fungi), but gently scrape away some of the mulch near the tree trunk until you can see some roots and look for signs of necrosis or black rotting. A white fungus in the mulch is not a problem it is a group of fungi that decay dead cellulose and lignin in mulch.

        Another biological factor leading to root stress are root knot nematodes. If you are on sandy soil you likely have some level of root knot nematodes in your figs. I think I read on Ray Givan’s archived web pages on the Figs4Fun site that he thinks different varieties resist nematodes better that others and typically they are only a problem with trees that are weakened from another factor. At any rate the grass around your trees can be beneficial in the control or root nematodes as their roots respond to a burrowing nematode by growing cells that effectively entomb them.

        Let me add some specificity to the diagnostic question by considering a possible soil in your neighborhood. Looking up the Soil Series at the intersection of Quail Hollow Lane and Piney Point Road in the UC Davis Soil Web app (https://casoilresource.lawr.ucdavis.edu/soilweb-apps/. I’ll give a brief intro to the use of the app in another post.), I find it is the Gessner Soil Series. Pertinent soil data are, for most of the soil profile, 0 – 80 inches, sand is about 40%, loam 50%, and clay 10%, enough sand to suspect nematodes. In the top 18 inches the soil is acid, a pH of 6, and below that slightly basic at a pH of 8. The cation exchange capacity, a general measure of soil fertility is low at 5 – 8 units, as is the level of calcium carbonate.

        Quite significant is the Gessner soil typically has a perched water table at 18 inches depth from November to May or June and is anaerobic at depths below 18 inches. This likely reenforces the shallow rooted tendency of fig roots forcing them to grow in the upper soil profile where the soil is acidic. But there may be an ebb-flow tendency to grow deeper in dry spells and then die back in the winter as precipitation fills the soil profile.

        Putting all this together I suspect that this is a multifactor problem. First the rapid change from cold spring weather to hot spring weather (and above average wind here) placed an increased demand for moisture on roots that had not fully grown down to their normal summer depth. You may have inadvertently over watered when you saw some early wilting to compensate for the hot conditions stressing the roots trying to grow at the interface of the perched water table. If your soil is a Gessner soil, it would be a naturally tricky balance between too little and too much water as the season progressed particularly in a year like this one. The foliar fertilizer regime AscPete suggested is likely sound given the general soil nutrient picture above but be aware that if this is what is playing out foliar sprays can increase the osmotic gradient on the leaf surface exacerbating the initial ethylene problem. If so, best wait till you are certain the water supply-demand relations between the soil, plant, and weather are under control and then apply the fertilizer. Also, to safeguard against nematodes on the Gessner soil I would keep a healthy grass cover around the fig trees and mulch as you are currently.

        I suspect that figs being the naturally tough plants they are, yours will recover and grow healthy as the season moves on. But hopefully this will give you some added insight into your fig cultivation.

        Gary, Fort Worth, Tx Zone 8a

        Comment


        • Bellefleurs
          Bellefleurs commented
          Editing a comment
          Wow!
          Thank you for your thoughtful analysis.
          One thing that is going for these trees is that they are planted on a slope so they get good drainage. Much of the soil was imported prior to construction so the composition might not be typical. What’s surprising is that this yellowing is not universal but is limited to just a few trees (thank goodness). I do believe that stress is a factor and we did receive some much needed rain last night. The trees appear happier today as we are enjoying cooler temperatures as well.

      • #13
        Just a thought. Is your irrigation system running hot water into your plants?

        Comment


        • Bellefleurs
          Bellefleurs commented
          Editing a comment
          I don’t know.
          What I have noticed is that whenever I water with the hose I have to wait a while until that water cooks off.

        • Citicodays
          Citicodays commented
          Editing a comment
          It seems wise to irrigate in the morning only in the summer. Those lines get super hot by mid morning. What time of day are you set to run?

        • Bellefleurs
          Bellefleurs commented
          Editing a comment
          They run before 8am
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