Fruit farming

Understanding and Treating Yellow Leaves on Fig Trees

In this article

Yellow leaves on fig trees

Yellow leaves on fig trees can be concerning for any gardener. Fig trees are prized for their delicious fig fruits, so keeping these plants healthy is important.

This article will explore the most common causes of yellow leaves affecting fig trees and provide natural solutions to restore vigor to afflicted trees. We’ll first cover the typical signs of chlorosis that prompt many to inspect their fig trees.

Then we will dive into potential culprits like nutrient deficiencies, pests, and water issues known to drain the green from leaves. With an understanding of diagnosis and remedies, readers can prevent and treat yellow leaves on fig trees effectively.

Signs and Symptoms

Homeowners first notice something may be wrong when leaves on their fig tree begin changing color earlier than usual. Chlorosis, or the yellowing of leaves, can manifest in a few key ways:

Leaf Color Changes

The most obvious sign is leaves turning a pale yellow or light green while the veins remain a dark green. This displays the lack of chlorophyll production within the leaf tissue.

Progression Pattern

Older, lower leaves closest to the soil are typically the first affected. The yellowing or whitening then creeps upward toward new growth if left unaddressed.

Associated Issues

In severe cases where the tree is highly stressed, other issues may develop, like leaf drooping or wilting, stunted growth, and premature defoliation. These extra problems make identifying and solving the root cause very important.

Common Causes of Yellow Leaves

Nutrient Deficiencies

Much like any other plant, fig trees require certain nutrients found in the soil to carry out essential processes like photosynthesis.

The green pigment chlorophyll heavily relies on adequate amounts of nitrogen, magnesium and iron present in the soil solution accessible to the tree’s root system.

A lack of any one of these key minerals prevents chlorophyll production, resulting in the telltale yellowing of leaves. Other macro- and micronutrients play roles as well, so an unbalanced soil environment can indirectly induce deficiencies.

Watering Issues

Proper hydration represents another vital factor for fig tree well-being. Too much or too little water causes similar symptoms due to the resultant stress on root health and function.

Overly saturated soil inhibits roots from receiving oxygen and uplifting water. Prolonged drought impairs the ability to passively uptake nutrients and water as needed. Both extremes result in struggling, chlorotic leaves.

Pests and Diseases

Various sucking insects and pathogens commonly plague fig trees. Aphids, scale insects, and mites puncture leaf cells to consume sap while also transmitting viruses.

Their feeding activity, coupled with pathogen toxins, disturbs chlorophyll production. Leaf spot and other fungal diseases develop when moisture and conditions are favorable on leaves, ultimately causing them to yellow, brown, and drop prematurely.

Related: Desert King Fig Tree: A Fig Variety Built for Arid Environments

Diagnosing the Specific Issue in Your Tree

Visual Inspection

Examining affected leaves up close can provide clues to the underlying issue. Nutrient deficiencies typically display interveinal chlorosis, where tissue between veins loses its green color.

Pest damage tends to look more scattered with potential webbing, dots, or other indications of infestation visible. Overall, plant health should also be considered.

Soil Testing

Checking the pH, nutrient levels, and composition of the topsoil offers insight into potential deficiencies. Common backyard tests assess nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and pH.

For micros, like iron, a lab analysis gives accurate readings. Soil texture and drainage properties further influence availability of what’s present.

Foliar Examination

Using a magnifying glass or microscope, carefully inspect both leaf surfaces and any structures. Signs of pests like sap-sucking insects, mites, or egg masses become visible.

Powdery spores or fruiting bodies of fungal diseases may also appear. This type of up-close analysis aids identification.

Neighboring Plants

Noting if other species in the immediate area demonstrate similar yellow foliage symptoms can strengthen conclusions.

Shared issues like deficient soil or an especially virulent pathogen become more likely explanatory factors. Isolated problems point more to tree-specific causes.

Remedies for Common Yellow Leaf Issues in Fig Trees

With the specific causal agent determined, focused solutions become possible. Both organic and synthetic options exist, depending on the diagnosis and grower preferences.

Soil Amendments

For nutritional deficiencies, incorporate organic matter like compost or manure to slowly release nutrients back to deficient trees over time. Granular or liquid specialty fertilizers also effectively remedy missing macro- and micronutrients.

Watering Adjustments

Improving drainage in soggy spots helps allow oxygen intake by roots. Careful monitoring prevents both over-watering and drought stress.

Deep watering during shortages or extreme heat compensates without saturating the entire root zone.

Pest Controls

When pests like aphids, scales or mites are involved, spraying diluted Dr. Bronner’s soap, neem oil, or insecticidal soap disrupts their cell structure.

Horticultural oils suffocate overwintering eggs. Systemic pellets handle sucking insects and lace bugs for weeks.

Fungicide Remedies

Captan or copper fungicides protect against common leaf pathogens if the weather remains damp. Good air circulation and pruning also stop conditions favoring disease.

Young Tree Care

Mulching heavily planted fig trees retains soil moisture and nutrients vital for new growth recovery when deficiency or stress caused yellowing. Staking lends stability.


Following some best practices can help avoid yellow leaf problems due to fig tree yellow leaves arising every season.

Maintain Soil Quality

Add compost or organic matter annually to replenish nutrients and encourage microbial activity, which is crucial for nutrient availability. Test pH levels biannually to ensure balanced soil conditions.

Fertilize Appropriately

Granular 10-10-10 fertilizer applied in spring and fall supplies a balanced set of nutrients to sustain growth without being excessive. Mulch around the base to conserve water and nutrients.

Inspect Regularly for Pests

Scout leaves and branches weekly during growing seasons for signs of common invaders. Identifying issues early allows stopping small problems before they spread.

Improve Drainage

On soggy sites, raise planting beds or incorporate gravel to allow water to percolate through quickly instead of saturating the root zone.

Choose Spots with Airflow

Locate trees in areas with some wind and air movement to dry foliage more rapidly after rainfall. Good circulation reduces disease pressure.

Consider Variety Needs

While some yellowing occurs naturally for certain dwarf figs in fall, choosing varieties known to thrive in the local climate helps maximize their health.


With the correct identification of the cause and application of natural remedies, fig trees experiencing chlorosis and yellow leaves due to issues like fig tree yellow leaves commonly rebound to full health within a single growing season.

The key takes diligent monitoring for signs of issues paired with preventative soil nurturing, balanced fertilization, and integrated pest management practices customized for each location and variety.

Adopting these best practices sustains productivity for the long lifespan figs are capable of when thriving. While learning about occasional causes for chlorosis creates awareness, the take-home reminds that fig trees readily respond when properly diagnosed and treated.

With some extra TLC directed at the root zone and foliage, your tree’s leaves should remain vibrant shades of green, fueling delicious yearly crops of figs for many seasons ahead.

Leave a Reply