Fig trees are hardy to USDA zones 6 to 9 and reside quite happily in these regions with few serious disease issues. Few does not mean none, however, and one disease that plagues the tree is called fig thread blight or leaf blight of figs. Learn how to spot the symptoms of figs with leaf blight and about fig leaf blight control.
What is Fig Thread Blight?
Fig trees (Ficus carica) are deciduous shrubs to small trees, native to the Mediterranean where they enjoy the warm temperatures of the region. When these warm temperatures collide with damp conditions, trees may become susceptible to leaf blight of figs.
Leaf blight of figs, sometimes referred to as thread blight, is caused by the fungi Pellicularia kolerga. It is fostered by hot, damp weather.
Fig thread blight first appears as yellow, water-soaked lesions on the foliage of the plant. As the disease progresses, the underside of the leaves turn tan to light brown in color and is covered in a light, fungal webbing, while the surface of the foliage becomes covered with a thin, silvery-white mass of fungal spores. Further into the infection, the leaves shrivel, die, and drop from the tree. Often, the affected dead leaves seem to be matted together.
While the most obvious damage is to the foliage of the plant, the fruit may also become affected by the fungus, especially if the fruit is newly formed and at the end of an infected leaf or stem tip.
Fig Leaf Blight Control
Figs with leaf blight do not respond to the use of fungicides. The only method of control is proper sanitation which will not eradicate the disease, but rather control it and reduce losses. Rake up and destroy any fallen leaves to keep the infection from spreading.