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Fig Rust

Q: What is wrong with my plant? The plant produces beautiful fruit, but the leaves are spotted.

A: After looking at your leaves I determined the cause was fig rust, which is a fungus. The disease is first evident as small, angular, yellow-green flecks on the leaf. The spots do not become extremely large but do become more yellow and finally a yellowish-brown. The margin of the spot is reddish in color. On the upper surface the spots are smooth, while on the lower surface the spots appear as small blisters. Brown spores are released from the blisters at maturity. As infection continues, the leaves become more yellow, and finally they begin to die around the leaf margins. Eventually death and defoliation occur. Complete defoliation can occur in two or three weeks. Fig rust generally becomes a problem as the fruit reaches maturity. Therefore, fungicide applications should be started in the early spring when the first leaves are completely grown. Make additional applications as new growth is formed. Do not spray when the fruit is one-fourth inch in diameter as the spray residue will make the fruit unattractive. Resume spraying after the fruit has been harvested. As always, follow the directions on the pesticide label.