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Plant Diseases/bark falling off fig tree


fig tree
fig tree  

sick fig tree
sick fig tree  
Hi Ms Johnston,
my fig orchard was planted from 2011 to 2013.Lebanon 400 M above sea. Fig trees very common here. This winter to 8 deg. C. minimum.
I just discovered one of the trees losing its bark in separate sections (pic attached). no suspicion of mechanical trauma. Have to admit that we have poor drainage, but not particularly around this tree . So far I could not see other trees affected.

Dear Tony, Without mechanical trauma happening to your tree, there are only two real possibilities that could have caused this damage.  The first would be borers, although generally borer larvae would be more active during the spring, and in that case, you would usually have some small holes that have dripped sap downwards.  For borers you could use borer spray or Spinosad (an active organic ingredient) and spray the trunk.  However, I really am inclined to believe that you may have some wild animal in the area that has caused this damage.  My first guess would be a large cat such as a panther, but other animals -bears, badgers, or large weasels could have done the damage.  It is significant that there is only one tree affected.  This would be very possible in an animal marking his territory or sharpening his claws.  The second photo, on the lower right side, is interesting because of the damage right around the branch.  I am pretty certain that a large animal did this damage- probably a carnivore with claws, and it may have done a bit of chewing on the tree.  It is most likely nocturnal, which is why you haven't seen it.  The best thing to do is cut away the damaged area and trim the bark around the wounds.  You probably won't need any pruning paint, as figs are extremely good at self-healing because of the milky sap.  The damage may happen again because the animal is likely to be in the area, but it might not come back.  I hope this information helps, but if you do find that an animal has done this damage, or if you find that something else caused this damage, please let me know.  Thank you very much for your interesting question and I hope this information helps.  Please write back if I may be of further assistance.  Melissa

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Melissa Johnston


Plant diseases, landscaping, tropical plants, roses, herbs, plant care, grafting, horticulture, plant identification, anything about plants I can likely answer.


35 years experience in various plant businesses, 1984 Certified Texas Master Gardener.

Master Gardener Association of Texas charter member

none as of yet, but I have a plant q&a book I am in process of submitting.

Magna cum laude graduate of Texas A&M, 1978

Awards and Honors
Plant growing awards, highest grade for Texas Master Gardener graduates.

Past/Present Clients
Past member of and was very highly rated. Owned landscape company in the past, Almost Paradise, and was very successful despite little equipment, no help, and no advertising. Lived well for two years until 9/11.

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