Figs, figs, everywhere!


I will try direct rooting of the cuttings. My sister said it is too hot now for air layering, have to wait until spring.

Approximately how long and how thick the cutting should be? Also should I take off all the leaves, except for one or two? When I put the cuttings from trimming the branches in the soil they dried up. Thank you for helping, it will be fun to see if it works in my hot summer, if not I will try again when it gets cooler.


Fig Bud Mite vs Fig Leaf Mite

Both of these are tiny gall mites, about 40nm wide and 400nm long. They are very hardy. Neem oil will not control them. The only pesticide registered to kill gall mites on fruit trees in the U.S. that I’m aware of is Carbaryl; e.g., the active ingredient in Sevin.

The fig bud mite does not cause galls on leaves nor venture onto leaves. It can be responsible for nodal swelling and aborted tiny leaves. The fig bud mite is a species of Aceria – whose species appear to have co-evolved in southwestern Asia with species of the plant mosaic viruses, Emaravirus. As such it is a carrier of the fig mosaic virus. Symptoms of fig mosaic virus are typically only noticed when plants are under stress or suffering from a deficiency of electrolyte minerals.

In contrast, when present the fig leaf mite can and often does cause galls on fig leaves. This damage can be easily confused with fungal and bacterial spot diseases – and vis a vis. The fig leaf mite is a member of the genus Rhyncaphytoptus and does not harbor fig mosaic virus.


Aceria ficus goes under several different names: fig bud mite, fig rust mite, and fig blister mite. They have been documented to cause a wide range of symptoms including: chlorotic mottling on leaves, bud blast and leaf drop, interior fruit discoloration, fruit drop, leaf distortion, and bronzing.

Rhyncaphytoptus ficifoliae is only known as the fig leaf mite as far as I know. They are not documented to spread FMV, but I’ve never seen that tested, and they feed in a similar manner (and co-evolved with figs and FMV). They however do not cause the chlorotic mottling because they do not feed on young leaves/buds. They are not known to cause galls either. So while it takes specialized training to visually differentiate the two species the presence of symptoms indicates fig bud mites.

This study from Acarologia documents the movement of both species throughout the year on young and old leaves.

Populations of P ubiquitus began to increase on leaves from July reached a peak in early November 1989 and 1990, with 4 and 22 individuals per leaf, respectively. A positive relationship was noted between the incidence of the two eriophyoid
mites and P. ubiquitus on the same leaves, while the reverse was the case with the two-spotted spider mite (Table 4). In June and July 1991, when the percentage of leaves infested with A. ficus and R. ficifoliae reached its maximum; this was followed
by an increase in the percentage of the leaves harbouring the predator during July. A gradual decrease in the percentage of the infested leaves followed. T urticae reached its maximum in late May and during June. An almost negative relationship was noted between the incidence of leaves infestation with T urticae and P. ubiquitus on the
same levels (Table 4). Such a distribution suggests that it would be possible for the predator to achieve control of the eriophyoid pests. The data are in accordance with those reported by BAKER (1939) and ABDEL-KHALEK (1993).

There are several miticides labelled for eriophyid mites… Forbid 4f/Oberon 2 SC/Judo, Avid, Akari, Pylon, Kontos among others. As opposed to carbaryl and other broad spectrum pesticides they are safer for beneficials which may help finish the job so to speak.

FMV is poorly understood, mainly due to the insidious nature of the fig bud mite and a failure to identify and differentiate symptoms. It is caused by a virus, not stress, or nutrient deficiencies. Perfectly happy (infected) trees still show symptoms regardless, I have observed this for over a decade on some trees growing in ideal soils, while rootbound/stressed/underfertilized trees remain asymtomatic unless they had a history of infection. The hypothesis that FMV symptoms are tied to nutrient deficiencies is simply a myth, with no scientific evidence whatsoever. Sellers who use forums promote the idea to alter new grower perception and shield themselves from liability, while ignoring best practices to not propagate from symptomatic growths.

Vigorous growth does indeed reduce symptoms, most likely due to the rate of virus replication not being tied to the rate of plant cellular division… Because FMV is not systemic each cellular division (growth) cuts the virus count in half, if division happens again before virus replication reaches previous levels the level of virus in new cells is reduced. Propagating from asymtomatic growths generally produces asymtomatic plants, I’ve personally accomplished this several times.


I agree there are several miticides labelled for eriophyid mites. Now narrow it to fig gall mites.

Due to the definition of co-evolve, I do not agree that Rhyncaphytoptus ficifoliae co-evolved with FMV.

Aceria ficus could be present on a leaf during migration (e.g., after hitchhiking a ride) but do not forage or reside there. This phenomena is often cited, and is cited in a paper you shared with me. Leaf damage by Aceria ficus occurs within the leaf bud and the plant typically aborts them before or during sprouting.


Neither cause galls Richard. There is no mention of wayward migration, eggs are laid on leaves.

The highest A. ficus population in buds occurred in late June, with 322 and 330 individuals per bud in two successive seasons (1989-1991 ), when temperature and relative humidity averaged 26.0° C, 59.7° C and 27.3, 51.9, respectively. In late July, the population suddenly decreased to 2.4 and 27.6 individuals per bud throughout the same seasons. The numbers of this mite varied greatly during fall and winter seasons. On leaves, the population density increased rapidly and peaked in late June and July during the two years, being 69 and 60 individuals per square inch of leaf when temperature and relative humidity averaged 26°C, 59.7°C and 27.6, 57, respectively. In early September and October, the population reached its minimum being 1.1 and 6.2 individuals per square inch of leaf during the two successive seasons. The population was positively correlated with prevailing temperature for two successive seasons, while no significant correlation was noted with the relative humidity (Table 1). The data obtained are in agreement with those reported by EL-BANHAWY (1973). During winter, all stages of the fig bud mite were present in and around buds. As soon as the new fig leaves appeared, usually in May, the mites were numerous and occurred in large numbers at the bases of new flower bud and among bud scales. The mites moved to the stems, young leaves and under apical fruit scales, and began laying eggs among lower leaf surface hairs in early June. The behavioural findings are in general agreement with those obtained by WHITEHEAD et al. (1978) for the grape bud and erineum mite, Eriophyes vitis (Pagst.), in the western Cape of South Africa.


Rooting cuttings at this time of the year with green wood on a cutting about 12” or larger remove all leave but one or two, place the cutting on soil and watered then place the pot on a shady place away of direct sun light.

As for airlayers! In my opinion the hotter the better. Fill up a ziplock bag with moist soil and sealed then choose the branch where you want to do the airlayer. Scrape the bark till see the cambium, applying rooting hormone (optional) where you scrape the bark , then make a cut on one side of the ziplock bag place the ziplock bag around the branch where you scrape the bark, fold the bag around the branch marking sure the scraped part its covered with soil and the ziplock bag then place sealed with tape, once it’s properly sealed then covered with aluminum foil to protected from sunlight. It should be ready in about six weeks.


I’m not sure why you are telling me this.


To expand on @Ruben’s post, cuttings drying out before rooting is one of the more common problems faced. There are a few ways around this, either protect the cutting directly or change it’s environment. To protect each cutting, you could wrap the above ground portion with parafilm grafting tape (leave a small gap between rooting medium and tape to prevent rotting). I would also remove all leaves or just leave one that’s cut in half. The cutting will produce more with stored energy. You can also put a humidity dome over the cutting to keep it moist, but I’ve had problems adjusting the new plant to a less humid environment when it outgrows the dome.
I’ve heard some people put the cuttings in a pot exposed to full sun, others in part shade, or full shade. I’ve gone with part shade.
Rooting in the winter it is important to control moisture, but in the summer I just put it on the drip irrigation and forget about it.


It is really hot and dry where I am in summer. My automatic timer only turns on the drip irrigation four times a day. If we are at home , we will manually do one more time in the evening. That barely keeps the young trees from losing leaves from the heat. The plums will drop some fruits on hot days. I will try rooting when it gets a little cooler. We won’t be home to take care of them regularly. The Zinfandel cuttings I put in ground in April right at the drip points leafed out, but stopped growing when the weather got hot. I accidentally cut a long branch, and was curious if they will survive the summer heat. They are still about the same size. Thanks a lot for your help.


Here is a summary of EPA-labeled products containing spiromesifen and their relation to figs and eriophyid mites.

Labeled Spiromesifen hazards:
“Harmful if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through skin. Avoid contact with skin, eyes, or clothing.”
“This product is harmful to fish and aquatic wildlife.”

Bayer Forbid 4F - Spiromesifen 45.2%
“Do not use on vegetable gardens.”
“Do not use on plants intended for feed or forage.”
“Not for use in commercial greenhouses or nurseries, or on fruit or nut trees.”
“Do not apply FORBID 4F more than 3 times per season.”
Labeled pests controlled include “Rust and blister mites (family Eriophyidae)”.

Bayer Oberon 2 SC - Spiromesifen 21.3%
“Maximum number of applications per crop season: 3”.
Labeled for “Fruiting Vegetables”, “Cucurbit Vegetables”, and “Low Growing Berry” (incl. Strawberry).
Labeled Eriophyids controlled: “Tomato russet mite”.
“Pre-harvest Interval (PHI): 1 day.” (Tomatoes).

Bayer Oberon 4 SC - Spiromesifen 45.2%
Not labeled for fruit.
Labeled Eriophyids controlled: none.
“Maximum number of applications per crop season: 2”.

Bayer Savate - Spiromesifen 45.2%
“Do not apply Savate more than three times per season.”
“Do not apply through irrigation systems.”
“Do not use on vegetable gardens.”
“Do not use on plants intended for feed or forage.”
“Do not use on bearing fruit or nut trees”.
Labeled pests controlled include “Rust and blister mites (family Eriophyidae)”.

OHP Judo - Spiromesifen 45.2%
“Do not apply JUDO more than four times per season.”
“Do not apply through irrigation systems.”
“Do not use on vegetable gardens.”
“Do not use on plants intended for feed or forage.”
“Do not use on bearing fruit or nut trees”.
Labeled pests controlled include “Rust and blister mites (family Eriophyidae)”.


Richard, the fact that just about every new fig grower ends up with fig bud mites says there is a serious problem. If you have gained some firsthand experience with fig bud mites since the last time we talked about this, please share your experience… That would be helpful to everyone.

Carbaryl has similar warnings as spiromesifen products, there are also formulations not labeled for edible crops. I’m not sure why you are posting brief excerpts from labels, we are all adults capable of finding and reading labels.

“fig gall mite” is an obscure term not in common use, why you’ve chosen that name to use is beyond me, there are no mites that cause galls in figs.


I also have a big fruit Fig plant and I would like to exchange cutting for this ‘‘melon fig’’ I grow them from many countries…


Are there many seeds inside ?? My old lady can not eat the fruit if there are many seeds because they go under her dentures…


This is the picture of Tiger fig vs Garnsey fig posted in the topic “Droppings”. The whole fig, skin and all, is very soft when ripe, while the skin of Tiger fig is more fibrous.


Yep, they look identical to me!


Sr. Jaime olá. Tem uma ideia sobre as diferenças entre o Moscatel branco e o Pingo de mel ? Acompanho os seus excelentes vídeos e seus vastos conhecimentos sobre figueiras. Obrigado. Cumprimentos


My first main crop of the year, Improved Celeste. Too much watering. Tasted rather bland.


I’m definitely in that club—and I’ve seen the damage they can do, especially when it comes to vectoring fig mosaic disease! If I hadn’t found Brent’s posts about them, I’d still be scratching my head and wondering why the heck all my figs ended up with FMD. Now, scanning through fig pics on forums and elsewhere I see a lot of probable fig bud mite damage. When you tell folks they’ve got a problem, they’re often glad to know—but sometimes they act as though some sauced-up hobo on the curb just gibbered obscenities at them!


Rig some shade for your trees if they are in the ground. If they are in pots, get them off the concrete, either by raising them on brick/wood blocks or onto dirt. Paint black pots white, put mulch on top, move into a shadier spot, etc, anything to keep the roots from frying in the direct sun.

As a note, do not lay shade cloth directly on top of a tree - I did that as the garden stakes I was using were a bit too short. The sun heated up the shade cloth and absolutely fried the tree and it died. Boo…


We are not young any more. :wink:

We used to plant trees in ground and on the hillside. We didn’t have much money so we could only buy the small trees that took forever to have fruit. The hill was rock hard and there were gophers everywhere that ate the roots and killed the trees. On top of that California had limit on water usage because of the drought. Now that our kids finished school we have a little spare money. Like what happens when people didn’t have money for what they want early in life, the last few years my husband bought me all the trees I want, especially when I got very sick from eating store bought fruits and veggies. We have all of new trees in pots, easier to take care. In the beginning we half buried some of the containers in ground, lately they are on cement slab over a saucer because we ran out of space. The containers are very heavy, ~20-25 gallons so moving is not an option for us. I wrap sunshade around the containers to reflect light and keep the root cool. Since the neighbor uphill had to cut down a pine tree and I know they didn’t use any chemicals either, we have pine needles as the mulch for all the containers. So far all of them survive and have a lot of fruits this year. The tulle does a wonderful job deterring the birds, and somehow there were no worm inside the fruits.
As for covering by shade cloth, I have a big longan tree that had a lot of flowers but lost them all under the heat. The small branch my sister air layered last spring, and in the 5 gallon pot now, had a few fruits set. I hang some shale cloth about a foot above the top and the fruits are growing. It is in a place with some wind so that helps too. I think you have to hang the shade cloth way above the trees as in the big box store nurseries.