Yellow, Wilted or Curling Leaves

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Symptom: Yellow, wilting or curling

Yellow, wilting or curling leaves. This is a sign that your tree is dehydrated and needs water ASAP.


If the tree has been growing in the ground, place a garden hose directly at the base of the tree and let the water trickle over it for at least 1-2 hours. Watering a tree can be a daunting experience sometimes, so I bought this Drip Irrigation Water Rock (Paid Link). It might look ugly, but you can apply latex paint to it to change the color. In the meantime, it has a continuous water drip into the roots of the tree. If it’s a young freshly planted tree, continue to water it on a regular basis about once every 3 days (skipping on rainy days) until the growing season has ended.

It can also mean that there is a lack of nutrients in the soil. In this case, I recommend that you feed it some Miracle-Gro All Purpose Plant Food, 24-8-16 (Paid Link). Follow the instructions when mixing this with water.

2 thoughts on “Yellow, Wilted or Curling Leaves

  1. further question from complete novice in Boston.
    i kept a potted tree–only abt 18″ high–indoors, in indirect sun from autumn till mid-May . Then
    removed it from pot and planted it in good soil in full sun. irrigation system is working and it seemed fine
    till a few days ago–weather for the first time quite hot. most leaves have silvered, curled, died.

    Suggestions please about saving this little fig tree.

    my thanks.

  2. I’m sorry to hear of your misfortune this season. Fig trees will always thrive in hot humid environments. However, once the humidity is removed, they’ll suffer quite like yours did.

    1. What you can try doing is first, add water just enough to moisten the soil and leave it alone.
    2. Next encase it in clear plastic (white garbage bag is OK but impossible to see inside) held up with gardening stakes (I use small bamboo rods) without the plastic touching the branches if possible.
    3. Spray a mist of water inside under the plastic.
    4. Then move the tree into a shaded area without sunlight if possible and wait for it to grow the leaves back.
    5. When the leaves have fully returned, be sure to gradually introduce it to the dry air by opening small areas around the plastic for the duration of a week until the interior of the plastic is dry. If there’s a sudden change in humidity from moist to dry, the new leaves will turn silver and fall off.

    When you see leaves emerging, spray a mist of water inside to keep the interior humid.
    It might take 4 weeks to see green emerge. If you hadn’t already tried this, one thing you can consider to avoid this in the future is to periodically mist the leaves with water each morning of the hot dry days. An alternative is to encase it in plastic or keep it in a small greenhouse. Chances are that the new growth could be in the form of new branches. While waiting for the green growth, check the soil for moisture at least once a week with a piece of wood dipped into the soil. I use kabob skewers.

    Also, in the winter months, I recommend that you store the tree in a cool dark room without sunlight at all, otherwise it might have trouble growing figs in the summer. I keep mine in an attached garage where the temperatures reach as low as 35-40F on the coldest days. They sort of need a cold snap like this for at least 2 weeks. During that cold period, give it a cup of water once a month.

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