Originally Posted by hoosierbanana
It was first observed less than 100 years ago, and was most likely much less common then than it is today. Like Ray and many, many, other people have said, virus symptoms are virtually non-existent on trees found growing on the east coast.
Many people have expressed frustration about the mite being established in CA and say there is no point in making any effort, while it has not stopped others (although not all of them have made public statements) from successfully protecting the health of their collections my monitoring and treating for fig bud mites. If you plant a seedling and be careful to not introduce the fig bud mite from materials you get from another collection, you will never see any FMV symptoms on them in WV, or any other region isolated from wild fig trees for that matter. Fig bud mites are host specific, they cannot reproduce on other species.
Could you provide a reference please, I've read several surveys and the highest infection rate was found in CA, but then again they only managed to find and test symptomatic trees. Before you say "all tree in CA have symptoms" please know that you would be contradicting observations made by several CA growers. Alma is immune, it is only logical that some other varieties are as well.
And the seedlings you mentioned? TC plants that have been virus indexed? undergone thermotherapy? The ones discovered to be free from virus in many surveys using pcr analysis around the world? Alma, Hamma? Even without expensive testing there is a clear difference between symptomatic and non-symptomatic trees, there is no in for a penny in for a pound here. The symptoms have been found to be directly correlated with amount of virus present in the plant cells, the particles need to be so numerous that they begin to actually gum up the works of the cells in order to cause any symptoms. The more virus, the more severe the symptoms. FMV has been shown to not be transmissible by sap, and can only migrate through the plant between adjacent cells, but the fig bud mite not only transmits virus from plant to plant it also rapidly increases the spread of virus in any one plant. Because virus replication and cell division are not tied together the amount of initial virus in a newly divided cell can increase or decrease. Rapid cell division relative to virus replication reduces the viral load, this is the reason thermotherapy works, the virus is denatured by heat and unable to replicate so each cell division cuts the number of viruses in half until none remain and virus free material is collected from the new growth.
I spent a whole season battling "rust" and "nutrient deficiency" only to discover the symptoms were from fig bud mites which spread persitent virus symptoms to about half of my collection (mostly trees that previously showed no symptoms, or at least got worse). It did give me the opportunity to do some things that people said was previously impossible, such as comparing symptomatic vs. non-symptomatic trees of a couple varieties.
The impacts can be much worse than cosmetic, growth can be stunted, fruit can have necrotic spots and drop.My big question is...is FMV/FMD really a problem?