Fungus on Ficus?

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Re: Fungus on Ficus?

Post  Ryan on Sun Oct 14, 2012 9:48 pm

The tree seems to have stopped dropping leaves, and I plan on getting a Metal Halide light to go over top of it and another big tree, so hopefully growth improves.


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Re: Fungus on Ficus?

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Sun Oct 14, 2012 10:07 pm

Looks good to me, except for the long internodes that come from growing indoors, I think you can prune some of this back.

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Re: Fungus on Ficus?

Post  Ryan on Sun Oct 14, 2012 10:11 pm

Billy M. Rhodes wrote:Looks good to me, except for the long internodes that come from growing indoors, I think you can prune some of this back.

Thanks Billy. It hasn't really put out much growth, which is why I want to switch over to Metal Halides. Once I see some active growth then I'll feel safe about cutting it back.

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Re: Fungus on Ficus?

Post  Ryan on Sun Oct 21, 2012 6:53 pm

I noticed small webs on the leaves today, so I'm thinking another problem it may have is spider mites. Joy Mad

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Re: Fungus on Ficus?

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Sun Oct 21, 2012 7:42 pm

Ryan wrote:I noticed small webs on the leaves today, so I'm thinking another problem it may have is spider mites. Joy Mad

Test for spider mite, place white sheet of paper under branch, tap or shake branch, if black dots drop onto paper and start moving you have spider mites, other wise you just have opportunistic spiders hiding in your tree, a good thing.

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Re: Fungus on Ficus?

Post  Ryan on Sun Oct 21, 2012 8:06 pm

Billy M. Rhodes wrote:
Ryan wrote:I noticed small webs on the leaves today, so I'm thinking another problem it may have is spider mites. Joy Mad

Test for spider mite, place white sheet of paper under branch, tap or shake branch, if black dots drop onto paper and start moving you have spider mites, other wise you just have opportunistic spiders hiding in your tree, a good thing.

Just did this, yep, I've got spider mites. I've given the tree a spray down with Carl Rosners Soap Solution in hopes to kill off some of the critters.

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Re: Fungus on Ficus?

Post  Ryan on Mon Oct 22, 2012 2:28 am

I've also (just for fun) considered trying out some predatory mites, as I've had trouble covering large trees completely in sprays:

http://www.buglogical.com/spider-mite-predator/spider-mite-control-californicus/

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Re: Fungus on Ficus?

Post  Ryan on Mon Oct 22, 2012 3:30 am

Actually, Ladybugs are cheaper and also eat spider mites, so I'll just stick with them.

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Re: Fungus on Ficus?

Post  Ryan on Tue Oct 23, 2012 2:43 am

I pulled off quite a few yellowing leaves today. I need to get these bugs under control some how, maybe I'll increase how often I spray the tree with the soapy solution.

What if, instead, I closed up the chamber for a day or two, then stuck a humidifier in it and got it really humid? Spider mites hate humidity, so could that help?

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Fungus on Ficus

Post  bonsaisr on Tue Oct 23, 2012 2:45 pm

Dear Ryan,
How to explain? You are trying to grow your Ficus in an unhealthful environment, which is why it has all these fungus & insect-mite problems. Fig trees are not terrarium plants. Think about the farmers who grow livestock in cramped artificial conditions and feed them antibiotics & hormones to keep them from getting sick.
Yes, your prize Ficus has an admirable trunk, but it will never be a bonsai without leaf reduction & short internodes, which is not likely to happen under your present conditions.
Repeated spraying with soap solutions damages the natural coating of the leaves, leaving them susceptible to more problems.
My last comment on this thread.
Iris

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Re: Fungus on Ficus?

Post  MrFancyPlants on Tue Oct 23, 2012 3:02 pm

You could try a systemic as a last resort. I try to avoid in general, but having the issue this early in the cold season is a bad sign. I imported some spider mites when my mother sent me a nice gift of some form of four-leaf clover one year, and the systemic was a quick solution.

I used a bayer rose and garden product, but double check any possible ficus sensitivities before you use it.

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Re: Fungus on Ficus?

Post  Ryan on Tue Oct 23, 2012 3:15 pm

bonsaisr wrote:Dear Ryan,
How to explain? You are trying to grow your Ficus in an unhealthful environment, which is why it has all these fungus & insect-mite problems. Fig trees are not terrarium plants. Think about the farmers who grow livestock in cramped artificial conditions and feed them antibiotics & hormones to keep them from getting sick.
Yes, your prize Ficus has an admirable trunk, but it will never be a bonsai without leaf reduction & short internodes, which is not likely to happen under your present conditions.
Repeated spraying with soap solutions damages the natural coating of the leaves, leaving them susceptible to more problems.
My last comment on this thread.
Iris

I disagree Iris. The tree isn't in a fully enclosed box. The whole front side of it is open and air is easily exchanged. I know it needs leaf reduction and shorter internodes, but until it gets healthy again I'm not going to work on that.


MrFancyPlants wrote:You could try a systemic as a last resort. I try to avoid in general, but having the issue this early in the cold season is a bad sign. I imported some spider mites when my mother sent me a nice gift of some form of four-leaf clover one year, and the systemic was a quick solution.

I used a bayer rose and garden product, but double check any possible ficus sensitivities before you use it.


Thanks! I've used that Bayer rose and garden product before as well, and I believe it caused my Ficus to drop leaves. I've heard of people having good results with Neem oil however, so I may give that a try.

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Re: Fungus on Ficus?

Post  Ryan on Thu Nov 22, 2012 6:54 pm

Everything seemed fine with this one, but I pulled off another odd multi-colored leaf today Mad



Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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Fungus on Ficus

Post  bonsaisr on Fri Nov 23, 2012 3:13 pm

Back to square one. That is just about always a sign of soggy roots. You need a more well-drained soil, and it must dry out severely between waterings. Jose Luis from Puerto Rico recommends growing in pure gravel. That is a bit extreme, but here in the East we need to approach that. Remember our Ficus are semi-xerophytes. Those fat storage roots are not for looks. They tell us to grow Ficus almost like a cactus.
Iris

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Re: Fungus on Ficus?

Post  Ryan on Fri Nov 23, 2012 4:38 pm

bonsaisr wrote:Back to square one. That is just about always a sign of soggy roots. You need a more well-drained soil, and it must dry out severely between waterings. Jose Luis from Puerto Rico recommends growing in pure gravel. That is a bit extreme, but here in the East we need to approach that. Remember our Ficus are semi-xerophytes. Those fat storage roots are not for looks. They tell us to grow Ficus almost like a cactus.
Iris

Ah very interesting Iris, thank you. I had no idea that the soil was still retaining water. The mix I use is very free draining and this seems to be the only tree that is having problems with it. I never water when the soil is still wet in appearance, but I guess it's still holding water way down at the bottom of the pot. Hm.

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Fungus on Ficus

Post  bonsaisr on Fri Nov 23, 2012 8:02 pm

Ryan wrote:I never water when the soil is still wet in appearance, but I guess it's still holding water way down at the bottom of the pot. Hm.
I have been growing under lights for over 50 years, & one of the hardest lessons is that in this environment, the soil (or orchid mix) can be bone dry on the surface and soggy wet at the bottom. If you can't wiggle your finger all the way to the bottom, use a chopstick or wooden skewer & find out how wet the bottom is. You will be surprised.
Iris

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Re: Fungus on Ficus?

Post  Ryan on Fri Nov 23, 2012 8:27 pm

bonsaisr wrote:
Ryan wrote:I never water when the soil is still wet in appearance, but I guess it's still holding water way down at the bottom of the pot. Hm.
I have been growing under lights for over 50 years, & one of the hardest lessons is that in this environment, the soil (or orchid mix) can be bone dry on the surface and soggy wet at the bottom. If you can't wiggle your finger all the way to the bottom, use a chopstick or wooden skewer & find out how wet the bottom is. You will be surprised.
Iris

That's got to be the problem. I've been picking off a yellow leaf or two each day here lately. I did purchase a 250W metal halide, but I can't hang it from the ceiling, so I've been trying to think of some way to suspend it above the tree...

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Re: Fungus on Ficus?

Post  Ryan on Mon Nov 26, 2012 2:30 am

I wonder if a repot into a shallower pot would solve the issue of the soil staying too wet...

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Re: Fungus on Ficus?

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Mon Nov 26, 2012 11:43 am

That's got to be the problem. I've been picking off a yellow leaf or two each day here lately. I did purchase a 250W metal halide, but I can't hang it from the ceiling, so I've been trying to think of some way to suspend it above the tree.

MH bulbs generate a lot of heat and burn a lot of electricity, so much in fact that sometimes Bonsai growers using them get visits from LE because they think you are growing something else.

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Fungus on Ficus

Post  bonsaisr on Mon Nov 26, 2012 3:21 pm

Ryan wrote:I wonder if a repot into a shallower pot would solve the issue of the soil staying too wet...
Partially. Research has found that shallow pots with water retentive soil drain no better than deeper pots. You need to use a mix that is predominantly coarse round particles, such as standard aquarium gravel, with a minimum of organic matter. I trust you are not using anything like peat moss.
Iris

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Re: Fungus on Ficus?

Post  Ryan on Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:36 pm

That's what I've read/heard Billy, but I'll give one a try anyway (next season).

Thanks for that information Iris. I am not using peat moss, that's not the brightest idea. The mix I use from Meehans is the deciduous/tropical soil mix, which may actually have too much bark in it. I may repot tomorrow, and I'll use their coniferous soil mix instead, which has much less organic material. I took this one to the local nursery and they told me it may be declining due to a lack of water, and its also got that yellow looking mold in the soil. I don't over water, so I'm not so sure why it may have that. That's another reason I'm thinking about a repot, to take a look at the roots. Whenever I do water, the water runs straight through the soil and right out the drainage holes.

Here's what I plan on repotting into. It's a plastic cement mixer tub that's 2 feet long and 6 inches deep. It is shallower than the trees current pot, and should also help spread the roots laterally.

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Re: Fungus on Ficus?

Post  Ryan on Sun Dec 02, 2012 8:57 pm

While repotting today, I noticed that the yellow fuzzy mold was all around the rootball. Not 100% sure as to what it is....



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Re: Fungus on Ficus?

Post  Ryan on Sun Dec 02, 2012 8:59 pm

Root aphids maybe??

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Re: Fungus on Ficus?

Post  C.A. Young on Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:23 pm

The only time I've had a fungal problem of my ficus is when scales, mealy bug or another sap sucker has left honeydew on the leaves. I'd look hard for these pests before treating with fungicide. Also, if you're keeping your tree indoor under halides, the only organic material I'd use in the soil is small sized (1/8 - 3/8") orchid grower's bark; and only at 30% max.

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Re: Fungus on Ficus?

Post  Ryan on Mon Dec 03, 2012 6:54 pm

C.A. Young wrote:The only time I've had a fungal problem of my ficus is when scales, mealy bug or another sap sucker has left honeydew on the leaves. I'd look hard for these pests before treating with fungicide. Also, if you're keeping your tree indoor under halides, the only organic material I'd use in the soil is small sized (1/8 - 3/8") orchid grower's bark; and only at 30% max.

Thanks! I've looked it over and over again with no traces of bugs anywhere. This tree isn't yet under a halide light, but instead under 4 T5 bulbs. When I repotted I did cut back on the amount of bark used in the soil, in hopes that health improves.

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