Blackened 'lava looking' leaves on Fukien Tea

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Blackened 'lava looking' leaves on Fukien Tea

Post  Al H on Wed Feb 18, 2015 1:55 pm

I am seeing almost the same thing as reported in another post.  No bugs to be seen, only blackened spots, leaf dying, leaf drop.  Took several photos of one particular leaf that is typical of what I have seen this past week.  Plant is indoors, under two 100W LED Daylight bulbs with reflectors, at close (one foot) range.  Tree is on a humidity tray, gets misted at least once a day, soil kept moist but not wet, and is isolated from other trees and plants as its' arrival included a massive dose of mealy bugs.  However, I suspect I am fighting something else here as the leaves were healthy, then 24-36 hours later, they present as shown in the photos.  For what it is worth, this blackening does not seem to be isolated to one branch or one section of the tree, but random around the canopy.  Virtually all of the leaves are 'new' as almost all were lost before mealy bugs were eliminated.  Any and all help would be appreciated; I am trying to save this 7-8 year old baby!










Another smaller leaf, same issue:


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Fukien Tea

Post  bonsaisr on Wed Feb 18, 2015 8:18 pm

This species is notoriously temperamental, especially grown indoors. Check your soil. I suspect it is too damp. However, black at the leaf tips usually indicates over-fertilization. There are other possibilities. Do you have a maximum-minimum thermometer in your growing area? Also, you need a humidity gauge. A "humidity tray" is useless and misting only spreads disease. Some tropical bonsai require a humidity of 50-60% or more.
Iris

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Thank you Bonsaisr

Post  Al H on Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:09 pm

The over fertilization could be the cause. When the tree arrived, there were far too many 'green balls' in the soil. I removed well over a hundred with tweezers, but did not dig down into the soil very far. Min/max on the temp is 72 possibly minus one at night. Humidity in the isolation (sin bin) is running close to 50% but that is with the misting. The loss of a couple leaves is not that bad, but I was afraid that I was fighting some other weird import after the mealy bug infestation. Thank you again.

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Re: Blackened 'lava looking' leaves on Fukien Tea

Post  Norma on Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:41 pm

Yes, I agree with Iris, Fukien's are very temperamental !!   I have some tropicals in a south facing window with florescent lighting but I have had a bougainvillea get leaf burn from the sun coming through the window.  Because of the difference in the leaves, I wonder if your leaves are getting to hot from 100 watt bulbs?  The leaves of the bougie just curl and wither but of course the fukien leaf seems more like a succulent which may burn differently.  You may need to change to florescent lights.

Another problem with the Fukien Tea is it's susceptibility to insects.  I struggled with all kinds of infestations for years.  But I suspect like Iris the answer may be over-watering and growth of fungus. Tell us about the soil in which it's potted.  If the soil holds too much water you may need to change to bonsai soil with a gravel base.

Best regards,  Norma

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Re: Blackened 'lava looking' leaves on Fukien Tea

Post  Precarious on Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:59 pm

I remember a third component for the Fukien Tea that was recommended and helped a lot. I mentioned the first two in the other thread- lots of light, and humidity as has been mentioned. The third is air flow. I now keep mine front and center, close to the fan. I made each change individually, and my FT's seemed happier at each addition.

Can you tell us anything about the soil it's in?

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Blackened 'lava looking' leaves on Fukien Tea

Post  Al H on Wed Feb 18, 2015 10:14 pm

Thanks David, that is a possibility. It is sitting where it only gets mild air exchange. We could improve that. Great idea.

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Re: Blackened 'lava looking' leaves on Fukien Tea

Post  Al H on Wed Feb 18, 2015 10:45 pm

Precarious wrote:

Can you tell us anything about the soil it's in?

I guess UGLY is not a real definition of the soil. I would call it a 50/50 mix of some form of rough gray, clay/lava/gravel substance and mostly decomposed pine bark that is highly retentive and far, far to fine. When I water, I use aged tap water and water (sprinkling can) until I get free flow from the drain holes (in a sink) then allowed it to drain further. She gets about a half gallon of sprinkled water, slowly over the entire canopy and pot. With the retentive soil that is there, one watering is lasting about 2-1/2 days, tested with a chop stick. I was in hopes of holding out until spring to repot her. I am near Chicago and spring is currently being rescheduled to mid-July. I may have to do it indoors, before then. Sad

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Re: Blackened 'lava looking' leaves on Fukien Tea

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