Willof leaf ficus black dots and yellowing leaves

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Willof leaf ficus black dots and yellowing leaves

Post  oboeologist on Sat Sep 03, 2011 5:29 pm

Hello everyone!

I am a newbie to bonsai, having only worked with ficus and only for a year. I live in north central Texas, and have been growing the plants in full shade. I have kept a handful of plants alive for over a year, so I have had some luck. I have started using Neem Oil monthly about 4 months ago. Lately, my plants have had leaves like this.

The leaves will eventually just fall off, but the problem is clearly more than that as new leaves get infected. New growth does not have this problem. I don't want to lose the ramification I got from defoliated earlier this year (if possible). Help!





Last edited by oboeologist on Sat Sep 03, 2011 5:34 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : pictures)

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Re: Willof leaf ficus black dots and yellowing leaves

Post  JimLewis on Sat Sep 03, 2011 6:53 pm

As in another spotty leaf post here, your figs have one of the sucking insects -- mealy bug, aphid, etc. A soap spray should take care of it.

You figs should be out in full sun -- or at least in half sun. Even in Texas. Even this year. Just water a bit more frequently. Full shade may be encouraging the insects. They're finding something to chomp on without getting fried in the process.

I'm sure you know that they need protection in winter.

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Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Willof leaf ficus black dots and yellowing leaves

Post  oboeologist on Sat Sep 03, 2011 8:28 pm

Thanks Jim!

I just sprayed the leaves and moved them out into part sun (3 or 4 hours worth). I will keep you posted!

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Re: Willof leaf ficus black dots and yellowing leaves

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Sat Sep 03, 2011 11:37 pm

There is a Ficus scale attacking the Willow Leaf Fig. It seldom does much damage because the trees grow so fast.

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Re: Willof leaf ficus black dots and yellowing leaves

Post  oboeologist on Sun Sep 04, 2011 1:59 am

Sorry to leave out vital information, but the leaves are also quite sticky to the touch. I quite literally just noticed this and am getting nervous because my plant is losing leaves faster than it is growing them . . .


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Re: Willof leaf ficus black dots and yellowing leaves

Post  JimLewis on Sun Sep 04, 2011 12:47 pm

The stickiness is a secretion left behind by the aphids or scale. It will go way when the insects do. It itself is not harming your tree, though it will turn black and be unsightly.

Again, sunlight will also help.

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Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Willof leaf ficus black dots and yellowing leaves

Post  oboeologist on Tue Sep 06, 2011 5:34 pm

So, the stickiness is gone on my leaves and the spots are getting better. However now some leaf ends are turning white/grey and leaves are falling off at a rapid pace. Also in general the leaves don't seem to be hanging on to the plant strongly. I am hoping that this is a result of moving the plants into more sun and the soap spray, but I wanted to make sure!

I will try to get pictures up if required.

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Re: Willof leaf ficus black dots and yellowing leaves

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Tue Sep 06, 2011 5:49 pm

oboeologist wrote:So, the stickiness is gone on my leaves and the spots are getting better. However now some leaf ends are turning white/grey and leaves are falling off at a rapid pace. Also in general the leaves don't seem to be hanging on to the plant strongly. I am hoping that this is a result of moving the plants into more sun and the soap spray, but I wanted to make sure!

I will try to get pictures up if required.

The damaged leaves will always be damaged and eventually fall off, it is new leaves you need to pay attention to. Remember with less leaves be careful not to overwater. Check the soil before you water.

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Re: Willof leaf ficus black dots and yellowing leaves

Post  oboeologist on Wed Sep 07, 2011 1:31 am

Thank you very much Billy! I appreciate your patience with me!

The buds all look fine, although I haven't noticed the plant growing. I just hate to see this happening on the bonsai stock I bought at my first bonsai exhibit here in Fort Worth last year. If/when my plant makes it, I look forward to sharing it with you guys!

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Re: Willof leaf ficus black dots and yellowing leaves

Post  drgonzo on Wed Sep 07, 2011 1:52 am

Willow Leafs are very fussy about their leaves (a lot of figs are now that I think about it) Ie. If theres something wrong with the leaf, a spot, mold, a stickiness, they'd rather drop it and start again then live with the damaged leaf.

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Re: Willof leaf ficus black dots and yellowing leaves

Post  drgonzo on Wed Sep 07, 2011 1:57 am

How strong are you making your soap spray? should only be 1 tsp of liquid dish soap per quart spray bottle, I like to do my spraying in the shade and then let it dry completely before moving back into sun, but your ficus really should re-grow everything it drops, particularly a Willow leaf.

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Re: Willof leaf ficus black dots and yellowing leaves

Post  oboeologist on Wed Sep 07, 2011 2:09 am

I was doing a much higher concentration of soap than that, about 5 times stronger. I will adjust!

I am very glad to hear that! Any idea on how long refoliation should take? Ballpark figures? I much prefer the tropical canopy to the sad empty branches.

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Re: Willof leaf ficus black dots and yellowing leaves

Post  drgonzo on Wed Sep 07, 2011 2:18 am

THAT was probably your problem, go easy with the soap at to high a concentration it will burn.

In full sun with misting I've had mine back in leaf in three weeks (thats with full summer heat) not long! I would give that tree a good spray with a hose to get residual soap that may have dried on the leaves off of them, try NOT to get too much of it into the soil, try to aim up and off the plant. then I'd hold back on further soap sprays for a week.

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Re: Willof leaf ficus black dots and yellowing leaves

Post  oboeologist on Wed Sep 07, 2011 2:24 am

Thanks, I will do that right now! I will definitely post an update and let everybody know how the plant is doing either way!

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Re: Willof leaf ficus black dots and yellowing leaves

Post  drgonzo on Wed Sep 07, 2011 2:27 am

at the very least you will have an exceedingly clean ficus Bonsai. Laughing
I can joke because I know willow leafs are tough to kill and can regenerate entire canopies, branch structures , roots, you name it. You'll be alright!

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Re: Willof leaf ficus black dots and yellowing leaves

Post  JimLewis on Wed Sep 07, 2011 12:26 pm

I much prefer the tropical canopy to the sad empty branches.

I'm sure we all do, but take advantage of those empty branches and study the structure of your tree. Wire branches down to where they should be. Trim those that are too long and skinny -- and don't hesitate to be rough on it. These grow back quickly.

BUT, take your climate into account and how soon you will need to bring it inside permanently. Growth is much slower indoors and in the winter.

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Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Willof leaf ficus black dots and yellowing leaves

Post  oboeologist on Wed Sep 07, 2011 2:50 pm

All of the dead/infected/whatever leaves fell off, but there are some very tiny leaves that look great! I took your advice and did some maintenance pruning, removing a long branch that projected straight forward along with some other minor pruning. I should hopefully have a little more than a month at this point before the plants come inside, so I hope the plant recovers as much as possible before it come inside!

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Re: Willof leaf ficus black dots and yellowing leaves

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