Dazzo
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Why are Leaves Brown & Falling? (Fukein Tea)

Hi All, new to this forum and a bonsai owner for 3 years although most of that time was growing 5 japanese black pines from seed :)

A colleague in work brought this tree in for me to have a look at. I think it's a chinese elm but I can't tell. Could you please have a look and see what you think?

It's leaves are starting to go dry turn brown and drop off so im guessing it's either lack of water or it's somewhat going into 'hibernation' as it's been in a cold environment. Any ideas on what it is and what i need to do to keep it healthy?



Kind Regards

Darren

[url=https://img121.imageshack.us/i/04012010079i.jpg/][img]https://img121.imageshack.us/img121/76/04012010079i.th.jpg[/img][/url]

Marsman
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Welcome to the forum! Let's see what we can do for you.

I see you're from Eastham. Is that Massachusetts? Knowing that will help with the climate your tree is encountering. Has the tree been kept inside?

The tree does look dried out. It may be going into hibernation. I hope you haven't been over-watering it, because that will kill just as much as under-watering. If the soil is damp, let it be. The leaves don't look quite right for Chinese Elm.

Chinese Elm (Picture courtesy of https://www.dallasbonsai.com )
[img]https://www.dallasbonsai.com/images/tomApril05_10.jpg[/img]
Last edited by Marsman on Mon Jan 04, 2010 6:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Dazzo
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Hi thanks for the input.

Placed it in water for 15 minutes then let it all drip off before putting it in it's previous place (soil is damp). I only saw it today as it is not my tree. Anybody else have any ideas?

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Gnome
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Dazzo,

I agree with Marsman, not a Chinese Elm. Although the condition of the leaves makes it difficult I think I can make out the notched leaves leaves that are indicative of Fukien Tea.

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=17563
https://www.bonsai4me.com/SpeciesGuide/Carmona.html

I don't grow this species but I think that they like it warm and since you said it has been in a cold environment that may be what caused its decline.

Norm

Dazzo
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Thank you both for the reply, was hoping it would put my mind at rest however this is a difficult species to keep correct?

I'm trying to research it as much as possible now to see what i can do to help it.

Being an evergreen am i correct in sayin if all the leaves do die off, the tree can regenerate them in the spring? It has been moved into a warm room near a skylight, which hopefully won't give it too much direct sunlight.

Anyone have experience with these species and can say for sure it is a fukien tea?

Thanks again for the help so far

Darren

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djlen
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Welcome Darren -

When you say it's been 'in a cold environment' what do you mean? Has it been kept in a cold environment for a matter of weeks, months, hours...what? Did he keep it outside? If he's had it for a while and kept it outside to experience Mass. cold and it's just now starting to decline it's not a Fukien Tea. A Fukien would die in less than 2 weeks if kept in your winter temps.
I have 2 Fukiens but cannot tell from your picture whether it's a Fukien or not.
If it is a Fukien and it's been kept inside and had a brief exposure to cold temps. it will probably regenerate itself if kept warm, well lighted and misted to maintain humidity level. Hard to advise because of uncertainty as to what it is.
Can you post a close up of the leaves?
Regards,
Len

"As the twig is bent, so the tree inclines"
- Virgil
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Dazzo
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Hi djlen

Sorry I am a bit vague on details as I am unaware on most of them.

To my knowledge it's been in a cold environment i think garage window for approx 2 weeks which is why i am worried. picture of close up leaf below

[url=https://img85.imageshack.us/i/37402589.jpg/][img]https://img85.imageshack.us/img85/6318/37402589.th.jpg[/img][/url]

I will gather more information on whats happened to it tomorrow as it's in my work.

Thanks

Darren

maveriiick
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I strongly believe it is a Fukien Tea, a tropical plant. I would bring it indoors ASAP (keep at room temp or higher, not in the garage where it will be too cold for this plant to survive). Also, This type of tree is more difficult to care for but not impossible. Needs to dry out between waterings and needs good light, humidity and some wind (i.e. fan). Good luck.

Dazzo
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Thank you Mav

Yeah its in a warm room, server room in work so hopefully nice heat in there but may move it for better light. ut will look at it tomorrow and try humidity also.

Thanks for the replies guys will keep you posted.

Will get pics of my black pines also that i grew from seed for you to have a look.

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Gnome
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Dazzo wrote:Thank you both for the reply, was hoping it would put my mind at rest however this is a difficult species to keep correct?

I'm trying to research it as much as possible now to see what i can do to help it.

Being an evergreen am i correct in sayin if all the leaves do die off, the tree can regenerate them in the spring? It has been moved into a warm room near a skylight, which hopefully won't give it too much direct sunlight.

Anyone have experience with these species and can say for sure it is a fukien tea?

Thanks again for the help so far

Darren
Darren,

You're welcome. You are in a much better position than we are to see the details of the leaves. Rather than have us look at your pictures, it is easier for you to look at clear pictures on the web and examine the plant to compare. Fukien Tea have that notched leaf that I mentioned earlier, pretty distinctive. Not all leaves seem to exhibit this characteristic equally so examine the plant carefully.

[img]https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c1/Fukien_Tea_Tree_flower.jpg/600px-Fukien_Tea_Tree_flower.jpg[/img]

Norm

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djlen
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I think it's a Fukien Tea as well from your picture but will wait for your response to Norm's picture.
Keep in mind that when they dry they lose that shine you see in his picture and get a bit flatter before browning and falling off.
If it' is a Fukien we will have more information coming. Check Norm's picture and get back to us.
Regards,
Len

"As the twig is bent, so the tree inclines"
- Virgil
"I rarely agree with most of what I say........." -
- Len
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Dazzo
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Hi all,

Spoke to the person today and had another look at the plant, inparticular the leaves. Seems to me like it is a fukien tea because of the 2 notches in the end of the leave and what seems to be the remnensce of flowers.

The bonsai was on a windowsill for 5 weeks and then in a garage for a week which is where it's gone into it's current state. The leaves are bone dry however the ones that are remaining are mostly green. I watered it on monday but not since as they like to dry out correct? the soil is only very slightly damp currently.

The room it is in is warm however the light is a bit minimal, especially because of the weather recently.

Are there any things i can try to see if it will give it a bit more life or is it a case of water when dry keep in warm light room and wait?

regards

Darren

Rosaelyn
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I'm sure it was not happy with the cold treatment and lack of light it has been recently subjected to, but the yellow leaves just shout overwatering.

I would definitely allow the tree to go mostly dry between waterings.

A warm environment is also a good step, but I'm guessing your server room has very dry air. Probably not a good place to try and create a humid environment for a tree. Fukien Teas may like to have their soil go mostly dry, but I make sure to always have a tray of water beneath the tree and I mist about every other day.

Finally, my Fukien Tea is very fond of lots of light. I have a plant light bulb in a desk light trained quite close to her, and rotate her pot regularly. Come the next couple of months, I plan to convert this to a set of fluorescent shop lights, so all my trees are receiving the same amount of light and will not require regular rotating anymore. ;)
Rosaelyn @}>---'---,---

If you would know strength and patience, welcome the company of trees. ~ Hal Borland

maveriiick
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The only other thing I would suggest is to closely examine the tree for pests. Aphids and mealy bugs flock to this plant over other trees in my collection. Pest just love FTs. Aphids are very tiny while mealy bugs appear as small fluffy white puffs. Treat carefully if found as FT's are very sensitive to chemicals. I use Neem oil spray with no ill effects to the tree.

Dazzo
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I've moved the tree to a more well lit room. The leaves are still bone dry and the soil is drying out. Obviously it's in my work residence currently however with the weekend coming up im debating weather to take it home....especially with the current climate. This isn't my tree though so i don;t wna do something with it i'll regret...especially being so inexperienced with this.

The leaves are crisp and have what seem to be tiny white hairs on them, are these bugs or because they are so dry? how can i tell if the tree is dead?

Darren

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djlen
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Are the leaves sticky or do they have a sticky solution on them?
What you describe sounds like Aphids but without seeing them it's hard to diagnose.
When stressed for many reasons one can see yellowing in the leaves, then browning and falling of them.
I have not seen a picture of the soil and cannot tell if it's well drained or not. In other words, is it porous or dense. Porous is what it should be and one can tell if it is and drains well by whether the water stays on the surface and is slow to run through or not.
When your water it, it should immediately disappear into the soil and then run out the bottom holes. I'd like you to test this by watering it and if it soaks it up rather than pooling, give it a good soaking and let the water run out the bottom. If you see pooling you've go very dense soil.
Check the specks you mention and see if there is any stickiness on the leaves. Fukiens naturally have some white dots on the leaves but elongated white things indicate the possible presence of Aphid skeltons.
Please reply.
Regards,
Len

"As the twig is bent, so the tree inclines"
- Virgil
"I rarely agree with most of what I say........." -
- Len
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Dazzo
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The soil is porous as the water goes straight through without hanging on top of the soil. Runs through the hole at the bottom of the pot. The leaves are not sticky to touch just bone dry, which is why i thought the tree was dead.

There does seem to be a light brown coloured fur on the tree, at the intersections of the branches. Is this normal for this tree?

Will get pictures of the leaves and tree this afternoon. May have to take it home but not sure as it's freezing outside haha -10 .....

Darren

maveriiick
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The leaves are likely dead, but new ones can regrow as long at the tree is well cared for. I've had a few aphid infestations in the past and I normally take the tree to the shower and spray room-temperatured water at the foliage to remove them. The high pressure removes them easily. If the soil is moist before I do this, I cover the soil with a plastic bag to avoid over watering (spray water reaching the soil).

These trees need to regularly and very carefully checked for pests, aphids and mealy bugs in my experience absolutely love Fukien Trees. I have a cheap 6X magnifier I use to skim over leaf areas, especially when a clump of the yellow leaves are detected, which could be caused by aphids.

The light brown coloured fur at the intersections of the branches is normal.

Andy D
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Also make sure that you keep the fukien tea in a humid area (if possible) where it can get good sun. I keep mine in a large bathroom where the steam from the shower creates great humidity and it gets nice morning sun. And you should never ever ever let its environment get in the 50's-ever.
Andy

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