MJagent
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fukien tea dying and I cant figure out why

I got a really nice fukien tea about 3 months ago which I paid A LOT of money for since I really liked it ... it was beautiful and was filled with perfect green leaves. Ever since then, it had scale and although i tried getting rid of them some still remain. It has been facing south west and I have been watering it properly and letting it dry out between waterings.

Now the tree has few leaves left and losing more each day. It looks like many of the branches are brittle and dead and so I doubt the are going to come back. Is there a chance this tree will bounce back? is there a chance the seemingly dead branches will have leaves again? Any ideas? Thanks!! (ps I tried posting a picture but it seems like I cant post pics on this site)

-Eli

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rainbowgardener
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You can post pictures here; if you browse around a little, you will find many of them. You just can't upload them directly from your computer. They have to be on line already, at some photo hosting site like photo bucket.

Detailed instructions for how to do this are in the section called Helpful Gardener's Tips and Suggestions for New Members, which has other useful information as well.
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froggy
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Scale can be quite he bugger... my roses usually die from it, but my scheff did ok with just having the scales removed with tweezers, then a light spray with 50% rubbing alcohol 50% water. Did that a few times and he scale disappeared.
As for whether your tree will bounce back - some do, some don't.

I'd say your first priority should be getting rid of the pest. The look is secondary.
;)

linlaoboo
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were u keeping this indoors? any drafts? What's the temperature like?
ficus, maple, elm, juniper, pine

MJagent
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thanks for the replies!!! Im sorry for the delay in my response ... Ive been keeping the tree in a 65-75 degree room facing a southwest window (I have not been using any supplemental light) ... I have also been using a spray with 1 part alcohol 5 parts water ... Ive used the spray a lot and although it seems to have been working, I think it may have made my leaves shrivel up and the scale have since still come back).
Now that many of the branches have no leaves and are very brittle, I stopped using the spray and just keep the plant under a 100 watt flourescant bulb for 24 hours a day... I doubt that the leaves will come back on the branches that are brittle ... although it has only been a month or a month and a half that those branches have not had any leaves. This should teach me a lesson not to buy bonsai trees that look so great in showrooms for so much money.

Any other ideas or anything else I should try? Thanks a lot!

-Eli

TomM
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Plants under lights should never be subjected to "24 hours a day" lighting - the equivillant of all day sunshine. They need to rest at night, just as they would outdoors. 15-16 hours is the usual recommended amount.

My experience with scale on fukien tea, and some other tropicals, has been a very frustrating journey. Hand removal day after day (with a toothpick) and many treatments of neem oil, over 2-3 months to get all the eggs that live in the soil, still ends in failure sometimes. Then it is either "live with it and put your other bonsai at risk" - or - get rid of the infected plant, perhaps by burning it.

Like - is it worth all the trouble?

MJagent
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Thanks for your reply Tom. You make excellent points. I had no idea scale was this tough to deal with. Its just hard to let this plant go since I paid $725 dollars for it and its my best one. The reason I have it under 24 hour lighting is because thats what the guy that sold it to me at the mall told me to do ... so I figured I would try it as a final measure.

-Eli

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JustinBoi
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I feel really bad hearing you spent all that money and now it's dying in less than 3 months.
I'm not completely experienced YET, but I believe instead of throwing it out, but to keep it away from the other plants and maybe find a new place and try to treat it.

I would still try the neem oil and try to get the little things off.
I took care of aphids by water and soap.
Maybe try that? I'm not sure.
What I would do is go talk to the guy that sold it to you...
Tell him it's dying and maybe he'll have better advice instead of giving you bad advice to put it under a 100 watt bulb for 24 hours a day..

GOOD LUCK!
-Justin
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Gnome
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MJagent wrote: ... I have also been using a spray with 1 part alcohol 5 parts water ... Ive used the spray a lot and although it seems to have been working, I think it may have made my leaves shrivel up and the scale have since still come back).

-Eli
So sorry to hear about the problems with this one. I don't grow this species so I don't have a lot to offer but I do have a few thoughts. I believe that I have read that Fukien Tea does not tolerate some sprays well. I have no idea whether alcohol is on their prohibited list or not. A ratio of 1:5 seems a little on the strong side. Most recipes call for a cap full in a quart spray bottle.

Sorry I don't have more for you but I wish you luck with it.

Norm

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rainbowgardener
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Agree that the alcohol spray may be bad for your tree, but the diluted spray probably won't be too effective against the scale insects. Look up some of Kisal's posts about scale. What she does is dip Q-tip in pure rubbing alcohol and touch it directly on the insect, one at a time. That way the tree isn't harmed by it, but scale insect gets the full dose. She says it is very effective.
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MJagent
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Thanks a lot for your help people I really appreciate ... now Im wishing I posted on this forum before my tree got so bad... because now, no matter what I do, it seems that a lot of the branches on the tree are already dead and have no chance of coming back.

-Eli

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froggy
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Once you're rid of the scale and provide your tree with the best environment you can, you might be surprised how much of it bounces back... There's no guarantee, but sometimes they just look dead and suddenly they feel the spring...
;)

The Rookie
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My fukien tree appears to have scale. Has anyone ever heard of a brand called Safer Brand Insect killing soap? I know fukiens are very sensitive to certain pesticides. This Safer Brand soap touts itself as an "organic" garden pest control formula.

I just realized today that my fukien seems to be infested with scale. I noticed the sap a few weeks ago, but just thought my tree was dropping leaves because it is inside.

I want to eradicate the scale infestation from my fukien, but I am hoping the cure is not worse than the disease if I were to use the Safer Brand soap. All input is greatly appreciated.

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rainbowgardener
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@Rookie, please read through all of the above thread that you just posted on, including my suggestion (via Kisal) of touching each one with rubbing alcohol soaked Q-tip.

Insecticidal soap like Safer's is very effective against soft bodied insects like aphids and whiteflies. The scale insects are very protected inside their little shell (which is why they are so difficult to deal with). I do not believe the Safer's will have much effect against them.
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tomc
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Safers is I ssuppose better than nothing for scale, its more designed for softer bodied critters.

What I cannot advise is if your tree can tolerate it.
Think like a tree
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The Rookie
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I'm trying the alcohol soaked Q-Tip Method. I searched for Kisal on the bonsai forum, but I could not find anything about alcohol soaked toothpicks when I did a search under Kisal's name..

I thought I'd use the Safer soap for any eggs that may be on the tree or in the soil. I've pulled a bunch of scale off by hand, but there are many more for me to pull off. They are at the base of the leaf-stems. I just thought they were part of the branch.

They seem to be in hardened balls at the base of many leaves. I've found that I cannot remove the scale without removing the clumps of leaves the scale have attached themselves to . . . . I'm worried if I try to remove too many leaves I will kill the tree.

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