eddie
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Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2007 2:39 pm
Location: Scotland UK

FICUS RETUSA LEAVES NEWBIE HELP

Hi,
Just registered after unsuccessfully researching for explanation so i hope you guys can help out.

I have a Ficus Retusa which until 2 weeks ago was looking really good.
I also have 2 jap maples (1 cutting, doing well) a 7" bamboo and a 10" Chinese elm!
Recently, the leaves on the Ficus started turning variant shades of brown and are now at the stage of wilting and some are now almost black!

Age and Size: 5-7 yrs Trunk girth 1-1.5" and approx 12" high
Position: Outside/off ground/sited in humidity tray (6"diameter) and semi-exposed to wind.
Watering: As and when with either collected rain water or from tap
Fertiliser: No feed past October
Pruning: Last prune around August/September
Pests/fungi etc: None that i can find (or know about!

The recent steep fall in temperature panicked me abit and i brought the tree inside 2 days ago and the problem appears to have got worse.
One notable thing was that when outside, the branches (usually hard) changed to being somewhat soft and "flexible"....??? (I've never noticed this before...?)

What's going on - Could this have been the cold? Please help!!! :(

(PHOTOS INCLUDED - Click thumbnail for larger pics)
[url=https://img513.imageshack.us/my.php?image=sta70005zb9.jpg][img]https://img513.imageshack.us/img513/1372/sta70005zb9.th.jpg[/img][/url]
[url=https://img528.imageshack.us/my.php?image=sta70041xd4.jpg][img]https://img528.imageshack.us/img528/3014/sta70041xd4.th.jpg[/img][/url]
[url=https://img513.imageshack.us/my.php?image=sta70046bm8.jpg][img]https://img513.imageshack.us/img513/365/sta70046bm8.th.jpg[/img][/url]
[url=https://img528.imageshack.us/my.php?image=sta70051xh3.jpg][img]https://img528.imageshack.us/img528/1008/sta70051xh3.th.jpg[/img][/url]

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Gnome
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Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 4:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

eddie,

Welcome.
The recent steep fall in temperature panicked me abit and I brought the tree inside 2 days ago and the problem appears to have got worse. What's going on - Could this have been the cold? Please help!!!
In a word, yes. Ficus are not temperate trees as are the Maples, nor are they sub-tropical like the Elm, they are tropical. While I have allowed mine to experience over-night lows that drop briefly into the lower 40s and even upper 30s (Fahrenheit) they must be inside once cold weather really sets in. Find a good spot for it and leave it alone. Be careful with watering as a tree with no foliage will be using a lot less water. Read the sticky threads at the top of the forum especially the one about general care.

[url]https://www.bonsai4me.com/SpeciesGuide/Ficus.html[/url]
[url]https://www.bonsai4me.com/SpeciesGuide/Ulmus.html[/url]
[url]https://www.bonsai4me.com/SpeciesGuide/AcerPalmatum.html[/url]

Norm

eddie
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Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2007 2:39 pm
Location: Scotland UK

FICUS RETUSA LEAVES NEWBIE HELP

:D Hi Norm and thanks for your quick reply...

Great links and the tree is now on the kitchen window sill - in place of the spider plant!!!
Fingers crossed!!! :wink:

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Gnome
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Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

eddie,
Hi Norm and thanks for your quick reply...
You're welcome. Be advised that your plant will likely lose the remaining leaves and be bare for some time, be patient.

Norm

eddie
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FICUS RETUSA LEAVES NEWBIE HELP

:roll: Any advice welcome...

Update on the state of my Ficus since i last posted...

Presently most branches (especially smaller ones) have become very brittle and the surface soil is showing signs of what i call "white mist"...this "white mist" is also evident at the pot base - around the inside of the drainage holes...Is this root rot and is my tree...dead? :(

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eddie,

I don't know if you are experiencing root rot or not. You can always gently remove the tree from the pot to examine the roots. Slimy or mushy roots indicate a problem. The "white mist" may be nothing more than mineral deposits from hard water or fertilizer. Does it look like "bathroom scale"? Are you keeping the soil at a reasonable level of moisture? Not constantly wet nor allowed to dry out too much, but cycling through thoroughly wet and nearly dry. The moss that you showed earlier may be interfering with your ability to judge the moisture level of the soil.

The tree may indeed be dead you did not say what kind of weather you experienced before you realized there was a problem. No need to now, it will either survive or it won't. You can make a fairly deep but small scratch on the trunk and look for green/living tissue. If you find any that is a good sign if not things are looking bleak. You may find that the branches are all or partly dead and the trunk is still alive.

Don't give up, especially if you "see green" Ficus can just sit around for some time after an event like this, it may still surprise you.

Norm

eddie
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FICUS RETUSA LEAVES NEWBIE HELP

Hi Norm and thanks again for your informative reply...Regards the "scratch" on the trunk - i was discussing this with the missus just before i logged on...sinister... :lol:

Anyway, the lower 3rd of the trunk showed green (no sap though) but above and beyond - including the branches are i think dead! (all branches just broke off when touched) and as for the soil/roots - AOK - Although the moss died off around a week ago!

Q. Owing to the fact that the "living" portion of the tree is below the first set of branches, does this mean there's no return - Can the tissue above that area recover at all or is it the case that i'll be left with a live stump!!!?

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eddie,
Q. Owing to the fact that the "living" portion of the tree is below the first set of branches, does this mean there's no return - Can the tissue above that area recover at all or is it the case that I'll be left with a live stump!!!?
I'm a little confused. Earlier you wrote that all the branches fell off. Regardless, my advice is the same, don't give up. Ficus are resilient and your tree may yet make a recovery and you have nothing to lose. Maintain even moisture in the soil and keep the faith. From your description if it recovers it will probably sprout lower on the trunk.

Worst case scenario, the tree dies but you have learned a lesson. I can't tell you how many trees I have killed. And I mean that literally, I have no idea how many. It is all part of the learning curve that is inherent to bonsai culture. Good luck.

eddie
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Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2007 2:39 pm
Location: Scotland UK

FICUS RETUSA LEAVES NEWBIE HELP

:lol: ...ok - the area below where the first set of branches used to be... :lol: ...

thanks again and it's nice to know I'm not the only one with some learning curves...roll on summer...Thanks again Norm :wink:

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eddie,

You're welcome and I have my fingers crossed for your Ficus.

Norm

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