Help! Tiger Bark Is Not Well

HallieReusch

Seedling
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Help! My Tiger Bark has been steadily losing leaves for the last week or so. From what I can tell, there are two different ways the leaves are falling off of the tree. 1) Some leaves curl into themselves into a little tube vertically, gradually turn dark brown and ultimately fall off. 2) Some leaves turn a slightly lighter shade of green, and fall off but do not curl or crinkle. This tree was bought, repotted, and relocated on January 4th and then pruned and wired on January 5th. Since then, it's gotten 12-14 hours of light a day under a full spectrum LED and has been watered regularly when the soil is dry about an inch down. It's been misted each day with warm water and given a weak dose of fertilizer with every other watering.

So my questions are: What happened and will it survive? Did I give it too much at once? I have two other Tiger Barks that I care for similarly and they are thriving. One of which went through the same thing as this one. Could it be a fungal infection? I'm even more confused because it has healthy looking new growth... See pics below:

Leaves:
Leaves.jpg

New Growth
New Growth.jpg
 

bonsaichile

Chumono
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yes, repot follwed by wiring the next day likely stressed it. Leave it alone. Ficus are notorious for dropping leaves fot almost no reason. You gave this one plenty of reasons! It should bounce back. Next time, do not repot a tree in winter. Proper time to repot a ficus is in late spring.
 

canoeguide

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If it were mine, I'd keep doing what you are doing and try not to worry about it. It has good light, responsible watering, and good soil. The most likely scenario is the work you did has stressed the tree and it needs time to recover. If I remember correctly, you got this at a nursery class, so the timing of the work isn't really your choice. No, it isn't the ideal time of year, but for reference, I just slip potted, pruned, and wired a F. microcarpa tiger bark 2 weeks ago and it's thriving. Your other tree(s) may have been equally stressed but it's not uncommon to perform the same work on two similar trees and see different responses.

A tree without leaves will use a lot less water, so just watch that the soil isn't sopping wet and hopefully this will recover.
 

GSCarlson

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yes, repot follwed by wiring the next day likely stressed it. Leave it alone. Ficus are notorious for dropping leaves fot almost no reason. You gave this one plenty of reasons! It should bounce back. Next time, do not repot a tree in winter. Proper time to repot a ficus is in late spring.
Ficus, and I’m guessing most tropicals, can be repotted at any time of the year. Best to do it when it is just starting a growing cycle, though.
 

bonsaichile

Chumono
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It is not. The leaves look like the typical leave drop of an unhappy ficus. You hace new growth that is healthy. Therefore, no infection
 

HallieReusch

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A tree without leaves will use a lot less water, so just watch that the soil isn't sopping wet and hopefully this will recover.
Strangely, it’s taking up water rather quickly. I’d say within 3 to 4 days. And it’s Michigan winter. Should I still remain conservative on watering? Still just a few spouts of new growth.
 

canoeguide

Mame
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Strangely, it’s taking up water rather quickly. I’d say within 3 to 4 days. And it’s Michigan winter. Should I still remain conservative on watering? Still just a few spouts of new growth.
I'd just water it as it needs it: when the soil seems fairly (but not completely) dry. You've got this in good, free-draining soil so that will help. Keep us updated!
 

penumbra

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Ficus, and I’m guessing most tropicals, can be repotted at any time of the year. Best to do it when it is just starting a growing cycle, though.
This may be true but ficus do a whole lot better with late spring and summer re potting. This is of course very different than temperate zoned plants. I have about 50 to 60 ficus, different types and sizes and there is no comparison to winter to summer potted. Even in my plant room, 70 - 80 F and 45 - 55 % humidity, they still like a bit of winter rest. Also in regard to cuttings, I have nearly 100% sucess in spring and summer and about 50-66% in winter. I suspect the same is true for a lot of tropicals.
 

shinmai

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Strangely, it’s taking up water rather quickly. I’d say within 3 to 4 days. And it’s Michigan winter. Should I still remain conservative on watering? Still just a few spouts of new growth.
If a tropical tree is inside and under lights, the tree doesn’t know that it’s your winter. It may be that the water is not so much being taken up, but evaporating in a low-humidity indoor environment. I’ve had ficus drop leaves if you look at them cross-wise—moving from one room to another can do it. Sounds to me like the issues are simply stress, and with a few days of constancy the tree should bounce back soon.
 

HallieReusch

Seedling
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If a tropical tree is inside and under lights, the tree doesn’t know that it’s your winter. It may be that the water is not so much being taken up, but evaporating in a low-humidity indoor environment. I’ve had ficus drop leaves if you look at them cross-wise—moving from one room to another can do it. Sounds to me like the issues are simply stress, and with a few days of constancy the tree should bounce back soon.
Good point. Temps are still lower than I'd like them to be (even inside), but alas my husband won't let me adjust the thermostat for my trees.

Doing my best to elevate humidity with misting and a diffuser.
 

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