Tiger Bark ficus yellow leaves brown spots dropping a lot

power270lb

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This tree dropped maybe two leaves past 6 months. This week it's dropped a lot. It's been a slow grower, new growth a few months ago then stopped. Currently same thing there's new growth but even them look like what's attached below. It's in a mix of Diatomaceous Earth, lava rock and Pumice. I water this less frequently compared to others. I have a skewer in the soil and it's usually a tad moist so I hold off, no problems. The ficus lord Jerry guy says if it's mostly inorganic u can water daily. Had a Fukien Tea that I underwatered and since I've been going daily the leaves turned from yellow to dark green again. It's currently under 3 spider farmer SF 1000s enclosed in mylar curtains (it's going outside soon) and I had a small humidifier in the center that broke so I moved my heavy duty one under the curtain with a fan. It was blowing right on the pot under a foot away. Am I underwatering or is it from the humidifier? I have neem oil I'm guessing there's a fungus but idk the protocol regarding this and correct way to go forward. Thanks guys
 

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These things can be very difficult to diagnose, and there are multiple possibilities. First off, ficus are evergreen but they will kill off older leaves and drop them, particularly in the spring when they start to get going. Usually the new growth will be healthy in that case, however.

Underwatering could be your problem, but the diatomaceous earth is holding a lot of water so I am guessing not likely. Fungus is possible, particularly because your humidifier may have been keeping the leaves, stems and soil quite moist. Lastly, your tree may have a bug infestation. The most common are spider mites and scale. Look for sticky residue on the leaves and stems, and in the case of spider mites you will see very fine webs covered in dots - especially around the leaf axils and new buds. Scale are shaped a little like a "roly poly" bug, but smaller, smoother and the shell is attached to the leaf.

I have a few bits of advice for you:

1) Turn off the humidifier just in case. It might not be the problem, but it is not necessarily helping.
2) Keep up whatever you are doing on the watering, as long as you are never going more than 2-3 days at a time.
3) Pour over-the-counter hydrogen peroxide (3% - the kind in the brown bottle) over the soil to kill off any pathogens that may be lurking there.
4) If you must move the tree outside, start off in full shade and move it bit by bit so that only after a couple of weeks is it in full sun.
5) If you find signs of a bug infestation, spray at least twice - a couple of days apart - with an insecticidal soap solution. I use water, neem oil and dish soap in a ratio of 1200:2:1. To save you the math, that means a half teaspoon of oil and a quarter teaspoon of soap in 1.5qts warm water.

Good luck!
 

power270lb

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These things can be very difficult to diagnose, and there are multiple possibilities. First off, ficus are evergreen but they will kill off older leaves and drop them, particularly in the spring when they start to get going. Usually the new growth will be healthy in that case, however.

Underwatering could be your problem, but the diatomaceous earth is holding a lot of water so I am guessing not likely. Fungus is possible, particularly because your humidifier may have been keeping the leaves, stems and soil quite moist. Lastly, your tree may have a bug infestation. The most common are spider mites and scale. Look for sticky residue on the leaves and stems, and in the case of spider mites you will see very fine webs covered in dots - especially around the leaf axils and new buds. Scale are shaped a little like a "roly poly" bug, but smaller, smoother and the shell is attached to the leaf.

I have a few bits of advice for you:

1) Turn off the humidifier just in case. It might not be the problem, but it is not necessarily helping.
2) Keep up whatever you are doing on the watering, as long as you are never going more than 2-3 days at a time.
3) Pour over-the-counter hydrogen peroxide (3% - the kind in the brown bottle) over the soil to kill off any pathogens that may be lurking there.
4) If you must move the tree outside, start off in full shade and move it bit by bit so that only after a couple of weeks is it in full sun.
5) If you find signs of a bug infestation, spray at least twice - a couple of days apart - with an insecticidal soap solution. I use water, neem oil and dish soap in a ratio of 1200:2:1. To save you the math, that means a half teaspoon of oil and a quarter teaspoon of soap in 1.5qts warm water.

Good luck!
Appreciate the advice 👍. So this week I noticed spidermites on my brand new desert rose, isolated it and did everything u suggested except the peroxide which I have (3%). Do I dilute the peroxide? Ive sprayed with neem but it's a mix of neem, soap and cayenne pepper. I'm genuinely thinking of ordering predatory mites. Noticed another on my schefflera so I had my GF go through every plant top to bottom with a q-tip. She then noticed a bad infestation on my Brazilian rain tree which I'm guessing is the origin plant. They were all in the same area touching so to be safe I took every tree and sprayed with my sink hose in every nook and cranny (twice) then heavily sprayed. My setup is 3 spider farmers with mylar on the walls, the counter and mylar curtains so I changed the mylar on the counter and wiped everything down. Totally paranoid now but you definitely recommend peroxide? Another guy on this site recommended submerging the trees in water for 24 hours. He's pretty active on this site but idk if im comfortable doing that.
 

Cadillactaste

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Would love to see the set up you have your trees in...mind sharing a photo. I don't do an enclosed environment...because I seen many leave the hobby over battling pests and fungal with enclosed areas. I've done well with my tropical with good open air situations. I would NOT soak my trees in water for 24 hours. I've never been told that...I've been doing bonsai for almost eight years. If I had to do tropical in an enclosed setting...I would not do tropical. Not with the amount of problems they create. That's me...

TIGERBARK IN GROW CART 2021.jpg

I see new growth on the tips of the Tigerbark...but also what looks to be a black spot on an area of newer growth. I would offer good ventilation...if enclosed open the space up more. You mentioned spider mites on the adenium. Was it in close proximity to the tigerbark? I might treat for a three in one deal to hit all areas.
3 in one fungicide.jpg
 
Messages
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The peroxide is to eliminate fungus and other potential pathogens in the root tissue, and you can just dump it on without diluting.

I have used water immersion for particularly bad bug infestations, but never longer than a couple hours. Plants meed to breathe, too. But they can hold it longer than bugs can.
 

power270lb

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Would love to see the set up you have your trees in...mind sharing a photo. I don't do an enclosed environment...because I seen many leave the hobby over battling pests and fungal with enclosed areas. I've done well with my tropical with good open air situations. I would NOT soak my trees in water for 24 hours. I've never been told that...I've been doing bonsai for almost eight years. If I had to do tropical in an enclosed setting...I would not do tropical. Not with the amount of problems they create. That's me...

View attachment 374537

I see new growth on the tips of the Tigerbark...but also what looks to be a black spot on an area of newer growth. I would offer good ventilation...if enclosed open the space up more. You mentioned spider mites on the adenium. Was it in close proximity to the tigerbark? I might treat for a three in one deal to hit all areas.
View attachment 374536
I've attached a video, this is only my main setup A dozen trees outside, 8 more on my kitchen window sill, another dozen on my living room window sill. I started bonsai literally late November this past year so I've gone a tad nuts lol. Long story but this world sucked me in. I'm on a 5th floor west facing balcony but my GF and I are moving June 1st 12 blocks up the road to a place with much more space and finally a big open patio with an outside attached room that's unheated so I can stick my trees that need to go dormant there.
What tree is that with the gnarly trunk? Wow that thing is cool. I've researched and seen people dunk for 30-60 minutes with success but if these mites aren't gone by the time we move im buying ladybugs and predatory mites. I moved the humidifier and attached a hose so it's above all my trees now. Have a fan as well but I'm gonna move it and bump it up. The desert rose is recovering as well, I just got it three weeks ago and thought that was the source of the spidermites. The ficus was on the other side and had my GF go through every tree with a magnifying glass. So far the only ones infected were my Brazilian rain tree which is in really bad shape now, my elm had a few and the rose. They were all next to each other.
Full setup
 

power270lb

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The peroxide is to eliminate fungus and other potential pathogens in the root tissue, and you can just dump it on without diluting.

I have used water immersion for particularly bad bug infestations, but never longer than a couple hours. Plants meed to breathe, too. But they can hold it longer than bugs can.
Copy that how much would u recommend dumping?
 

power270lb

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Doesn't really matter, but I would just cover the soil surface and keep going until it pours from the drainage holes. Nice start to your collection, by the way!
Any suggestions on a Brazilian rain tree? That got the worst of the spidermites, in rough shape
 

Cadillactaste

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Any suggestions on a Brazilian rain tree? That got the worst of the spidermites, in rough shape
Treat and hope for the best. Follow the regiment of the bottle and be diligent on repeat treatments. I tend to sent the calendar on my phone. For a lot...of things out on the calendar. Like when my tree has spent the amount of time to acclimate. Working to set order of the tree...I will get an alert.
 

HorseloverFat

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I have three indoor spaces (I count 2.5, realistically. 🤣 One is an enclosed room with emphasis on consistent MEDIUM humidity (55-65 ((This Room’s AVERAGE reads 62 percent))), Ventilation, high-airflow, and close, intense lights... when I started this room, my humidity would bounce between 75-80 percent.. (sometimes higher)... I though this was GREAT.. until the entire room would succumb to fungus.. it was a CONSTANT battle (This WAS also before I did more “work/adjustment” to the overall airflow/ventilation in the room.)

It was actually in another thread, speaking with @Cadillactaste , I had fixed my airflow/freshness issues and still was struggling..

She recommended lowering the humidity.. she told me that Jerry had said 55 is completely acceptable... soooo I dropped the humidity.. aaaaand smoooooth sailin’

Thanks, Darlene!

🤓
 

Cadillactaste

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I have three indoor spaces (I count 2.5, realistically. 🤣 One is an enclosed room with emphasis on consistent MEDIUM humidity (55-65 ((This Room’s AVERAGE reads 62 percent))), Ventilation, high-airflow, and close, intense lights... when I started this room, my humidity would bounce between 75-80 percent.. (sometimes higher)... I though this was GREAT.. until the entire room would succumb to fungus.. it was a CONSTANT battle (This WAS also before I did more “work/adjustment” to the overall airflow/ventilation in the room.)

It was actually in another thread, speaking with @Cadillactaste , I had fixed my airflow/freshness issues and still was struggling..

She recommended lowering the humidity.. she told me that Jerry had said 55 is completely acceptable... soooo I dropped the humidity.. aaaaand smoooooth sailin’

Thanks, Darlene!

🤓
Welcome... I don't even strive for 55 for humidity...30 is my low number...in dead winter when running wood heat. My trees do well...we aren't growing aerial roots. But overall health is bang on.
 

Cadillactaste

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I've attached a video, this is only my main setup A dozen trees outside, 8 more on my kitchen window sill, another dozen on my living room window sill. I started bonsai literally late November this past year so I've gone a tad nuts lol. Long story but this world sucked me in. I'm on a 5th floor west facing balcony but my GF and I are moving June 1st 12 blocks up the road to a place with much more space and finally a big open patio with an outside attached room that's unheated so I can stick my trees that need to go dormant there.
What tree is that with the gnarly trunk? Wow that thing is cool. I've researched and seen people dunk for 30-60 minutes with success but if these mites aren't gone by the time we move im buying ladybugs and predatory mites. I moved the humidifier and attached a hose so it's above all my trees now. Have a fan as well but I'm gonna move it and bump it up. The desert rose is recovering as well, I just got it three weeks ago and thought that was the source of the spidermites. The ficus was on the other side and had my GF go through every tree with a magnifying glass. So far the only ones infected were my Brazilian rain tree which is in really bad shape now, my elm had a few and the rose. They were all next to each other.
Full setup
Thanks.. it's a tigerbark ficus. I can't view your video currently. My guys are downloading updates to games...will try and remember to come back and check it out.
 

Cadillactaste

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Yeah, okay got to view the video...That...makes me get tense. Just...me. Early on and reading about everyone fighting fungal and pests from enclosed areas. It's actually what made me pause on adding ficus early on. Thinking one must have high humidity...and when I learned that false. I opened my bench to ficus. I need open space and air flow for my peace of mind. This is my set up. I do enjoy seeing my trees in the open space. I did deal with scale this winter on the tigerbark... But a quick systematic and it was cleared up. I don't use it on flowering unless I removed buds and didn't permit flowers while I have neighbors who are bee keepers. I prefer being responsible.

I do however...grasp some just, prefer this method. For that...I wish you success. If you seen spider mites on any in that environment...I would treat everything. Because they are creepy buggers.
Sun room with two grow areas.jpg
 

power270lb

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I have three indoor spaces (I count 2.5, realistically. 🤣 One is an enclosed room with emphasis on consistent MEDIUM humidity (55-65 ((This Room’s AVERAGE reads 62 percent))), Ventilation, high-airflow, and close, intense lights... when I started this room, my humidity would bounce between 75-80 percent.. (sometimes higher)... I though this was GREAT.. until the entire room would succumb to fungus.. it was a CONSTANT battle (This WAS also before I did more “work/adjustment” to the overall airflow/ventilation in the room.)

It was actually in another thread, speaking with @Cadillactaste , I had fixed my airflow/freshness issues and still was struggling..

She recommended lowering the humidity.. she told me that Jerry had said 55 is completely acceptable... soooo I dropped the humidity.. aaaaand smoooooth sailin’

Thanks, Darlene!

🤓
I honestly think the tiger bark is having problems due to lack of circulation and this humidifier being heavy duty. Where does one acquire a humidity gauge?
 

power270lb

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Yeah, okay got to view the video...That...makes me get tense. Just...me. Early on and reading about everyone fighting fungal and pests from enclosed areas. It's actually what made me pause on adding ficus early on. Thinking one must have high humidity...and when I learned that false. I opened my bench to ficus. I need open space and air flow for my peace of mind. This is my set up. I do enjoy seeing my trees in the open space. I did deal with scale this winter on the tigerbark... But a quick systematic and it was cleared up. I don't use it on flowering unless I removed buds and didn't permit flowers while I have neighbors who are bee keepers. I prefer being responsible.

I do however...grasp some just, prefer this method. For that...I wish you success. If you seen spider mites on any in that environment...I would treat everything. Because they are creepy buggers.
View attachment 374620
It's only because I had no space outside (5th floor balcony) there is a fan but I'm now realizing the heavy humidifier was a problem. Tbh I just wanted aerial roots and I'm giving up on them I'll just buy trees with.
 

Cadillactaste

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It's only because I had no space outside (5th floor balcony) there is a fan but I'm now realizing the heavy humidifier was a problem. Tbh I just wanted aerial roots and I'm giving up on them I'll just buy trees with.
That honestly is the wisest direction...you won't fight an uphill battle. I'm all about simplifying and making the journey as easy as possible.

Jason Schley... Has some quirky material for a decent price. If you ship anything...go for FedEx. USPS are still having trouble with turnover time with packages being in sorting facilities to long. Be safe. If you don't have Facebook...I can look up the link to his online website. But I find contacting him in person with exactly what I want...and a price point gets me exactly what I want. No nursery lists everything on their sites.
 

power270lb

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That honestly is the wisest direction...you won't fight an uphill battle. I'm all about simplifying and making the journey as easy as possible.

Jason Schley... Has some quirky material for a decent price. If you ship anything...go for FedEx. USPS are still having trouble with turnover time with packages being in sorting facilities to long. Be safe. If you don't have Facebook...I can look up the link to his online website. But I find contacting him in person with exactly what I want...and a price point gets me exactly what I want. No nursery lists everything on their sites.
So an update on all. The ficus is outside but still dropping leaves, lost roughly 50% of the leaves it had but there's a ton of new growth. Idk if the tree is just replacing old leaves? The bark is all green but to make sure I sprayed with bioadvanced fungicide because the same thing is happening on a dwarf pitch apple I have. Roughly how often would u water the tiger bark? It's in a mix of Diatomaceous Earth, lava rock and Pumice but it stays moist longer than others in the same mix. If the first two inches are dry but deeper it's moist do u water? Also the rain tree was a lost cause so I defoliated the whole thing and repotted. Didn't touch the roots, anytime id move it it'd drop 20 leaves. Put it outside and there's new growth. The tiger bark is freaking me out tho.
 

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