Ficus trees, also known as "weeping figs," are indoor trees with branches that hang down. These trees are actually quite hardy, but they easily drop their leaves, causing many people to think that they are dying when they actually just have a minor affliction or a curable ficus disease. Being aware of the signs and symptoms of problems with your ficus can help you treat it quickly and effectively so that the tree recovers as soon as possible.
Leaf spot is caused by a fungal infection on the leaves of the ficus tree that causes small, black spots to form on the leaves of your tree. Left to grow unchecked, these spots will develop yellow rings and spread. Eventually, the spots will grow and kill the leaves. Control leaf spot by removing all infected leaves from the tree and disposing of them in sealed bags or by burning. You can also treat the spots with a bactericide or fungicide containing copper.
An anthracnose infection first manifests itself as yellow and dark brown blotches on the leaves of a ficus tree. If you do not treat the infection, yellow masses of spores will grow on the bottoms of the leaf and eventually kill the leaves and possibly the tree. You can treat anthracnose by sterile pruning of impacted foliage. Dispose of the foliage in a sealed bag to prevent the spread of infection and isolate the tree from other ficus trees until you can be certain that the infection is gone.
Spider Mites and Mealy Bugs
Spider mites and mealy bugs infest ficus trees. Spider mites are hard to see but leave telltale white webbing in the crooks of leaves and branches. Mealybugs are larger and look woolly. Treat both of these infestations with horticultural oil to make the ficus untenable to the insects or you can remove minor infestations by hand. A diluted soap spray on the top and bottom of the leaves can help prohibit these problems.