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Ficus Tree Problems

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Ficus Tree Problems

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Ficus trees are common indoor plants because they don't need a lot of care. There are a couple of problems these trees encounter, such as leaf dropping to bugs, but these can be fixed.

Leaf Loss

Leaf loss is a common problem for ficus trees. It can be normal for the tree to lose about 20 percent of its foliage when its environment is changed, such as being moved to a different place in the house. If the leaves begin to drop but stay green, this is most likely the reason. Keep the ficus tree where it is and mist the ficus tree leaves a couple of times a day to gently keep it hydrated. Leaves lost because of a change in environment will grow back after it adjusts to this new location.

Insects

Two main types of insects infest ficus trees. Mealy bugs are small sucking bugs that crawl out of the soil when the trees are watered. They also exist on tree branches. You can eliminate mealy bugs by spraying a horticultural oil on the bugs, by treating the tree with a soil chemical such as Orthene or by spraying the tree with a soap treatment made out of one tablespoon of soap per pint of water. Centipedes mean the soil was sterilized before the tree went into it. To deal with these, dump the soil out of the pot and rinse the soil off the root system. Replant the tree in new sterilized soil.

Ficus Oozing Sap

Ficus oozing sap is caused by pests, especially mealy bugs. If you do not take care of the bug problems, they could lead to this. If the tree is oozing sap, it will most likely be from small white or bumpy areas on the ficus tree. This problem can be treated with Schultz's Fungicide 3, horticultural oil or a soapy solution of 1 tablespoon of soap per pint of water. If left untreated, the ficus will likely die.

Over and Under Watering

Although ficus trees need consistently moist soil, constantly soggy soil will lead to the leaves yellowing and falling off. The general rule is to feel the soil before watering. If it is damp, wait a day to water it again. The signs of a ficus that is being underwatered are the leaves becoming crunchy and falling off. They may also turn brown. For both overwatering and underwatering, leaf loss will happen, which means about 20% of the leaves will drop off.

Keywords: ficus, tree, problems

About this Author

Lauren Wise has more than eight years' experience as a writer, editor, copywriter and columnist. She specializes in food, wine, music and pop culture. Her writing has appeared in various magazines, including "Runway," "A2Z," "Scottsdale Luxury Living" and "True West." Wise holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Arizona State University.