Ask a Question forum→Fiddle Head Fig Distress

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Chicago, IL
BigLeaf
May 11, 2020 7:10 AM CST
I have had this beautiful Fiddlehead for several months. She began getting yellow leaves and lost quite a few before I realized she had root rot. I transplanted a week ago and all seemed well until today when I notice what I fear is bacterial infection. I have been babying this plant. Checking soil with the moisture meter every other day, careful to not over water, etc. This is my first Fiddlehead and I am in love with this plant. I've read that you are supposed to cut off all the infected leaves. I don't want to nor do I know how. Any help would be appreciated. I'm wondering if she got this because I didn't clean my garden tools? Or was it stress from transplanting a week ago.
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[Last edited by BigLeaf - May 11, 2020 7:13 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #2234959 (1)
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
May 11, 2020 9:15 AM CST
Welcome! What you read is not accurate. Your FLF does not have a bacterial or any other infection. Damaged leaves can be trimmed to make the plant LOOK better, but doing so has no effect on the plant's health or future growth.

No doubt, yours is reacting to the transplanting that was not necessary. It may take a couple of weeks before it stabilizes and stops losing some lower leaves. Allow the top half-inch of soil to get dry and then water it thoroughly enough that some water trickles through the drain holes. Don't rely on the moisture meter at all.

For future reference, get your plant information on this site rather than from some random online source.

Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Chicago, IL
BigLeaf
May 11, 2020 11:03 AM CST
Thank you so much for the quick response. There is an awful lot of information out there and they all say to use the moisture meter. I took photos to the local nursery when I self diagnosed the root rot and they told me to scrape off the calcium deposits. The root ball was wet and the top of the soil was root bound. Happy to know she is on her way to recovery.

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I appreciate your help.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
May 11, 2020 2:39 PM CST
Moisture meters are popular with retailers because they make money selling them. They are popular with users because they seem to make it easy to water.

When was the middle of the last three photos taken?
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Chicago, IL
BigLeaf
May 11, 2020 8:56 PM CST
Hello. The middle photo was taken May 1st. The plant was purchased March 8th and the top soil looked pretty much the same as in the May 1 photo. The girl at the nursery asked if I planned on repotting and suggested I only go up 1 inch in pot size. When I decided to repot I trimmed back a majority of the roots and broke through the hard top soil. As I mentioned, it was difficult to even get the moisture meter into the soil as the top was so crusty. The plant seemed to be draining well and I was very cautious with watering, only doing so once a week. After repotting the plant is a little wobbly in the soil but I am hesitant to pack the soil. Thanks again for your time and advice.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
May 12, 2020 7:13 AM CST
For future reference, the root system was quite healthy prior to the repotting, although it may not appear that way to the untrained eye. It is generally not a good idea to disturb roots and especially pruning them. Fortunately, Ficus species are quite tough and hardy so yours will probably survive but don't be surprised to see additional lower leaf yellowing.

I will be curious to see how it is doing in a few months.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Chicago, IL
BigLeaf
May 12, 2020 7:26 AM CST
Say a prayer! I read it should be fertilized in spring summer months. Is it ok to do that now? Thank you.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
May 12, 2020 7:32 AM CST
Ignore those generalized rules. They are based on healthy plants growing in greenhouse conditions. Yours has lots of fresh soil with more than enough nutrients for the next year or more.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Chicago, IL
BigLeaf
May 14, 2020 8:47 AM CST
Good Morning Will,
I am counting on you to solve this final mystery. Every single time I have watered Big Leaf she loses leaves. Her leaves turn yellow mostly at the base of the plant within 2 days of watering and fall off. She's running short on leaves now. I have waited as long as 2 weeks between watering and as little as one week. I have tried all methods of watering, in the shower, in the tub taking water in from the base, sprinkling the top soil. I have given her as little as a single cup of water and still the same effect. Within 2 days, yellow leaves and droppings. Is something wrong with my water?


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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
May 14, 2020 9:05 AM CST
It is normal for a plant to lose its older, lower leaves as it adds healthy new leaves elsewhere. Plants also react to stress (the repotting in this case) by shedding older lower leaves first. The connection between the watering and leaf yellowing is coincidental, not causal.

Because of the unorthodox way you repotted, I dodn' know how to advise you on proper watering.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Chicago, IL
BigLeaf
May 14, 2020 11:11 AM CST
Hi Will,
I did not repot the plant until well over a month of moving it home. It was having this yellow leaf reaction from the very beginning before repotting. I am almost afraid to water. If only I had found you sooner! Thanks for the help.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
May 15, 2020 7:55 AM CST
It is a common reaction to "fix" a variety of plant problems by repotting or by replacing the soil. Unfortunately, that rarely fixes anything but does create a series of new problems. Shrug!

Don't let your fear of overwatering go overboard. FLF's don't tolerate dry soil as well as some other plants. Do you best to keep the soil around the roots damp but not wet at all times. Crossing Fingers!
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Chicago, IL
BigLeaf
May 15, 2020 2:41 PM CST
Thanks Will. My fingers are crossed too. I expect her to get worse before she gets better!
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
May 16, 2020 8:07 AM CST
You've got the right idea!
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Chicago, IL
BigLeaf
Aug 17, 2020 7:08 AM CST
Good Morning Will,
Writing to give you an update on Big Leaf. She has done well this summer and no longer is dropping any leaves! Even after her weekly watering. She has however developed a bug problem. At least I think that is what it is although I can't see the bug. Something is nibbling at the leaves and making holes. A lot of them. I sprayed some Neem oil on about a week ago but the problem persists. I know you have told me I can trim the leaves but there are a lot. What is the solution?

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Chicago, IL
BigLeaf
Sep 28, 2020 11:56 AM CST
Hello,
I believe my Fig Tree has rust. How do I cure this.
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Name: John
Pomona/Riverside CA (Zone 9a)
CPPgardener
Sep 28, 2020 12:27 PM CST
Your fig does not have rust nor is anything eating holes in the leaves. The spots and holes are from physical damage to the leaves from the repotting and being moved around. In the last picture it looks like there is some potting soil stuck to the leaf and possibly some natural "fuzz" the plants produce on new growth.
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