Avatar for Plntlubber
Jul 7, 2015 6:21 PM CST
San Francisco, ca
We've had a ficus tree for over 30 years in the home. It's more than 8 feet tall and has been repotted 3-4 times in its lifetime; the most recent repotting occurred about 7 months ago. Shortly after being repotted the ficus started getting large brownish white spots with tiny black dots and is frequently dropping leaves. What disease is this and how can we cure the plant? We really don't want to lose it after all these years! Thanks!
Thumb of 2015-07-08/Plntlubber/a0a01f
Thumb of 2015-07-08/Plntlubber/6f66ac
Avatar for Dutchlady1
Jul 7, 2015 6:27 PM CST

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Welcome! plntlubber.
We've had Ficus whitefly in our area; I'm not sure but that might be what you have. There is a specific remedy for that. Here is a good article.
Jul 8, 2015 10:16 AM CST
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
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Spider mites may also do damage that looks like that. At the left side of your second picture I was thinking there may be some tiny webs. Take a look with a magnifying glass.

If that's what you find, is there any way you can take the tree outside and hose it off? If you can do that a few times in the next week or two, that will break the life cycle of the spider mites without using a whole lot of chemical stuff. If you can't do that, the next non-toxic method is a soapy water spray, 1/2 tsp. dish soap to a quart spray bottle and spray the whole thing, tops and bottoms of leaves, stems, soil surface and all. You'll have to repeat the soap treatment within a week as well, to get the next generation that may be still unhatched. Three treatments is best.

But I like the hose method above all, and the plant will love being washed, too.

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Avatar for Plntlubber
Jul 8, 2015 11:02 AM CST
San Francisco, ca
Thanks dutchlady1 and dyzzypyxxy! I dont think its bugs because when I rub the leaves, the spots don't come off. The leaves are still in tact too so nothing is munching on them. I'll look closer for spider mites.
Avatar for Ficus
Oct 30, 2016 4:17 PM CST

Hello. I have the same problem with my 20 year old. Did you find something that worked?
Thank you.
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