Ask a Question forum: Help with a sick rubber tree

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Nashville, TN
Imanjarad
Dec 19, 2017 11:57 PM CST
Hi,

I've been growing a potted rubber tree indoors in my house in TN for about 4 months now. I use Fox Farms soil and have it in a terrocatta pot that gives the root ball about an inch and a half of room on all sides. The tree is about 3 feet tall now and sits in an east facing window. I keep the temperature in my room between 65-70 degrees and the humidity between 40-55%.

Over the past few weeks, the leaves closest to the tree trunk have been developing brown spots and eventually yellowing and dropping. I tried adjusting the watering schedule a few different times but the problem has persisted. About a week ago, I repotted and flushed out the roots really well but the browning hasn't decreased. I also did some pruning and loosened the root ball a little bit because it was extremely tight and I was concerned that the inner roots weren't getting enough water/oxygen.

Since the problem has continued, I'm concerned that my tree has some sort of fungal or bacterial disease and I'm not sure how to treat it. I occasionally rub the leaves down with a neem oil mixture from dynagro when they look dusty and have been removing the discolored leaves once they look too far gone. The newest leaves on the outer part of the tree still appear to be healthy. Any help identifying the issue would be greatly appreciated.
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
Image
WillC
Dec 20, 2017 6:04 AM CST
Please post a photo that shows the entire plant, including its pot.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Nashville, TN
Imanjarad
Dec 20, 2017 8:20 AM CST

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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
Image
WillC
Dec 21, 2017 6:10 PM CST
I think your Rubber Plant is reacting to root trauma. In general, roots do not like to be disturbed, especially the tiny root hairs that do most of the work. Repotting, flushing, and loosening of the rootball have all contributed to the trauma.

An inch and a half of new soil around the original rootball is a lot. That excess soil is like a sponge that absorbs and retains moisture around the roots for a long time and that can cause root suffocation.

I suggest that you remove any soil that you added to the top of the original rootball as it serves no purpose, but does tend to keep the soil in the root zone from drying out regularly. Then, water only when the top half-inch of soil is dry. Provide only enough water so that it reaches that same level of dryness again in about a week.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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