TOPIC: Scale? on Ficus(Too Little)Benjamina

Scale? on Ficus(Too Little)Benjamina 7 years 1 week ago #1046

Hi All,

Well, here is my poor baby...with her bugs! :unsure: While at the Bonsai Club meeting the other night I was told it is "Scale". I read the section on this site on pests and diseases and apparently scale is a sucking insect. Treatment recommended is a chemical or organic insecticide. I was also told by a couple of club members to dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and wipe away any signs of the critters with the wet swab.

I am including several photos. I think some of what I see are discarded sacks or casings of the bug? There are about 3 photos where you can see the leaves are discoloured to a kind of blue-ish green with rust on the outer edge of the leaf. I tried to get a photo of the live creature however, they drop off very easily with movement of the leaf. There is one photo showing a black-ish looking thing...I don't know what *that* is. Hope it's not a different type of bug. ?

Any thoughts, suggestions or advice are most welcome....please! :(

Leslie

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Re: Scale? on Ficus(Too Little)Benjamina 7 years 1 week ago #1058

aoch,

That is one sick puppy you have there!

Two things to do:
- Get rid of the critters
- Give your plant something to live for

If I look at the scale on the plant, you may be in luck; The ones you took photos of are already dead. When they are alive, they are like little caps pressed tightly against the leave. The fact that there is so much space between them and the leave, indicates the scale is dead. that does not mean there are no live ones though!

If this were my plant.. I would take a normal water spraying device (No clue as to what you cal these things!). Put in a good spoonfull of dishwashing soap (Actual soap, not the chemical fake stuff, best it traditional soft soap), and a shotglass of rubbing alcohol and fill with luke-warm water. Then spray the whole plant dripping wet. After half an hour, take the ficus to your shower and with luke-warm water wash her down completely. If a lot of your soapy water runs into the top, it might be a good idea to fill the washbasin with water, and put the plant in it after rinsing: This way you will dilute soap from the roots. Then drain the plant of the excess water. If you want, you can then water a little with liquid fertiliser, normal strength.

Place the plant out of direct sun but bright light, and out of the wind. It should recover just fine. Ficus Benjamina is very hardy.
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Re: Scale? on Ficus(Too Little)Benjamina 7 years 1 week ago #1067

Awhh Jelle,

I can always count on your excellent advice and support. Thank you so much! :) The photos that I posted here, of which several are duplicates, are the only leaves that have scale on them, so it's not a mass infection yet.

The odd, live bug I have seen is very similar to the colour of the bark, has an elongated, oval shape...sort of like a cigar, and very tiny in size. And yes, as you say...they seem to press themselves very tightly into the little crevice between the leaf and center spine of the leaf. As I was trying to photograph one of them, it dropped off into the soil...which concerns me. It is impossible to tell if there are any on the bark and in the soil so they will both need to treated as well. I think I will remove the three leaves that are quite discoloured because I think they are dying or dead already.

I imagine you have seen this before, with your educational background, and have used the spray solution/method you have suggested? Will one spray application be enough to kill them off? I will give my Ficus a good spray this morning.

I'm also concerned about other plants that have been surrounding my Ficus. Should I treat those as well? I apologise for all the questions...this is completey new to me. Thanks again for your help, J. It is so appreciated.

Leslie
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Re: Scale? on Ficus(Too Little)Benjamina 7 years 1 week ago #1068

Don't remove the leaves.
The leaves have nutrients in them Even if they are dying: The plant will extract whatever is in there before dropping the leaves (THat is actually what causes the autum colors..).

Yes, i have successfully used this spray; Also on Ficus. I would not worry about them being in the soil: They will typically adhere themselves above-ground.

As for spreading.. Dificult: All sorts of pests are constantly around. Only a plant that is weakened is really at risk of infection. Most plants are not. Also, some species have bigger risk than others.

One application will not get rid of them. You will need to repeat at least once in a week or so. Then keep checking the plant. Good that you noticed their favorite sport: In the link between leaf and branch. But anywhere near the 'veigns' is good for them.

The scale may vary from dark brown/blakish all the way to bright green. You might need to put on glasses if you have them (I know I do when inspecting my plants). Fisucs is also an easy target for the spider mites when unhappy.. Fortunate;y the same treatment helps. In general: Ficus likes moist air better than dry air; I spray mine a few times a week with normal water to assist in keeping the mites out the door.
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Re: Scale? on Ficus(Too Little)Benjamina 7 years 1 week ago #1070

PS: looks like the plant was treated already once before; The dead scale is not normal; You typically see that after treating the plants. Is this the tree you got at bonsai club? That would be nasty..
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Re: Scale? on Ficus(Too Little)Benjamina 7 years 1 week ago #1074

Hi J,

Yes, this is the tree that I got from a member of the Bonsai Club...the lady I'd mentioned before in other posts. She keeps some of the Club's supplies at her house including the two Ficus; mine is one of those two which were kept outside in her small backyard with her own collection of Bonsai trees.

It's not surprising then that it is infected. When I went to her place to buy the tree the only thing I'd been told was that it had been re-potted and "defoliated" in July. However, when I contacted her by email a few days "after" buying the tree, I asked her for any information on the history of the tree (for my personal notes). This is what she sent me:

-" bought for MBS Club workshop from nursery - February/March 2011
- very basic styling - June 2011
- repotted - July 2011
- suffered heat stress...dropped leaves - July 2011"

My little Ficus was recovering with new leaves (and a few bare branches) when I purchased in on Friday, July 29, 2011. I had asked her if the bare branches were dead and she said "no, they're just slow coming". When I took my Ficus to the Club meeting this past Tuesday however, another member checked the branches and said "yes, they are dead" then proceeded to showed me how to clip them off.

Now, with your observation that it looks as tho my *Jamina* has been treated before, this poor little tree has been through a huge amount of stress recently. That is why I was a little *miffed* to find out after I'd bought the tree that it had not been defoliated as she'd said but rather it had dropped it's leaves due to the heat stress. Now I find out that it has previously been treated??? It appears I have been lied to three times and that is definitely *nasty*! :angry:

I can't thank you enough, J for all the helpful advice you have shared. :cheer:

Leslie
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Re: Scale? on Ficus(Too Little)Benjamina 7 years 1 week ago #1086

When I met with the Bonsai club this week it was recommended to me to place my Ficus Too Little into a larger, training pot. This dish it is in now is quite small and shallow measuring 5.5" wide x 8" long x 1.5" high...these are the outside measurements of the dish including the feet. I'm concerned about creating too much additional stress on my Ficus after treating it for the scale or, will placing her in a larger pot be beneficial for her? :huh:

Leslie

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Re: Scale? on Ficus(Too Little)Benjamina 7 years 1 week ago #1089

The plant will be very thankfull if you do that. Just make sure: Take it out of the current pot with as little damage to the roots as possible, and just place it in a new pot.

Against all advice you may hear on fora / groups on ficus: I keep my ficus moist at all times. For a bonsai it is not nice, as you will get loads of calcium deposits on the pot. The plants love it. I did tell you about this ficus which easily grows a meter per year in my office, right? That sits on a dish filled with water, and gets about 5 liters of water a day. The soil never dries out, and the tree is just amazing. Just make sure the roots are nog submerged in the water.

A ficus is a very hardy plant. You should be able to get it back to health..
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Re: Scale? on Ficus(Too Little)Benjamina 7 years 1 week ago #1097

WHEW! :blink: Okay! Little Jamina got her treatment today! :woohoo:

It poured rain all morning then finally stopped at noon so I could take her outside for her spray treatment. I placed her dish inside a plastic bag which I tied around the base of her trunk. Then I placed my flat hand over the top of the soil and turned her upside down. This way I was able to give the underside of the leaves, the branches and trunk a good soaking with the spray while catching any of the soil that fell out into the bag. I then removed the bag and turned her right-side up and did the same from the top.

For any of you non-believers out there...she was hollering "Uuaahh..what are you doing to me?...wait!...stop! What did I ever do to you to deserve this? Nnnnnoooooooo!" :ohmy:

I brought her inside and let her sit for a full half hour. She was sulking. :( I then took her into the bathroom and with tepid water gave her a good rinse down under the shower, again using a clean plastic bag to catch any soil. Jamina was singing by this time :silly: (the dreaded itching had stopped) I carefully removed the bag and gave her soil a major soaking under the shower as well. Ugh! What a mess in the bathtub! However, I had a strainer in the drain hole and was able to save most of the soil. When I finished, I carefully replaced the soil from the tub and the bag back into her dish and over her roots.

Tomorrow I will go get some wire and other stuff I need to repot her. Did I do good, huh? :cheer:
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Re: Scale? on Ficus(Too Little)Benjamina 7 years 6 days ago #1119

Looks like you did ok, but I'm no expert. Nice to know I'm not the only one hearing trees talk! :lol:
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