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Question: ficus sick bonsai
Hi! I have for 5 years a splendid specimen of ficus macrocarpa bonsai. I have always kept it during the winter in a greenhouse together with other plants and in fine weather outside in a shady place. Reinvasato every 2 years and annual pruning. Everything is fine until about a month ago when the leaves have begun to have black spots on the center that grow in a circular way up to the diameter of almost a centimeter after which the leaf turns yellow and falls. On the advice of a bonsaist I know, I treated with copper sulphate but without results. What can I do? Please give me some advice or instructions to get you pictures of the sick leaves to make your problem clearer. Thanks
Answer: ficus sick bonsai
without seeing the photos, usually black spots are associated with a particular fungal parasite, or scab, which typically afflicts roses; in the case of scab you use copper-based products, as the nurseryman you asked correctly correctly suggested; in fact, however, it is a fungus that is quite difficult to eradicate. Usually we start by removing all the leaves that show obvious signs of illness and burn them; then, to avoid that any spores present on the branches, on the leaves that still look healthy, and on the ground, at least 3-4 treatments are repeated with copper-based products, after about 15 days.
In cases of persistent scab, which recurs with the passage of time, we also use broad-spectrum fungicides, or in your case systemic, that is to use to water the plant, so that they enter the lymphatic circle of the same, also working from prevention against scab. A cool and humid climate, with intervals of hot and dry days, with strong temperature changes between day and night, is certainly the best climate for propagating mushrooms of all kinds; therefore the systemic fungicide would work as a prevention also from other fungal diseases.
All this, assuming that your plant has a fungal disease; this hypothesis is made considering that on the leaves there are black spots, and considering that you have been treating bonsai for some years, and therefore I think you are a passionate bonsai artist who is well aware of the needs of his plants.
Because black spots can actually be problematic differences, among which the most widespread is an excess of watering; but in my opinion if you had problems with the amount of water to supply your bonsai, the plant would have manifested various symptoms of all kinds over the years.
So I think it's plausible that it's scab; before supplying the fungicide I remind you to remove the diseased leaves, practicing a light pruning, or even just the defoliation. If you use a pair of scissors, remember to clean it with alcohol after each cut, to avoid favoring the displacement of the fungus spores between the various branches.