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Ficus Trees

Q.Ficus losing leaves

Zone Northern New Jersey. | Crtrfxr added on August 1, 2014 | Answered

My ficus is thirty years old, repotted2 yrs ago. Some trimming but nothing major past year. Losing leaves with dead twigs and some dead branches. There is new growth but tree was a lot fuller years back.  Major branches trimmed years ago and area where trimmed has some black spots. Used to be in kitchen now in livingroom for about a year. Should I repot, move, trim? Should I put it outside? I was afraid it would get sunburn. Do people come to house to treat ailing houseplants? I don’t want to lose this tree my grandmother started it. Thank you.

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Answered on August 1, 2014

As I'm sure you know, the first thing ficus trees do when they lose light is to drop leaves. So was there more light in the kitchen than in the living room? Or any other place it's been? If so, it would simply be trying to adjust to the light. Perhaps you can increase its light, but don't put it into the sun - leaves are much like skin in that they can sunburn if they aren't accustomed to sunlight. However, if you have a nice shady place under trees, that's a great place for summer R&R.
Another thing that I like to do when I feel that a ficus is somehow "not right" is to leach the soil -- run a quantity of water through it, about 5X the volume of soil. This washes out salt build up.
The black spots where the limbs were trimmed some time ago don't look dangerous in the picture -- just the natural appearance of healed cuts. Your tree doesn't really look unhealthy, although it could look more beautiful if it were properly trimmed and shaped.
If you want to consult with a professional, you should be able to locate an interior landscaper in your area who would be willing to make a trip to look at your tree. Try looking in the Yellow Pages under Plants Interior Design & Maintenance.

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