Ask a Consulting Arborist Q&A: Leaf, Seed, and Flower Concerns

Q: What could be causing ficus tree leaves to fold?

Thursday, June 23, 2016  

Q: I have a ficus tree that I have had for about 15 years.  It has traveled many miles with me and yes, I love my plants. Unfortunately, the leaves have started folding in half. The new leaves come out already folded. I do not see any signs of insects. It is in a large pot with plenty of drainage. It has always been healthy up until recently. No leaves are discolored, they are all healthy looking, other than the odd folding. Can you tell me what the problem is?

A: Everything here seems to point toward black thrips. Although there are no signs of insects, my recommendation would be two-fold: First, hand-pick and dispose of any affected leaves. Second, give the plant a thorough rinse with a hose, concentrating on the undersides of the leaves. Wait. If leaves begin to fold again, repeat process, but this time use Safers Insecticidal Soap in the rinse step. Should work.

Responder: Michael Hughes, RCA #383, Freeport, ME