I am a homeowner who in May, 2012, had roughly 600 3-gallon Green Island Ficus plants installed in a newly planted landscape. Soon after planting, I noticed leaf spotting and significant leaf drop which we thought was caused by a fungal infection due to the heavy rains this year. Each time our landscaper contacted the nurseries (two different sources) regarding the problems, he was assured the plants would recover once the rains stopped. After months of fungicide spraying by a professional lawn care company with no results, widespread die-back and failure to thrive, samples were provided to the County Extension Lab. The results were not a fungal problem, but a bacteria identified as Xanthomonas. The first treatment (spraying) for this bacteria was conducted on Monday, October 8th. Fingers are crossed.
Lisa: Bacterial leaf spots are difficult to diagnosed, just because they look like can be caused by fungal pathogens as well. UF Extension offices are here to provide the most accurate identification to plant pests. In fact that is the very first step to start an Integrated pest management. Another factor contributing to the disease pressure in your plants is that were planted on the summer season where the environmental conditions favor the bacterial disease in this host= plant. Good luck with the bacteriocide treatment recommended for your Ficus G. islands. Thanks for sharing your story with us! Vanessa
Thank you for your well wishes regarding our Green Island Ficus/Bacterial treatment! I will keep you posted as to how this resolves, and am so relieved to have finally found that we’re not the only ones in Miami-Dade encountering this baffling problem.
Do you mind if I ask, in your experience, is this something the plants will recover from? The reason we selected them (and purchased so many!) was because they were known to be hearty, full, and lush with beautiful glossy dark green leaves, eventually becoming a solid mass of low hedges when used in planting beds. Sadly, at this point, we have mostly stalks with a few teeny, tiny yellowish leaves covered with black spots that quickly drop once they appear 😦 Not quite as “bulletproof” as we thought they’d be! Since they were planted in the middle of May, there has been negligible growth (less than inch in height and very little increase in spread.) Can we expect with the proper treatment now in process, the plants will become healthy and behave as we anticipated, or is it time for us to accept defeat?
Thanks again for your reply and look forward to hearing your opinion as to the future of our babies!
Best regards – Lisa
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