by Jerry Meislik
Bob Steele, a skilled and excellent Ficus grower, asks about some leaves on his Ficus salicaria that are suddenly showing red spots. He wonders what may have caused this as the tree is otherwise healthy and this and his other trees show no sign of insects or other problems.
In my experience such spotting is often due to some physical damage to the leaves. This could be from hail, chemical spray, fertilizer applied to the leaves, or water on the leaves that remains on them too long and is colonized by fungus. Newer leaves seem to be more prone to damage from such injuries. Some Ficus varieties are also more sensitive to injury than others.
Chemical injuries to the roots, poor soil conditions , root rot etc. will usually have more widespread and diffuse leaf damage.
Bob indicates that he did spray the trees a week or so before the damage showed up and that likely this was from the spray.