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Schefflera rotting from the top

Posted by anotherstephanie (My Page) on
Thu, Feb 2, 12 at 20:35

Hi everyone, a couple of months ago I pruned and defoliated a few of my dwarf umbrella plants to encourage branching. One is doing just fine, but the other two started turning brown from the top. One died from it.

The other, in this picture, has sort of scabbed over to stop the disease from spreading-- you can see that the tip is brown and dead, and it transitions almost instantly to a full green trunk. It's done this twice, but the disease came back last time. I'm afraid the plant is still vulnerable, so I've been afraid to cut off the scabbed tip or even water it much.

Any ideas what is happening to them? Thanks in advance!


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Schefflera rotting from the top

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 2, 12 at 21:40

You should only defoliate and hard-prune tropical trees that are growing robustly, have good energy reserves, and have time to recover before winter. Full repots, as opposed to potting up are also best undertaken in summer when the plant's energy reserve tank is topped off and days are long. This offers fastest recovery and least susceptibility to pests and diseases due to undue stress associated with repotting week plants out of season.

I'm guessing that you cut your plant back to just below a leaf. When you do this, schefflera will always die back to the next viable leaf, sometimes even further if you defoliate. When you prune, sever the stem a short distance above a leaf. Leave a short stub purposely. When it's evident where the living tissue and dying stub delineate, sever the remainder of the dying stub. This reduces scarring and makes evident the collar that will roll over and 'heal' the wound.


RE: Schefflera rotting from the top

Steph, I see an Orchid, Dieffenbachia and Amaryllis, but no Schefflera.

In front is a pic of a that your Schefflera?

To add to the good advice Al has given, how long after pruning did the top of the branch, 'trunk picture' brown?

Did your other two Sheffs brown on top, too? Toni

RE: Schefflera rotting from the top

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 3, 12 at 13:31

So sorry - I meant to say ".... 'weak' plants ....", not 'week' plants.

The plant in the foreground is a scheff that was defoliated and is just starting to push a flush of new growth, thus the tiny immature leaves/leaflets.


RE: Schefflera rotting from the top

Hi Toni,
Sorry for the response lag-- for some reason, I'm not receiving update emails.

As Al said, the sorry-looking trunk in the front is the Schefflera. Of the three I pruned, two browned at the top-- but I've pruned before and the browning has never happened. I don't know precisely when it started-- I wasn't paying close attention, because the plants are usually so resilient. :( It was more than a week after the pruning, though.

RE: Schefflera rotting from the top

Hi Stephanie,

When you started the thread, did you check the box asking if you'd like to receive emails when a comment was made?

Is your Sheff doing the same, better or worse?

I'm wondering if by chance, one tree had insects/ using the same pruners/scissors, 'whatever is causing brown on top' the problem that possible?

Insects..Scheffs are prone to Scale, Aphids and Mites.
Do you know how to check for bugs?

Scheffs can get fungal diseases, too. I'm really having problems viewing your plant, Steph. It's not your pic, it's my vision. :)

Are there brown spots on the leaves? If so, are they surrounded by yellow circles? Do leaves feel limp? Do you see white powder?

Then again, this started happening a week after you pruned, so as Al said, this could be the whole of your trees problems.

If it is a pruning issue, the browning wouldn't happen over-night. It would start about a week after pruning.

Wish I could be more help..Sorry, Toni

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