Why is my Autograph Tree dying?

Last Updated: September 13, 2022

Also known as the Signature Tree or Apple Fig, the Autograph Tree is known for such sturdy leaves you could carve your name into them (hence the name). However, their sturdiness doesn’t mean that they are immune to issues and if you do find that your Autograph Tree is dying, then it means something needs to change immediately. 

To figure out why your Autograph Tree is dying, we have outlined the potential factors below as well as what to look for to diagnose the issue. You’ll also find tips on how to treat the issue and steps to take to prevent it from reoccurring.

Underwatering can cause a dying Autograph Tree

If your dying Autograph Tree is showing signs of drying out such as light brown leaves and crispy stems, then it may be underwatering that is causing it to die. You want to be 100% sure this is causing your plant to die before you increase how much you water your Autograph Tree. To confirm the issue take your Autograph Tree out of its pot and check if the potting mix is bone dry. It will start to feel very powdery if there is no moisture. 

You also want to look at the root system if the issue has been going on for a while, it may have started to turn the root crispy. 

To start to revive your dying Autograph Tree you need to be very careful about introducing water again. Plants can get quite shocked if their environment suddenly changes (yes they are pretty sensitive just like humans) so you need to give them little bits of water once or twice a day to get some moisture into the soil.

To prevent the issue from causing a dying Autograph Tree in future, adjust your watering schedule so that you are either watering your plant more deeply or more frequently. Using a moisture meter can also really help to ensure you are watering your Autograph Tree properly.

A dying Autograph Tree can also indicate overwatering

Overwatering can also be a real concern for Autograph Trees and might be why your plant is dying. If your plant’s pot doesn’t have good drainage or you are simply watering too much, this will often lead to waterlogged soil. Once this happens, the roots on your Autograph Tree will begin to rot and your plant will begin to die.

If you think you may have overwatered your plant then you must inspect the soil first before making any changes to your routine. You want to make sure that this is definitely the problem as there are several other reasons why your Autograph Tree might be dying.

Carefully take your plant out of the pot and inspect the roots and soil. If the potting mix is soggy and clumpy then it is most likely overwatering that is causing your Autograph Tree to die.

To solve the issue and revive your dying plant, remove and replace all of the potting mix. You might want to downsize the pot as less soil means it’ll dry out quicker in future. This very much depends on the size of the root system compared to the pot. 

Carefully remove as much of the old potting mix from the root system so that it can start to recover. If the roots are badly damaged then trim away the worst affected areas. This will encourage your plant to grow new roots and not waste precious energy trying to keep the rotting ones alive.

To prevent overwatering from causing your Autograph Tree to start dying again in future, make sure that you leave enough time between waterings so that the potting mix has time to dry out. This will really help to avoid waterlogged soil and root rot. 

Like with solving underwatering, a moisture meter will be your best friend here as it will tell you when the soil is still moist. You can also use other methods such as the chopstick method to check the moisture levels in the soil.

Low humidity can also cause issues for your Autograph Tree

If your Autograph Tree has developed brown spots or edges on the leaves then dry air could be the culprit. Autograph Trees love high humidity levels so it’s important that you make sure to give it a boost every now and again to prevent it from dying. 

Here are a few simple ways to increase the humidity for your dying Autograph Tree:

  1. Mist the leaves regularly

    Use a spray bottle to mist the leaves a few times a week or even daily if the issue doesn’t seem to be improving. This also gets rid of any dust that might be lingering on the leaves which is a bonus. This is a really great habit to get into and your dying Autograph Tree will love you for it!

  2. Build a pebble tray

    Fill up a tray of pebbles and fill halfway with water. Place your plant on top and the water will evaporate around it, increasing the humidity level.

  3. Move to the bathroom/ kitchen

    These rooms have naturally higher humidity levels because of steam from showering and cooking. Your Autograph Tree will love it if the light levels are right. You just want to make sure that you aren’t putting your dying Autograph Tree too close to the cooker if moving to the kitchen as that can dry out your plant pretty quickly.

  4. Buying a humidifier is the best solution 

    This is the long-term solution to humidity issues and the best thing you can invest in for your dying Autograph Tree. They create a nice steady humidity boost without you having to lift a finger!

Those are the most common reasons why your Autograph Tree might be dying. It’s important to act quickly once you have correctly diagnosed the issue as the more damage is caused, the more difficult it becomes to revive your plant. After making any changes, it’s important to keep a very close eye on your Autograph Tree for the upcoming weeks so that you can ensure the problem isn’t progressing further.

To learn more about how to best care for your plant and keep it from dying in future, check out our Autograph Tree care guide.

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