Pruning Ficus Trees

By Shannon C , last updated April 19, 2011

Ficus trees are hardy, yet they do endure stress when they are transplanted or moved. Ficus trees show signs of stress first by spontaneously dropping leaves. While it is hard to estimate exactly how long the leaf loss will go on, it can be helpful to minimize further stress to a Ficus tree after transplantation has occurred. The best solution is to avoid repotting or otherwise adding stress to the tree until the leaf loss has ceased and the tree has started to show signs of new growth again. Pruning Ficus trees is a big component in growing a healthy tree that will beautify its surroundings for years to come. However, it is easy to prune FIcus in a way that will add rather than detract from stress to the plant. Follow these simple tips to minimize stress and encourage new growth in your Ficus tree.

Why Ficus Trees Need Pruning

The leaf loss stress behavior can mistakenly convince a Ficus tree owner that the tree does not need pruning. Nothing could be further from the truth. Pruning can actually extend the life of the tree, adding shape, removing damaged or non thriving growth, improving air circulation to the interior of the growing tree, and acting as an advance guard against developing disease.

How to Prune Ficus Trees

Follow these steps to successfully prune a Ficus tree.

First, remove all damaged, dead, dying, or non thriving growth. Next, prune back the entire tree canopy to one third of existing growth. Strategically prune out center branches to open up light and air to the center of the tree. Make sure to make very small, clean cuts to minimize wound trauma. Do not use hedge clippers but rather use trimmers, this will help minimize trauma to the plant. Prune back the longest branches to one third. Shake the tree once per week to encourage dead leaves to drop, and remember pruning can be done at any time so don't hesitate if you think it should be done!

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