Saturday, April 14, 2007

Did your Ficus Trees survive?

This winter was the coldest winter we've had in 25 years, and the frosty nights did a number on most of our landscaping.  Just about all the yards in the neighborhood looked dead in the middle of February.  But it didn't take long for things to bounce back - lantana, bougainvillea, oleanders, and just about all the other plants and shrubs have bounced back quickly.  The only remaining sign of our cold winter is the abundance of brown ficus trees up and down the neighborhood streets.

What have you done to care for your ficus trees, and has it been successful?

The first thing somebody told me was to not do anything with mine; just to let nature run its course.  I started to see some new green shoots around the base, but the trees still look very ugly.  Next I tried to shake as many of the dead leaves off as I could; it literally rained brown leaves for 15 minutes!  I also dug a well around the base of my trees, so that I could give them more & deeper water.  Right now I'm seeing a lot of new green branches, but all the new growth is in the lower half of the tree.  The top half is still ugly brown...

I'm seeing more and more people completely cut back the tree, down to the larger, main branches that break off from the trunk.  Their trees look like fingers, but they look a lot cleaner than the dead brown ball in my yard.  I read a lot of posts this morning on the internet, and most landscapers are recommending this approach - get rid of the dead stuff on top, and let the new growth start over.

I think I'll have to do some trimming and cutting next week...

- Chris Butterworth