How to prune a weeping fig tree

Written by kelly shetsky
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Several varieties of weeping fig (ficus benjamina) exist. Some can be grown inside, growing to a height of 15 feet with a braided trunk. Others are huge, outdoor trees that grow to be 60 feet tall and 60 to 70 feet wide. Their crowns are round and spreading in shape. Weeping figs are considered tropical to subtropical trees and grow best in sun to partial shade. Pruning them is essential to the development of a strong tree. It also improves their appearance and health.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Gloves
  • Pruning shears
  • Pruning saw or chain saw

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  1. 1

    Prune the weeping fig by making cuts at the joint where one branch meets another. Cut as close to the collar as possible, which is the flared-out section at the base of limbs, to avoid a stump which opens the tree to disease and pests.

  2. 2

    Trim the trees during their dormant season, which is the late fall and winter. Any pruning done between May and August will attract bronze birch borer, which infects open wounds in the weeping fig's bark.

  3. 3

    Get more light and air into the tree canopy by thinning it out. Both are essential to make the tree healthier. Remove crossing branches as well as those that grow vertically up the side of the centre trunk.

  4. 4

    Remove damaged, broken and weak limbs immediately. Use a saw to cut them where they touch healthy branches or the trunk.

  5. 5

    Snip off weeping fig branches that are too long or growing in a wayward fashion. Use pruning shears to cut them next to a bud at the desired length.

  6. 6

    Focus on removing twigs that are one to two seasons old, on a regular basis. If you have to do major pruning, give yourself several seasons to accomplish it.

Tips and warnings

  • Prune weeping fig trees annually.
  • Protect yourself with gloves with pruning weeping fig.
  • Wear eye goggles when using a saw.
  • Use pruning shears on thinner, younger branches and a saw on those that are thicker in diameter.
  • Don't cut off more than 10 per cent to 30 per cent of the healthy wood per growing season.
  • Don't top weeping figs by cutting clear across the top of the tree.

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