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How to Prune a Ficus Tree – The Complete Guide

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How to Prune a Ficus Tree - The Complete Guide

Welcome to the ultimate guide on How to Prune a Ficus Tree! If you’ve got a ficus tree in your garden or living room, you’ve stumbled upon the perfect handbook for keeping it in top shape. Whether you’re a seasoned green thumb or just someone trying to figure out how to care for these lovely trees, this guide has your back.

Pruning a ficus tree is not that difficult! We’ll break it down step-by-step in a way that’s easy to follow, even if you’re new to pruning. In this article, we’ll dive into crucial topics like the right time to prune, the tools you’ll need (don’t worry, it’s not a carpenter’s kit!), a simple guide on the actual pruning process, and what to do once your tree’s had its haircut.

The Right Time to Prune a Ficus Tree

When it comes to pruning your ficus tree, knowing the perfect moment can make all the difference, especially if your tree’s turned into a living jungle or it grew too tall.

Ficus trees prefer their grooming sessions when they’re not in active growth. Spring and summer? That’s when they’re thriving, but fall sees things winding down. Come winter, the tree’s in chill mode—less susceptible to stress.

Winter is the best time for ficus tree pruning. During winter dormancy, the plant’s less likely to flinch at your trimming efforts. The only exception to this if you see dead or diseased parts. Those can be trimmed of any time of the year..

Basic Pruning Tips for Ficus Tree Pruning

  1. Precision Cuts: Trim just before a growth node to encourage new growth to sprout there and conceal the cut. This method promotes healthy regrowth while maintaining aesthetics.
  2. Branch Trimming Technique: When removing a branch, cut it back to a branch that’s of similar size. This helps prevent unsightly stubs and restores the ficus tree’s size and appearance.
  3. Cutting Technique: Always cut at a slant away from the node or secondary branch to facilitate healing and minimize stress on the tree.
  4. Managing Damaged Growth: If dealing with a damaged ficus with lots of dead growth, prune no more than one-third of the affected material initially. You can trim more as the plant recovers to avoid overwhelming it.

The Tools You’ll Need

Depending on the size of your Ficus Tree, you are going to need sharp pruning shears, loppers for thicker branches, and a saw for larger cuts. Keep your shears, loppers, and pruning saw clean and sharp for precise cuts, because unsanitized tools can cause infections, while blunt tools can do unnecessary damage to your tree.

The tools you need for pruning Ficus Trees

How to Prune a Ficus Tree Step-by-Step

  1. Protect Your Hands: Prioritize safety—wear sturdy gardening gloves to shield your skin from the ficus’s irritating sap.
  2. Identify and Remove Damaged Branches: Inspect for unhealthy branches and use loppers or shears to prune them at a downward angle. Trim back to healthy areas to aid healing.
  3. Trim Overgrowth Carefully: Address any branches disrupting the tree’s natural shape or overlapping. Cut these away directly above a node or where another stem branches off, avoiding removal of lower branches crucial for trunk strength.
  4. Encourage Fuller Growth: Clip above leaf scars to stimulate thicker foliage growth, especially if your ficus has thinned out.
  5. Apply Cut Paste: After significant pruning, especially of large branches, use cut paste on clipped areas. This paste aids healing, protecting the tree from diseases and pests during recovery.


Once the pruning is done, there are a few things you can do to help the tree’s regeneration:

  • Water Wisely: Give your ficus a good drink post-pruning, but don’t drown it. Just enough to keep the soil moist.
  • Feed it Right: A bit of fertilizer can help your tree bounce back and grow stronger.
  • Watch & Adjust: Keep an eye on your ficus for any changes. If things look off, tweak your care routine accordingly.
How to Prune a Ficus Tree - The Complete Guide

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the best time to prune a Ficus Tree?

The best times to prune a Ficus Tree are during spring or late summer when growth slows down, ensuring minimal stress on the tree. Look for these periods to shape and groom your Ficus without disrupting its natural growth patterns.

Can a ficus come back after losing all leaves?

If they lose their leaves, they should regrow by themselves. Ficus trees are very sensitive to environmental changes, so you should probably wait with repotting or pruning until the leaves grow back.

How do I make my ficus tree bushy?

To make your ficus tree bushier, simply pinch off the growth tip! By removing this tip, you redirect the plant’s growth hormones (called auxins), prompting new growth to sprout further down the stem. This change in auxin concentration triggers lush and fuller growth, enhancing the tree’s bushiness.

How often should I prune my ficus tree?

Annual pruning timed during spring or late summer is the way to go in the case of Ficus Trees. However, if you use any diseased or dead branches, you should prune those off right away regardless of the season.