Looking for last minute tips for replanting large ficus

vp_78September 1, 2012

We have a 10 to 12 foot tall ficus in a container, and from what we have been told, it needs to be potted up. We were told that by our local nursery because a root had grown out of the hole in the container and had rooted itself into the ground, and the root is about 1.5" in diameter.

I spent about 2 hours going through this forum and other forums, and all I've managed to do now is confuse myself into paralysis.

Do I prune the root ball or not?

Do I prune the tree or not?

Do I flush the soil before I put it back into a new container? And by that, does that mean I literally hose all of the old soil off before I put it into new soil?

I don't really want this tree to get much bigger -- is it possible to keep it at the height it is now without killing it?

Our yard is tiny -- too small to plant it into the ground, which is why I want to keep it in a container, but I've never seen a ficus this big.

BTW, I have no idea about it's age, as we inherited the tree when we bought the house. I also have no idea how long the roots were growing into the ground as we just noticed it last week. We have since applied some sort of nasty root killer to it (it's going into the ground about 10 feet from the foundation of our house).

I'm going to try and post pix of it.

Oh, and the roots have totally grown out of the soil. It's difficult to water since the water just wants to overflow, since there's so much woody material on the surface of the soil.

So per the instruction of the guy at the nursery, we're going up about 2 container sizes. And does that mean, if the container is about 25 gallons (20" ave. diameter, 18" tall), do we move up to a 50 gallon container?

Thank you so much for any and all advice or info or links!

I've attached a photo, btw. It's leaning to one side because it was leaning toward the sun (most likely).

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I'm sure I can at least save you the price of the container if, in the end, you're willing to follow my instructions. W/o question the best thing for the plant, even in spite of its size, is to repot it - not pot up a size or two. I'm also guessing that before you would be inclined to heed my advice, though, you might need some sense of whether or not I know what I'm talking about.

I'll suggest you read this thread, which addresses specifically ficus grown in containers. After that, if you still have interest, you might find this thread about maintaining trees in containers for the long term to be of help. If you do, and you think I CAN help, just ask & I'll provide you with a step by step procedure.

Normally I would say that it's too late in the growing season to be undertaking such significant root work, but because of where you live the light's still green.

Al

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 1:01PM
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vp_78

Hi Al - Thank you so much for both the quick follow up and the links you provided. My husband and I are going to sit down and look at them, and then once we study up today, we would REALLY like get a step by step tutorial. That's exactly what I need -- I'm a complete gardening neophyte that was fortunate enough to inherit some nice plants, and I don't want to kill anything!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 5:23PM
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