Out of control Rubber Tree...

monjolijardin(z10 CA)October 18, 2006


At work, I have a Rubber Tree that is out of control (see picture bellow).

I understand that I have to prune it but I don't know where to start. Where should I cut? How do I stop the 'bleeding?' What should I do with the pruned branches?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


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Mon, I don't see a picture.
I wouldn't prune until spring, unless there's no room in your house. Have you considered air layering? Toni

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 4:03PM
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gardengrove_ac(z6 MD)

Rubber trees are amazingly easy to grow and they respond very well to ever hard prunes. Just cut the plant back to whatever lenth and style you find best. You'll have to remember that the plants you cut will grow back from the next node down, so if you want a more orderly plant, anytime you see a brach about a foot or more out of wack, just cut it back. Rubber trees will withstand it, and seeing how its about to slow down for winter, the growth will start up next spring. If you want to have more rubber trees just take any of the branches you cut, cut the lower leaves off, keep any aerial roots the plant may have, and dip the cut end in a rooting hormone with a fungicide, then stick them in an evenly moist soil. The best cuttings are a little over a foot long and are younger braches, although woody ones will root it just takes a while.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 5:19PM
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gardengrove_ac(z6 MD)

Oh, and about the "bleeding", the latex seals the wound, but if you're worried about carpet or clothes just staunch it with a paper towel after you make the cut.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 5:22PM
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Mon, now I got a picture..it is all over the place..Wow..Which direction is the window? Toni

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 7:20PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Hi Mon,

This is the wrong time of year to do this, I think it'd be best to wait 'til next Spring.

If Tapla Al (our resident Ficus Master) were around, I suspect he'd say June would ideal. If you do some searches around here on pruning Ficus (this one in particular is Ficus elastica) you may find threads where he suggests June is optimum. I believe we had such discussion w/in the last year (I particularly remember as I too have a Ficus which I'd like to cut back & made a mental note for next June).

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 11:24PM
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gardengrove_ac(z6 MD)

From personal experience of mature rubber trees in a heated greenhouse, they'll respond just fine to being trimmed anytime of year. During the summer however, they do bounce back from the trim much faster, and the rooting of cuttings can only take a month insted of two or three...I'm not a ficus expert, just a personal feeling and I do know that there are people with decades of experience, and if they say wait until June then it would probably be best to wait til June. Could you possiably rotate the plant around just so the leaves aren't touching the glass? You might be able to find a useable angle that still fits in the avaiable space.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2006 at 7:43AM
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monjolijardin(z10 CA)

Thanks for all your help and suggestions.

To Toni: the window is facing North (close to the Pacific coast).

I will try to rotate the plant. I might be able to place the overgrown branches agains the wall next to the window. These branches are so long that they need support.

Per your suggestions, I will wait until next June for a 'deep' pruning. I might have to do a 'light' pruning on the longest branches so that they don't bump against the ceiling.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2006 at 3:28PM
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