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Homeowners Found Out About Ficus Roots the Hard Way

May 20, 1999

My husband and I enjoyed Robert Smaus' article of April 29 regarding the invasive ficus plants ("Beware: Ficus Failings Are Hard to Root Out"). We only wish we had this knowledge about a year and a half ago. It would have saved a lot of work and trouble.

We had a Ficus benjamina tree growing in a pot for about six years. As it grew, we repotted it several times into larger containers. We moved into a new home three years ago, and a year and a half ago we decided that the ficus would look lovely at the end of the yard near our patio and walk-way.

Well, into the ground it went. It looked beautiful and continued to grow. My husband remarked one day that the trunk was really increasing in diameter. Didn't think too much about that until he noticed a root near the top of the ground heading under the patio. He proceeded to unearth the root and cut it off. A few weeks later, he noticed several other roots near the surface of the ground. Upon closer examination, he found that the roots extended about 20 feet from the ficus.

That was it! Out came the ficus and we planted two Phoenix roebelenii palms in its place. We do love the F. benjaminas, however, and have two in pots--where they will stay forever.

HELEN and JACK SCHMIDT

Murrieta

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