Question: Explantation of Ficus Benjamin
I have a ficus benjamin over 20 years old planted in the soil of my garden, wonderful is an understatement.
I would like to move it to another place, if it is possible I would like to know the best period and how to avoid damaging the roots. Thank you in advance
Answer: Explantation of Ficus Benjamin
I envy the place where you live, because if your ficus benjamin is planted in the open ground in the garden, then the winters in your area must be very mild, and free of frosts; the ficus benjamina are real trees in nature, which develop in some areas of Australia, and in central and southern Asia, they can grow up to 25-30 meters in height, creating huge scaffolding of branches. In Europe many varieties of ficus benjamina are sold, with decorative foliage, or of small size, or even varieties with dwarf growth; in general, a ficus benjamina planted in a Mediterranean garden will tend not to become as imposing as in the places of origin, due to the strong differences in climate. But even if the dimensions are not particularly impressive, these trees, if planted in the ground, produce a large root system, which branches out for many meters; therefore, removing them is always a strong stress, which combined with the area with a different climate from the one in which they ideally should live, your ficus does not necessarily survive being transported to another place. In addition to the radical problems, also consider that it is difficult for a ficus to find the right habitat for its life in Italy; it is a mix of sunlight, mild temperatures, lack of wind in winter, which is not always easy to replicate. So, first of all, make sure that the area where you want to move the ficus has an exposure to the sun and wind very similar to what the plant receives now; moreover, certainly avoid moving the tree in a pot, but transplant it in the ground, preparing the soil well, to make it soft and well drained. The roots of the ficus are large, but not particularly delicate, and it will be necessary to prune them to move the plant. In any case, try to explant a good amount of root system, to minimize the stress inflicted on the plant; we proceed by describing a large circle around the stem, and digging a hemisphere below the stem, in order to remove a nice piece of earth together with the plant, which will contain the roots. This operation must be done in autumn, in order to avoid periods when the tree is in full development, and needs its roots for water and mineral salts. So, try to move as many roots as you can, and immediately plant the plant in the new place it will live in the next few years. In the same way that the roots of the ficus are many and very branched, the tree is able to produce new ones in a fairly short period of time; if you move in September or October, you will give your ficus time to produce most of the damaged roots, and replace them with new ones before spring arrives.
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