Whatch My Ficus Benjamina Pruning Technique

A detailed pruning of my medium leaf size Ficus benjamina.

Ficus benjamina pruning technique. I’m going to start today by working on my medium leaf size, ficus, benjamina, it’s getting a little tall and shaggy looking and i want to prune it back to size.

I want to style this tree to have a kind of a low wide umbrella canopy. On top, so i’m going to have to prune off this kind of vertical growth and try and grow it out at the sides to get that umbrella shaped canopy, i’m going to hold my hand in front of the tree, and i want to see kind of where I want my canopy to be so, i would say the height is pretty good.

It could be lowered just a bit and maybe rounded like that. So i’m going to use the blue scissors for this just kind of brutally cutting through everything to get that outer profile and then, as always, i come back in and then i look at what’s left and clean up the pruning and start looking for a branch direction Crossing branches branches that are growing in strange spots and just kind of cleaning up the structure after that initial profile pruning, it is a very blustery day.

Today, cooler weather has come so it’s quite nice working outside now i’ll get the tree on the turntable and begin the pruning all right. Here i go so i wanted my height just a little bit lower. So i’m going to come in right across here i like to start by getting the height just right first, and then i round off of that.

So here i go big pruning here: [, Music, ]! So that’s looking lower and the tree looks much wider. So i want to check it from all views. So from the back here i can see i’ve got my rounded umbrella style profile, but from the side view it’s very heavy here, so i’ve got to round it in the side view too, and i don’t want the i want this view more curved and the side View less curve, so a little flatter of a curve.

So here i go so i think that’s looking quite nice now you can see from all views. It looks nice, rounded compact yeah. I think that’s looking quite good. So next i’ve got to go in and clean up the structure.

Do some detailed pruning?

Take a good look at the branch direction. Do some detailed pruning? Here’S a look at the canopy from above, so you can kind of see the structure, so i just want to clean it up. So every branch has its own spot of sunlight.

So it’s not. You know shading out the branches below a general cleanup. So that’s what i’ll be doing next all right, i’m going to begin now. So i’m just looking from the front view. I’Ve got a lot of growth in here new little suckers.

I’Ve got to prune those away. I don’t want to develop branches there there’s a lot of them actually, so that that cleans this area up, there’s a new shoot growing from the inside of a curve. Here i’ll get rid of that i’ve got a branch hanging, there’s a hanging branch and it comes out nicely here.

There’S one coming down vertical: it kind of it kind of matches the shape of the trunk. So i’m trying to decide. Should i keep that or not i’ll just take away the leaves on the inside of it like that and i’ll leave it for now, because it’s kind of interesting the way it mimics the shape of the trunk, it’s kind of cool, [, Music ].

When i’m doing all this pruning work, i’m checking the tree over for scale any insect problems i haven’t seen any yet, but i’m just you know, keeping a sharp eye out for it. So i’ve got this branch kind of sweeping up here and then this horizontal branch – and i think i can improve this branch – it’s getting it’s growing kind of tall up into the other branches.

So i want some branch separation, so i’m going to prune off these vertical ones, prune them shorter anyway, and i can prune this one at the tip right off like that and then i’ll prune the tip back. Should i now i’ll leave the tip long? No, i will i’ll just take the tip off to get a little more ramification that way it still stays in the profile [ Music ], so that branch has improved now.

I could probably take this one even lower here, like that, so it’s kind of more horizontal. It doesn’t grow up into the other branches, looks a little better. There’S one coming out front here, i’ll, just clean up some stubs as i go um i’ll.

Just take the tip off that one and there’s a branch going in the inside here. I’Ll. Take that off. Like that just so it doesn’t kind of cross in front of the trunk line. I i think, actually it’s kind of growing tall.

I think i should shorten it to keep it it’s kind of going up into the upper canopy. So i got my lowest branch. This one should be more medium height, so i think i’m going to prune it back a bit to here like that, so it doesn’t grow up into the upper part of the canopy.

I’Ve got some other branches growing out straight out towards the viewer. Here, i’m going to clean them up a bit um, i’m even i’m going to remove this one here. It’S just kind of crossing in front of the trunk, so that comes off and then from this branch.

There’S a new branch growing in here, i’m just going to prune that off before it gets too large i’ll take off. Some of these leafs leaves that are growing towards the inside of the tree, and then this hanging branch i’ve got another little one growing from the same spot.

I don’t. I don’t think i’d want that, so i’m going to take it right off like that. So that kind of exposes the trunk more, maybe a little too much, but as this fills in it’ll look quite nice so up here, this branch is starting to get too too heavy um too much ramification at the tip.

There’S two: it’s like a ball of foliage. I got ta thin it out, it’s just become cluttered. Is the word i’m looking for so i’ve got. You know, there’s a branch here going across. That’S got to be removed, keeping my branches all fanning outwards.

I don’t think i even need this part of the branch. I’M going to take it right off like that, then up here, i’ve got two parallel branches. I think i want to keep my lower one. It’S a lot nicer, so i’m going to remove the upper one like that [ Music ].

I’Ve got one kind of growing back in towards the center of the tree there i’ll take that one off like that. So you can see it flows a little more outwards now um. So i’ve got this bottom branch here and the one above it is too long.

So i’ve got to shorten that so i’m going to go right back to here, maybe even shorter to here, like that just removing some old leaves here and then this part of it is getting very long. I’M going to prune that back! So that’s this branch here! It’S getting a little too long, so i’m going to take it off right here.

Take the top off. So that’s got this branch kind of pruned up it’s looking quite nice, [, Music ], so the next one i want to tackle is this one here, the one growing up here. It’S got a lot going on, there’s one growing in towards the center of the tree.

Here i’ll remove that with an old leaf, i can remove here there’s a vertical part on this branch. I’M going to remove pruning it off same here. I’M going to take the tip off, and here too take some old leaves out, there’s a shoot growing here.

I don’t want some old leaves down here. I can prune away [ Music ]. There’S a the upper part of this branch is getting very heavy. I want to prune it away and replace it with some finer branches. So i’m going to prune this heavy part off right here.

Actually, i’m going to take it right back to here. So here i go. This is a fairly big cut like that. Taking that heavy upper part of the branch off and then it’ll grow new finer branches will grow in that area and replace it.

You don’t want your apex getting too heavy. I did notice there’s a little bit of scale here, so i’m picking that off whenever i’m pruning the branches, if i see scale i’ll pick it off and then i’ll spray the tree with the soap and water when i’m done here and that that should fix the Scale problem there’s two branches going from one spot here, i’ll prune off the upper one here, i’ve got a branch growing up in here, that’s starting to interfere with the branch above it, so i’m going to shorten that one.

So i’m going to take it off right here and prune this one back to actually i’m going to take that one right off that vertical part of it and the tip off here, so i’m just kind of shortening that branch, keeping it more compact.

Okay. Now, let’s look at this branch here, it’s getting quite thick, um! There’S a branch coming off here that kind of sweeps to the back. It’S kind of a bit of a strange direction to it, so got ta fix that it should be coming out here and it’s kind of growing around the back of the tree.

So i’ve got to prune it off uh from the tip off there and then i’ll have to prune it way back to here. A big cut so here comes that whole end of the branch off. So hopefully i can get something developing out this way now.

That’Ll look much better so up in this branch, it’s getting quite thick. You know this is the profile of my canopy. So this should be all fine branches, and i’ve got some really thick ones up here. So i’m going to have to reduce those back and then grow it out with finer branches.

So i’m going to take it right back to here, taking the thick part off yeah, there’s a lot of thick branches in that area that i’m just i’ve got to prune. It back so, i think, like there’s a vertical one here, that’s getting too thick, so i’m going to take that right off i’ll just have to regrow some of these branches.

I think i’m going to take see this vertical part here. It looks a bit awkward. Everything flows out and this one kind of goes a little too vertical. I think there’s another branch in here that i could grow out instead of that, so i’m going to take that right off like that, so there it’s gone.

I can grow this branch out kind of in this area so that helps that branch. I think i’m going to do a little more pruning on. I think i need to take off some more of that branch. I think i need to prune it back to here.

Taking that tip off so now it kind of goes from thick to thin towards the edges of the canopy. It looks much more elegant, i think than miniature. If i look at this branch, it’s kind of ugly i’ve got my trunk here.

This one kind of grows up parallel to it and it comes from low on the trunk and very high in the canopy. I mean it’s not the worst in the world, but it’s not the best either. I’M wondering if i do the big chop here, keeping my more horizontal branch and get rid of this entire top part.

It would leave quite a space there, but you know eventually i can fill it in with something better tough decision, tough decision that i i’ve just got to do it. I think you know this trunk line here. I’Ll just never be happy with it.

So i’m going to have to prune it off so i’ll, get my branch cutters out and remove it. So this is a big big cut and i thought about well. Can i keep this one out front? Maybe but then you know instead of this branch coming up and curvy curving down, it still grows up, and then i’ve got another one here and then i’ve got these two kind of parallel branches.

So i think it’s got to come right off and it will so here i go. Oh my goodness big cut coming up just like that, so there it’s gone now. So i think that branch looks much much nicer. I think it’s an improvement, so i think you know i’ve kind of created some negative space here, and these little branches are filling in that negative space.

I think they have to be removed, and i’m also you know looking at this one. Maybe that’s got to go too, let’s start with those little ones, removing those that one’s gone, that one’s gone. So there’s what it looks like i like this branch back here it matches this one kind of gets these little branches spreading out.

I think that one’s got to go. It definitely does so off. It goes. I’M going to clean up this entire stub here so here i go. It’S going to be removed to be there’ll, be quite a hole here, but it’ll fill in eventually with something something better.

So i’m going to prune it off first, the branch like that and then i’ll clean up that this kind of stub. Here i think, that’s about as good as it’s going to get and the tree’s looking quite nice. It’S got all these low hanging branches one here.

One here and one here, kind of frames, the bottom of the canopy and then a lot of work to go up here. But so next i’m going to tackle this branch and again it’s getting very tall. I’D rather keep it lower and then develop something up higher into the canopy.

So i’m going to do some pruning on that. If i’m going for taper, i’ve got two branches here, a thicker one and a thinner one. I could keep my thinner one or i could keep both and i’m gonna decide. Well, i’m going to prune this back one shorter off to here like that, for starters, there’s one sticking up here, i’ll prune that off keeping these this branch kind of low and flat like this one, there’s one growing towards the inside of the tree here i’ll! Take that off i’m going to start reducing this and we’ll see what it looks like there.

It is so far. I think i am going to take it off replacing the thinner, this thinner branch here, there’s one sticking straight up here, i’m going to remove that. I think this needs to be reduced even more.

I just don’t know where i might have to let something grow in here. First, before i start reducing this more get more vigor into the lower part of the branch before i cut that off, so i’m going to do that i’ll! Just leave it alone for now and that’ll be coming on the next pruning.

I’M wondering about this branch here. This branch here kind of fills in the front of the tree here a bit, but i think that’s going to be a problem in future, it’s kind of parallel to the main trunk line.

So i think that has to come off. I think it’s just going to grow into a bigger problem in the future. So off it comes like that, so there it is now up in the apex here. I’Ve got a lot of foliage to the back, but not a lot out front.

So i’ve got to encourage growth in this direction and prune them, but prune away some of these uh longer branches at the back here. So i’ve got to look at my apex. I’Ve got kind of this branch is kind of growing up into this other branch.

Here i think this branch should look better kind of more horizontal growing out here, so i’m going to prune it back. I’Ve got a leaf out the back and one here, so i can prune it right here and grow something more horizontal in that from that branch.

So it should look better. I’M going to prune off this long bit here kind of regrow that branch – i’m just taking off some older leaves here. There’S one growing vertical here, i’ll remove that, like that, get the branches a little more flowing, it’s looking better already.

I think you know there’s enough coming forward here. The apex is looking good. I will prune some of these branches off at the back, just kind of cleaning it up a bit. It’S an old leaf here. Now i, from behind the apex, i’ve got a branch growing out the back and it’s kind of growing up into the apex.

I think that should be flatter also, so i’m looking for places to prune it – and i think i’m going to come right back to here. Taking quite a bit off that whole tip off there, there’s one on the inside crossing here, i’m going to remove that that piece.

So there’s what it’s looking like, i’ve got a little shoot here. I can clean up take that off. I’Ve got this branch coming out here. I’Ve got a good leaf direction here, i’m going to prune the tip off and get rid of this small little sucker here, cleaning that area up off of that back branch.

I’Ve got a very long one out the back. I’M going to prune that back in size take this vertical part off an old beef. I can remove here and a vertical bit off and i’ve got to prune it off shorter to there.

So i’ve got this branch here is kind of equal in thickness to the apex, so i’ve got to decide. If i want to make like these two – and maybe this back one is part of the canopy. I think i do um. I’Ve got a small shoot here.

I’M going to remove this one, this small branch shoot take that off. I think i’ve completed the pruning for today. I think i took it back and it’s got a really good structure on the tree. Now i uh i’m just double checking for scale, insects, making sure i’ve got them all removed.

I think i do and i’ll give the tree a spray. Yep there’s one there. I missed that one, so you got ta check under the leaves all in the branches. Okay, i i’m happy, i think i’ve got all the scale insects off the tree.

So next i can spray the tree with soap and water, kill any uh crawling scale, insects and then rinse it down after that. So and hopefully you know with these scale, insects gone and it pruned so there’s lots of light getting to it.

It’Ll grow really well for the rest of the summer. I think it will – and i think you know it’s pretty bare right now, but once it all starts filling in it’s going to look really good and this this is the first year it’s been growing in this larger pot, so i think it’s going to really take Off this summer, i hope it does anyway, i think, with those scale, insects gone, it will it’ll really start growing.

Well, all right i’ll, get out the soap and water. Now all right. Here i go with the soap and water. It’S just dish: soap, uh, 40 parts, water, one part dish; soap, i put it in a hand, sprayer shake it up and start spraying, and you want to spray.

You know all over underneath the leaves all over the branches, the soil. So any crawling insects get the soap and water treatment and they’ll perish i’ll. Just let it sit for a few minutes now and rinse it off.

When i repotted the tree last time, i had a lot of roots that were kind of above the soil level. So i piled the soil at the back of the tree a little high, so i’m going to rake that away and see what roots i have below kind of leveling my soil.

So it’s not mounted up the back here, so yeah everything’s looking good here. I think i just wanted to make sure all these roots at the back were safely in the soil. I may have done some root pruning back here, so there’s a few fine ones above the soil surface that i can just prune those away so i’ll, just snip away those little root hairs that are sticking up out of the soil.

Okay, i think that’s looking good i’ll just give that another watering, rinse away all the soil away from the trunk there. That’S all the work i’ll be doing on my tropical style ficus today, even though the canopy is a lot more sparser, i think the overall structure has a more mature look to it.

I think it’s beginning to look more like an ancient old tree and i think, as this all fills out, it’s just gonna keep getting better.

The NEW Bonsai Made Easy Handbook

No matter what level of experience you have in Bonsai, there’s a 139-page fully illustrated publication I highly reccommend from a Bonsai Academy expert covering everything to do with Bonsai. Discover the Best & Simple Way “How to Grow Healthy Bonsai”

Bonsai For Beginners

Want learn about Bonsai from the real experts? This new publication is the ideal place to start for beginners covering everything from A-Z in this popular hobby and profitable business. Watch some of the videos or get all the information here
“Bonsai For Beginners”

You May Also Like

-