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Mistake with ficus benjamina?

Jonny Clementine
3 months ago

Short story/question: We transplanted a ficus benjamina from a pot to the ground. Now have read that these trees (especially their roots) can be super destructive. Did we make a huge mistake?

Longer story: about 10 years ago my friend moved and did not have a place for his potted ficus, so he left it at my house and never retrieved it. Eventually its roots grew through the pot into the ground and the pot was leaning. The tree spent at least 14 years of its life in a pot. Not sure how old the tree was when it was purchased, but it's at least 19 years old now.

Five years ago someone offered to plant the tree in the ground for us and we agreed without researching the tree. He cut the roots that had grown out of the pot and replanted it directly in the ground. The tree very quickly went into shock and lost all its leaves, but fully recovered within a few months. The tree is doing very well now. Tree is near San Diego, so no cold winters or anything like that to harm it.

I have noticed one root showing in the lawn surface for about 12 inches, but otherwise no roots are visible. The tree is about 25 feet from the house, but only 4 feet from a cinder block wall. The sewer lines don't run through the backyard, so my main concerns are that the tree could damage the wall, irrigation pipes, get into the neighbor's yard, or possibly get under the house.

However, I am hopeful that since the tree spent most of its life in a pot and it is now somewhere around 20 years old that maybe it won't have the chance to be destructive. Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated.


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