How to Save Ficus Trees From Freezing

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Ficus trees are not generally capable of withstanding cold temperatures. Temperatures below forty degrees will cause the ficus to freeze, damaging both the foliage and wood. While a deep freeze of a ficus will more than likely kill the plant, if a ficus tree has endured only a minor freeze, you may be able to revive it.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic or landscape fabric
  • String lights
  • Pruning shears

Preventative Measures

  • Plant ficus trees against a wall if you must plant the trees outdoors. A wall provides some protection from cold winds and offers heat by radiation.

  • Cover the trees with plastic or landscape fabric when there is advance warning of a frost. String lights around the tree as well to keep the central trunk warm. Use these two methods in conjunction for maximum warmth.

  • Bring ficus trees planted in containers inside when freezing temperatures hit. A ficus can be kept in any room in the house, including the basement, as long as temperatures are above 40 degrees.

After a Freeze

  • Bring the ficus inside after it has been frozen to allow it to thaw out quickly. Keeping it inside will help ensure that it doesn't go through another frost before it has a chance to recover from the first.

  • If the freeze wasn't all the way to the roots of the ficus and the tree endures no more frosts, growth may begin again within four weeks. Give it six to eight weeks to recover before trimming away the dead wood.

  • Check for healthy wood on the ficus tree. Peel off a piece of bark and scratch into the tree with a knife to see if there is any green left inside.

  • Prune away all parts of the ficus tree that show no growth following a freeze and have no green left beneath the bark. These parts of the tree are already dead.

Tips & Warnings

  • A frozen ficus tree should recover if the freeze was brief. If the ficus was left in freezing temperatures for several hours straight, it is more than likely completely dead.

References

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