How to Cut Back a Ficus Tree

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Trim ficus trees to keep the tree healthy.

Ficus trees grow both indoors and outdoors. The trees have a large amount of glossy leaves that grow on slim stems. The trees do not require a lot of maintenance, but they need to be pruned to keep the tree looking attractive. Trimming the tree helps to control the shape and size, and it also encourages new growth. Removing dead and diseased branches will aid in additional light and air circulation as well. You can begin pruning your ficus tree in the early spring.


Step 1

Trim the larger limbs of the tree back to the smaller branches. This will thin the tree.

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Step 2

Cut off all dead, diseased and cracked branches from the tree. Throw these branches away so that they do not infect the tree.


Step 3

Prune off crowded branches and branches that rub or cross each other. Prune these at the branch collar where the base of the branch joins the stem. Cut the branches at a right angle outside of the branch collar.

Step 4

Cut off branches growing from the main tree trunk. These will drain the energy from the ficus tree.


Step 5

Remove one-third of the tree to cut it to your preferred shape. Remove inner branches to provide more sunlight, and prune away the outer branches to develop a shape.

Step 6

Water the ficus tree after you prune it. This will help to relieve stress on the roots. Avoid fertilizing the tree for two to three weeks so that it can get used to its new shape.

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