View Full Version : Need Ficus Tree Shipping Advice

11-13-2004, 08:40 AM
I have a 15 year old ficus tree in a pot. It's not the prettiest specimen, but it's sentimental. To make a long story short, my husband and I recently purchased a place in Florida, and we plan to ship it down to plant in our yard there. I know it will flourish there!

I am looking for advice. Should I prune it way back or not, water it in advance of shipping or not, wrap the root ball in burlap or not, etc. It's not too tall, so, with some pruning, I can get it into a standard wardrobe box for shipping. Any and all advice is welcome. Thanks!

Quirky Quercus
11-13-2004, 02:15 PM
A few words about ficus trees planted in Florida yards.

You hit the nail on the head when you said it will florish here but they have an extremely invasive root system and the trees get very large very quickly. My neighbor has a 10 year old ficus that literally sent surface roots 40 feet to their house and to their neighbor's house, and if you have any underground pipes, these puppies will go straight for it. Even still, ficus trees are widely planted here but the homeowners eventually find out too late that they can cause problems. Otherwise expensive maintenance and root cutting may prolong the time until the CGC needs to come out and give you an estimate on repairing your home.

www.mgonline.com can give you some additional info about them. Click on trees. However I will add he says they have been on the do not plant list for years and I have found that to be untrue. He talks about a 550 ACRE ficus tree in India- I have been unable to find out anything about this tree, thus I don't believe it. There is some true stuff there though!

As for shipping or bringing in plants to florida... I don't really know much about the shipping laws other than if you ship a plant you have to get this certificate. Lots of large and small nurseries ship plants UPS and apparently don't bother. Not sure if that's legal or not.

One thing I can say for certain is that Florida has agricultural check point stations at every possible entry into the state. If you have any enclosed cargo vehicle including trailers, you will be required to stop. They apparently spot check moving vans but I have found in the 2 ocassions I had to stop at one that they ask you if you have any plants etc and when I said no they let me pass without checking. If you had the plant in a car, they'd never know about it.

I'm going to give you my honest opinion. All those pretty trees you see around you right now, many of which will grow in Florida just fine and might even be native... Take a good long look at them, because they are nearly impossible to find at nurseries in the southern half of the state. If you want to smuggle in some trees, bring in something that we desperately need. Real trees. These exotic tropicals are taking a toll on my mental state.

11-13-2004, 09:08 PM
Thanks for the advice. I know it's non native, but our landscaper down there is aware of our intentions and says we are fine as long as we keep it agressively trimmed. I'll ask him if he has any concerns about the roots. If so, we'll just re-pot it and let it live a nice contained life there.

550 acres sounds a bit much to me!

Quirky Quercus
11-14-2004, 05:57 PM
Just be careful, landscapers are not always tree experts. Just ask the person in this recent post http://forums.arborday.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=125

By the way, you could always find a nice spot in a park or alongside a highway (common) to plant or on someone elses lot to put it. :)

When the arbor day employees come in on monday (I noticed a pattern) they'll probably pop in with some advice on how to package it.