too late to plant a ficus?

xillJune 22, 2011

well i purchased two 5g ficus nitida trees a month ago and two days later pulled out my back. i kept hoping and hoping i'd get better but the weeks rolled by and the temperatures continued to rise. now i have two 9ft trees that i've been babying on my covered patio and trying not to let the heat burn the roots. i'm feeling much better now and should be able to dig their holes in the next few days. but now that we're above 100F would this be a death sentence? the trees are too big for their containers so i either need to transplant them into larger containers and plan to put them in the yard after summer has passed, or put them in the ground now (both in full sun locations). any help is appreciated.

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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

Well you're on the horns of a dilemma aren't you? It's a tough choice. I've planted true heat lovers like oleanders and lantana in June, July and even August and had total success, but it's a risk.

If you decide to do it, make sure the foliage on your plants has been accustomed to full sun while you've been babying it. If not, it can easily sunburn even from just a month in partial or mostly shade. Obviously keeping them very, very well and deeply watered is critical.

If it was me, I'd do it, but I'm a gambling man and I don't have any out of town trips planned any time soon, so I can be home to water frequently and keep an eye on drip irrigation.

Let us know what you decide to do and how it works out. Good luck. Sorry about your back, too, that's never good.

Take care,
Grant

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 12:13PM
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xill

well i tried to acclimate the trees in a few hours of morning sun for the past few days and they dont like it. i'm not sure if it's the heat on the leaves, trunk, or the fact that they're sitting in the black container they came home from the store in. either way, they dropped some leaves, too many for me to feel comfortable in continuing. so instead i'll be repotting them in white 5g buckets (about the same size as the 15g nursery containers) which i drilled drainage holes into and placing them on the north side of my house until mid-september. i plan to fertilize lightly, and water daily so i dont lose any potential growth during this growing season. i'll post new pics in a few months when i get them into the ground for good :)

    Bookmark   June 26, 2011 at 5:59PM
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lazy_gardens

If you can, wait until the humidity goes up in July.

Our second-best planting season is the summer rainy season.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2011 at 9:30PM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

Good luck and keep us posted. I was thinking that the only way I'd plant them is if they were already fully and continuously acclimated to full sun, otherwise it's hard to get them accustomed to it this time of year. Sounds like you've got a good plan.

Good luck and take good care of that back!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 3:11PM
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xill

good thing i waited on planting them, i just noticed two little wren-sized birds have claimed one of them as their home for the time being lol. and since moving them to the north side they seem to be flourishing with lots of new lime green growth :) i love ficus

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 2:37PM
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