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Ficus nitida in the Valley.

Posted by Lee_Tucson 9 Arizona (My Page) on
Sat, Sep 24, 05 at 20:57

OK I know some folks consider Ficus nitida to be an annoying plant, but in my opinion it's one of my favorite trees in the Valley. And just like anything in life,depending on who you ask you'll get a bunch of reasons as to why they like or dislike it.

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And not to leave the folks in Yuma out, considering how massive Ficus nitida can get down there:
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And even us in Tucson have our token few:
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Arizona would be a lot less green if Ficus nitida were never introduced. And who would have guessed that a plant native to such a tropical location would do so well in our unforgiving climate.

Lee


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

Nice pics. Ficus nitida is my fav tree. I have 2, planning to put in one more.


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

Boy! Lee! You're brave! LOL! I have one in my front yard and I LOVE it!
Go ahead you Ficus haters...flame away! LOL!!!


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

i love mine too! it was kind of a pain in the "you-know-what" to keep it warm the last few winters, but you can't beat the wonderful shade that it provides for my patio on those hot afternoons.


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

Wow, those trees look great.


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

I love the rows of ficus nitida. I think developers should be made to plant good shade trees along the sidewalks in their cheesy 'powerstrips' AND in the blistering parking lots. Best case in point for me: Arcadia Crossing at 44th and Thomas in Phx. How those idiot developers got away with facing stores to the west with NO shade and skimpy trees in the parking lot (that get butchered every time they actually form a canopy) is beyond me. Your pics of shady parking spots are great. Wonder how many fender benders are caused by people jockeying for those spots?

Whew! Didn't mean to go off on such a tear, but lack of shade in this climate has escaped the attention of the planning and zoning folk. Maybe we should send your pictures to city managers.


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

Great photos! What resort did you take the one with the pool?

Regards,
L


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

GreenLust, keep planting those Ficus nitida. Can't get any greener then those huh...

Garden trolip, while I understand we all have likes and dislikes for people to suggest that Ficus nitida shouldn't be planted in PHX makes no sense. Yes they need some water, but not as much as the haters suggest. Yes they can be damaged when temps drop into the mid 20's, but they can also recover faster then the haters would lead folks to believe. I have photos of one just down the street from me which recovered from the December of 2003 freeze. It's now bigger and healthier then it was before that freeze. And that's in Tucson!

tomatofreak, I agree with your sentiment 100%. They make great shade trees for parking lots when pruned properly. The more sun that hits AZ's ever growing urbanization the more heat those building and parking lots will hold. The more heat they hold the warmer we get. So it only makes sense that properly placed shade trees can provide some form of relief.

chicago90, A lot of the those pictures were taken at the Caleo Resort & Spa (the old Sunburst) on Scottsdale rd. Here's another shot of the Ficus nitida at that hotel.
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And here's a perfect example at the AZ Capitol of how you can prune them up when they get large to let some sunlight in for other plants to grow beneath.
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They're great for shading playgrounds for kids to, I don't know why more schools don't plant them.

Lee


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

We have a baby one in our yard, and it is my favorite, even though neighbors keep warning me against it. I love the deep green and lush foliage that is there even on such a young tree. It stayed beautiful even when the rest of the trees were suffering from chlorosis. I will be planting more!


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

I also love the Ficus trees, and have three of them. In Containers. Why would we want to use these trees in the desert? They use much more water than the natives, and are very susceptible to the cold. If you have lived here a long time, remember December 23, 1990. The low at the airport was 26 degrees, and held at that for a long time. Ficus trees burned, and had to be replaced, or heavily trimmed. My orange fruit froze, and even the Mexican Fan Palms were damageed. As to late summer green, nothing can compare to the Texax Ebony. I have shopped "Arcadia Crossing", and agree that the sun and heat are too much. But, the developers need to put in native, low water use, adaptive trees. Not the Ficus. Also, every parked underneath one? Look under one? They are home to a lot of messy, non native birds. Grackle and Starling heaven. They are pretty trees, and good for shade. But, my feeling is that that we have a lot of better choices.

Hey, my twenty-five cents worth.


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

If you aren't concerned with water usage, okay- you're hardly alone, certainly not on this forum or in the Phoenix area - in Tucson you'll struggle a bit more. But the green lushness that is being advocated belongs in another place. I have problems understanding why anyone goes to a unique region that can grow things unlike any other place, but feels the need to replicate another place that has the same old, same old, over and over again. Green and lush - sorry, but it is getting pretty freakin' boring. You can't grow agaves in a yard in Illinois, Saguaros would rot in Michigan. I went to Monte Carlo and was quite disappointed to see them attempt agaves - I wanted to see what was special there, not what I get at home. There's a big old plant palette out there that almost none of us have bothered to explore - we just fall back on what we know. Green and lush. Not architectural, not unique, not geometric and certainly not interesting. Pretty. Great. That takes a lot of imagination.

Additionally, there are many points to the Ficus that people don't bother to explain. Jim's point about the huge mess they gather is one - Glendale Library has had to net off their Ficus just so people can make it in the door without getting bird cr*p all over them. People don't realize how big they get and that the shade is dense enough to kill anything underneath it. I think it is irresponsible to advocate a big tree that can easily be damaged by cold when big trees can deeply affect home property values. Especially if their roots buckle a driveway or disturb a home's foundation.

Besides of which, there's just too many good choices that don't suck down a ton of water, only to be chopped up or down when they get out of hand.

Final note, I know some folks enjoy a good fight on the forum. I'm not one of them and posting about this topic is against my better judgement... because it does turn it into a TIF*, which doesn't do anything to make anyone feel better about anyone else. I certainly don't care to be thought of as a hater (of anything) or flamer. No more on Ficus for me - ya'll are surely sick of my soapbox, and I have better things to do than bang my head against a Ficus trunk!

*Thread in flames.


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

I'm with you, Pagan. I don't think the Forum Fights accomplish much, other than maybe entertaining a few people. ;-) I do think that it's a shame not to make use of more desert-adapted trees and shrubs. This isn't a game that we win if we have more green, no matter what the cost, than anybody else. The game is about having a garden that is appealing and makes good use of our own unique climate and environment. I enjoy a nice lush greenness as much as anybody else, but the real fun is doing it with plants that are more water thrifty. Yes, yes, I know. How ridiculous does it seem to be advocating lower water use plants when I have roses and lily ponds in my yard? I'm cutting back on the roses to areas that will better support them with less water. And the ponds. They are not huge water hogs because the floating leaves cut down on evaporation. Maybe I'm rationalizing my choices, I hope not.


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

I think there are lots of ways of "saving water" and yet growing what you enjoy growing to an extent. I'm not necessarily for water hogging trees, because then you are talking gallons and gallons and gallons of water being used, when there are low water use trees that can do the same thing you want to do with that high water use tree, provide shade.

For me, changing over from bubblers to drip irrigation in itself saveed me lots of money on water, and yet I still get to enjoy the plants I enjoy most. Just from switching from bubblers to drip irrigation, I've cut my water bill in the hottest part of the summer from $230+ to $90.00 per month in the summer. When I first bought this house everything was on bubblers and sprinklers. Another thing is, that as my roses have matured, I can now water them less often, but deeper, which has saved water as well. Use to, when they were new, I watered every other day. Then last year I switched to 3 times a week. This year, I've been able to successfully keep them happy with a two time per week watering. So saving water is a continuous thing for me. Each year my water bill has gone down as I've learned to try new things to lower my water bill. I'm still learning.

Easy


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

Well...someone needs to tell my Ficus that it's supposed to be hogging water! It's in my front yard, all gravel (I hate gravel)And the only time it gets watered is in the Fall when I plant geraniums under it. The rest of the year no water :)


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

Sounds great then, Trolip. :-)

Personally, I love poplars - aspen, cottonwood, etc. But talk about water hogs. Not to mention stress diseases. :-( If I could have something that looked like poplar but didn't have the problems associated with dry heat...hey wait a minute! I do! It's called Dalbergia sissoo. :-) There's also Brachychiton populneus, Bottle tree. But I don't like their nasty pods they drop all over.(All under, really)


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

PC, I was waiting for you to chime in. I know how much you love those trees. ;-)

I don't have much of a problem with them myself-I just think they are pretty "boring" in terms of trees. Birds get in all sorts of trees, so using the excuse of birdsh@% falling on cars or people isn't valid for me. Ever park underneath a pine tree. Not only do you get the birds there, but you also get pine sap. Birds will clamor in all types of trees.

Water use is not an excuse I like to hear from those who have ponds and water loving plants either. I don't know, for some reason, that excuse doesn't resonate much for me either. Water issue should be a concern, but I think most people here can reduce their water usage by 40% on their present plants within 2 years, but that is another subject altogether.

The root issue is a problem, but the main problem with roots is that people don't water them properly. Most of them time these trees are in lawn settings so they are always watered shallowly which keeps the roots closer to the surface, where they are destructive.

That being said, I think the biggest problem with people's choices in trees is the lack of originality in choosing their trees. There are probably 2 dozen varieties of trees in the Phoenix area which comprise 95% of the total trees grown here. I for one, want to see more choices available and used. There are lots of choices that are suitable from such areas as the Mediterranean, South America, Africa and Australia which could handle the summer heat and reduced water requirements.

If I ever see someone ever plant another ugly Chilean mesquite, a palo verde, acacia, or fan palm, I will scream (silently of course). Of course, if that's what I am thinking about planting, I might as well live in an HOA. (had to throw that in there, sorry :-) ) I know others like these trees, but I don't. It is just my opinion, and I am not sorry for it.

FREE YOUR MIND and try to be original or creative. More things grow here than what you see in parks and parking lots. All it takes is a bit of legwork and effort to find them.

My 2 cents here


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

Pagancat, you can't grow Ficus nitida in a yard in Illinois, and the fried tree would rot after a winter in Michigan. And I've yet to see a tree that green in the winter in the two states you mentioned. You do realize that when your home was built native vegetation was destroyed. We do live in a very unique region, so I believe people should make the most of it. And part of making the most of it is growing a mixture of plants.

And who tells you they use to much water? I know of some that get next to know supplemental irrigation in the AZ. As Garden trolip stated, "someone needs to tell my Ficus that it's supposed to be hogging water". They're not.

Do you see the grass growing under this Ficus nitida? Plants most certainly can grow under a well trimmed nitida.
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And look at these trimmed up F. nitida in Scottsdale. Plenty of plants would be able to grow under these.
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And for those that just want to cover up a gravel front yard, but have no desire to plant anything else, perfect tree.

And they're more cold hardy then you make them out to be. Here's one down here in much colder Tucson.

Summer 2003
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March of 2004
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Summer of 2004
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Summer of 2005
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I certainly respect the opinions of those that don't like Ficus. However, the facts are the facts and the above pictures are just some examples as to why this is a popular tree in the Valley and continues to increase in popularity.

Just my researched opinion.

Lee


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

One word: MULCH! Cha-Ching! Just saved tons of water!

OK. I'll play the game. However, let's not confuse 'fight' with discourse, shall we?

Lee and AZ Desert Rat,

I love your posts. Well-reasoned and the pictures are excellent. Thank you!

Most of the country would be jealous that we can grow such trees here in the valley. I see them in parks in Mexico and they provide so much nice shade. I personally wouldn't grow one because they take up too much 'prime' real estate (in my typical suburban yard) where I can grow other responsible and to some, 'irresponsible' things in the desert.

I think we should all conserve water so developers can mow down more desert when they make water rights swaps with Indian Reservations for allocation of Colorado river water for their projects and water-hog golf courses. We need more of those like we need a hole in our collective heads. But let's all be a bunch of collective 'tools' and grant our de facto share of water so we can enable more runaway development.

My water bill last month was $78 (honest!)and I have a pool and spa with landscape that is 1/2 tropical and 1/2 xeriscape. You can see what I grow on my ID screen that is quite different than what you usually see.

I've come to realize I've been very bad.

I'm going to rip out all my tropicals/tropical fruit trees in my yard now because someone says I shouldn't grow them. Bye Mangos. So long Avocados. See ya, Guava. Adios Papayas. Nice to know you Pineapples. Best wishes Royal Palms. Nice knowing you, Passion Fruit Vine, etc, etc."

Puhlease.


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

Well, I'd like to first congratulate everyone on an interesting and very civil debate! I love it! I can find something to agree with in every post.

Like Lee, I find the ficus very pretty, not boring. I like the contrast of trunk and leaf color and I like the branch structure. Mine is not a water hog, either. Other than watering pretty regularly for a couple of months after planting, it has done quite well with the irrigation.

I agree with ADR that there are lots of other trees besides the usual we see and that nurseries recommend all the time. How about listing some of these unusual (in Phoenix) specimens? (I do like Chilean mesquite, though; I think it's beautiful.)

Like Judy B, I absolutely *love* cottonwoods (but not bottle trees). If I had one, I'd spray it with water every few days just for that distinctive smell they have after a rain. Beautiful tree in every way - except to allergic people.

BTW, I don't advocate planting ficus nitida in parking lots. I vigorously object to the idiotic practice of denuding every tree, no matter what it is, just when it becomes large enough to actually provide some shade! And I agree - again - with ADR who points out that you can suffer the indignity of bird poop under any tree. And a lot of trees do drip sap which can be just about as bad and harder to wash off.

So let's agree to disagree about how much to love or hate ficus nitida. Don't forget that we'd have the same type discussion if we were talking about chinaberries, mulberries, Mexican fan palms and a host of others with distinct disadvantages. I think this has been a great thread. Thanks, Lee, for the terrific pictures. Now, let's hear about all those *other* trees... .


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

Sonotaps, Did someone tell you that you should remove your plants? I missed that part.


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

I didn't realize that my sarcasm would be interpreted so literally, and for that, I humbly tender an apology.

To reduce any semblance of ambiguity on my part, I would like to take this opportunity to let you know I was only joking and that the scorn of others would not be quite enough for me to actually consider the notion of potentially ripping out my less water-friendly landscape. FYI.

OK, how about these trees-

Bursera Fagaroides
Bursera Hindsiana
Bursera Microphylla
Pachycormus Discolor
Bursera Penicillata
Tabebuia Impetiginosa
Delonix Regia
Tabebuia Chrysantha
Ipomoea Arborescens
Guaiacum Coulteri

I like flowering trees and fat/fragrant trees if you didn't notice. Some of these stay relatively small here due to cold sensitivity but if they are planted in a good spot (warm) they will perform better. This tree list hardly scratches the surface. They are certainly interesting, though (in my opinion).

I'm sure others have some excellent ideas too.


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

Wow, it'll take me an hour to Google all those! Thanks for the list; I like flowers and fragrance, too.


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

Sonotaps, thanks for the clarification. Things aren't always what they seem on the 'Net. I rather thought sarcasm was the operative word but it pays to be sure. I didn't think that anyone had even implied that you should rip out your plants. It appears that you grow some very interesting ones.


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

I love threads like this one! Tons of great pics, and tons of great and interesting opinions. Seriously, you can't get this kind of eye candy, and brain candy, from any book, so thanks for every message on this thread.

I can tire of reading books of just cultural information on plants, so it's really, really interesting to hear everyone's opinions. The best garden talks/presentations are the ones where the presenter shares some opinion on the plants in discussion, so I really appreciate all the opinions posted here. Really fun to read over and over.

And whether you love these ficus or hate them, I definitely agree the more diversity in our plantings the better. I've got several experimental plants in the garden right now. Some will thrive, some will die, but all are interesting little experiments.

Thanks again,
Grant


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

Sonotaps, this is a neat place to grow so many different things. Enjoyed your list - two plants on there I love, and feel are under utilized here. Ipomoea Arborescens, just went out to see if there are any seeds to bring to the swap on Saturday. And Guaiacum Coulteri, the color of the blossoms is incredible! Such a deep cool blue for our summers. Trying to start some seeds. We all do agree that the palette of plants we have is incredible. Thanks for sharing your list.


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

PS.... Happy Birthday, Sonotaps!


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

I absolutly agree with Lee-ficus used in the right locations where they can fully develop their huge canopy can be a very useful tree and provide deep shade like NO other tree. Go ahead palo verde and ocotillo lovers. Cactus and Palo verde trees have their place but it is not for the purpose of providing shade in our ever warming urban environments. Use Mill Avenue in Tempe as an example-Ficus do a marvelous job of providing a high canopy to for the storefronts and people walking up and down the street. Take those trees away and what do you have? I'll tell you what you have, you have an oven. An oven that doesn't attract visitors and people spending money. Other good trees for shading shopping malls are olive trees, Jacaranda and even some of the newly introduced Eucalyptus. Some of the most beautiful cities, gardens and landscapes around the world and made up of non-native trees. Imagine Balboa Park in San Diego w/o the towering Eucalyptus and exotic palms? Washington DC w/o the Cherry Trees? Heavy foliage helps to block the sun, clean the air and psychologically "cool" your mind. That picture Lee provided with the mail truck in front of it was taken in my neighborhood of Arcadia-that house is right on Exeter. During the hottest summer days the thermometer in my car will drop 5, even 10 degrees when I drive into the area. Why? Towering pines, grass yards, few tile roofs and very, very few graveled yards. Want to live in an oven? Well I hear Gila Bend is wonderful in spring.


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

I have two mesquite trees in my yard and I hate them.
They loose all their green in the winter and one of
them has to have a good drink to get it started once
it time for it to leaf out. They make such a mess.
I plan to rip them out and put in Ficus Nicada in the
future. I don't care if I have to water them or not.
I just want something that is evergreen.

Gemfire


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

AZAmigo, I think you've made some good points. There is probably a place for many different types of trees in our environment. Thought should be given to the needs of the trees and what they bring to an area. I wish the person who planted eucs that grow huge and drop giant limbs, bark, leaves in my side yard had given more thought to what they were doing. Or those who plant mulberry trees in narrow areas so that they can't become the spreading canopies they are meant to be. Education is good. :-)


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

Hmm? Too bad the majority of Metropolitan Phoenix doesn't live in flood irrigated sections like Arcadia. Talk about an oven? The temps in Phoenix are close to the ones in Gila Bend now. Yes, the temperatures will drop 5, even 10 degrees when you enter these neighborhoods of towering pines and grass yards. With no tile roofs. The neighborhoods of most of Phoenix are not the ones you describe. Ask our friends in Tucson what it is like to live in a desert city.

"That picture Lee provided with the mail truck in front of it was taken in my neighborhood of Arcadia-that house is right on Exeter. During the hottest summer days the thermometer in my car will drop 5, even 10 degrees when I drive into the area. Why? Towering pines, grass yards, few tile roofs and very, very few graveled yards. Want to live in an oven? Well I hear Gila Bend is wonderful in spring."


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

Out of the basement for this one.

Ficus trees in general are some of the most interesting and attractive plants out there (beyond just F microcarpa). I love all the plants that have been mentioned: Pachycormis discolor may be my favorite, and all Bursera are intoxicating. But I don't care who you are, F microcarpa offer something that no other trees offer in AZ - Big Big Big Green Green Green - all year round. The only other places in the country that I know of that these plants are grown in is the lower west cost and gulf region. Still fairly unique. What is so cool about our part of the world is that we can grow some tropical stuff with all of our totally unique desert stuff. I personally do not grow any F microcarpa, but have several other species of Ficus growing in my yard along with many other tropical and desert tasties. I'm with you guys who are tiered of all the common stuff, but some of the most interesting trees that I've ever seen in the Phoenix area have been F microcarpa.
PenBuilder


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

How about interesting Ficus?

Ficus Petiolaris sp. Palmeri (Rock Fig)

Great plant! Big leaves and interesting!

http://gecko.gc.maricopa.edu/glendalelibrary/images/Ficus_petiolaris_ssp._palmeri-2.jpg

Container:
http://gecko.gc.maricopa.edu/glendalelibrary/images/Ficus_palmeri-1.jpg


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

  • Posted by roo2000 AZ 13 PhxMetro (My Page) on
    Tue, Sep 27, 05 at 11:24

I wonder though, what is happening to our ecosystem here, when we are adding all of these big broad,leafy things?


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

A favorite ficus of mine, that I grow in a pot is Ficus 'Amstel King'. This variety has long, banana-shaped leaves. The large, leathery, fast- growing foliage has a lush tropical appeal. This plant has similar growth habits to Ficus Alli, but has many wider, thicker and somewhat larger leaves. During active growth periods, growth tips are a very pronounced pink to red that contrasts beautifully against the broad, shiny leaves. 'Amstel King' holds its foliage extremely well indoors, although I grow mine outside on the back patio. It seems very drought tolerant, because even in a pot, in mid summer, with intense morning and afternoon sun, it holds up very well on one watering a week.

Easy


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

roo2000,

Ficus Palmeri is rather arid adapted so you don't have to fret or get an ulcer about the 'big leaf' thing. Look where they grow naturally, same with most things I listed above.

http://www.desertmuseum.org/programs/succulents_rockfigs.html

http://www.desertmuseum.org/programs/succulents_rockfigs.html


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

I wonder though, what is happening to our ecosystem here, when we are adding all of these big broad,leafy things?

Roo, I have thought about that for a while and did some research. Actually, others have done the research, all I did was look for the info. Here are a couple of articles about it

Article 1

ASU article

I do think people should plant more trees in the Phoenix metro area, whether ficus or other types to try to combat the biggest problem here which is our urban heat island. Trees can do much to curb that effect.

Now if someone would fricken answer the question of why the trees in parking lots are alway chopped down to take away the shade I would be really happy. They should really send out a survey: It's 110 outside (measured officially), 140 in the parking lot. Would you risk a little birdpoop on your car if you can park underneath the tree or would you rather have no shade at all (why the tree then) by trimming the tree next to nothing? My bet is that a vast majority would risk birdpoop here.

My take anyway


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

If it makes anyone feel better, I removed a big ole water thirsty mulberry tree from my yard a couple of weeks ago, and replaced it with a Desert Museum Palo Verde. Sorry AZ Desert Rat! ;) But I love the green color of the trunks, and the dappled light these trees allow through. Not to mention the wonderful canopy of yellow blossoms in the spring. It should look stunning with my Jacaranda with it's purple blooms being it's backdrop! :)

Easy


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

Easygoing,

I'm not here to express my 'approval' or 'disapproval' (nor should anyone care what I think), but I think those Desert Museum Palo Verdes are beautiful trees.


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

"I wonder though, what is happening to our ecosystem here, when we are adding all of these big broad, leafy things?"

What ecosystem do you mean? The Phoenix metro area? I think that the three million people that live here have already destroyed that. The only large community around here that has been able to develop around their environment is Tucson. I'd love to live there. Their lawmakers have it figured out: water conservation - NO LAWNS. Everyone has an environmentally friendly landscape with water smart plants. The wildlife has all of those dried rivers and washes that cut through town to use as highways. In a way, it almost seems like they do live within the ecosystem. Native birds, reptiles, and plants are common around town. I am much more cynical about us up here around Phoenix. No one holds developers or lawmakers responsible or accountable for environmental issues around here. Heck besides environmental issues, they don't even plan for roads when new areas are developed (see Queen Creek). Besides a few outlying communities around the foothills and away from agriculture, it is hard to even tell you are in a desert when you are driving around town. I would understand if someone would not plant a ficus for water reasons, but I don't think is has any effect on the ecosystem. I ficus wouldn't last a year out in the desert alone - I don't think we have to worry about that.

We are all passionate about this topic. It would be neat to start a charity organization that converted peoples eastern style green landscapes into Xerscapes. Get volunteers together and do it. Granite is pretty cheap when you get it in bulk and we all know how easy and relatively cheap it is to quickly grow desert plants: mesquites, palo verde, brittle bush, sage, ect, ect. After that, you just need a couple of boulders and to alter an already in place watering system. Obtaining the materials could either be done through a grant (there are programs that will fund things like this) or through donations. It could be put together in an organizational form that has a continuous mission, or it could be like an event that happens once or annually. Just dreaming here, but i'd be nice to make things better.

PenBuilder


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

"It would be neat to start a charity organization that converted peoples eastern style green landscapes into Xerscapes. ... Granite is pretty cheap when you get it in bulk and we all know how easy and relatively cheap it is to quickly grow desert plants: mesquites, palo verde, brittle bush, sage, ect, ect. After that, you just need a couple of boulders and to alter an already in place watering system. ... Just dreaming here, but i'd be nice to make things better."

I'm not going to mount an argument simply because I'm not sure you're wrong. I'm not at all sure you're right, either. I cannot imagine how much hotter it would be in this city if all yards were covered in gravel, a la Sun City West where the summer temps are always higher than here in the city.

"What ecosystem do you mean? The Phoenix metro area? I think that the three million people that live here have already destroyed that."

Well, you're absolutely right about that. The original ecosystem is kaput, gone forever. We have what we have and the only thing that makes sense to me is to pressure elected officials to put measures in place to improve the present environment and repair as much damage as possible.

Now, back to the ficus nitida! Anyone want to hazard a guess when it *might* be cool enough to prune these puppies??


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

  • Posted by roo2000 AZ 13 PhxMetro (My Page) on
    Wed, Sep 28, 05 at 12:18

I agree that more green is good, when talking about the urban heat island. I don't agree, however, that Ficus are the way to remedy the situation for many of the reasons above. I also wonder what the difference is in the amount of transpiration that occurs for broad leafed-plants versus desert adapted. Does the higher rate of transpiration in plants such as Ficus sp. increase the humidity in our area?

I feel like we should be obligated as humans to repair as much of the damage that we have done as possible, as tomatofreak says. In that vein, I wish people would plant more native trees that have evolved to to deal with the stress of the ridiculous temperatures here. Additionally, more native trees would provide habitat for native animals. Have you ever tried mesquite honey? Yum!

A native mesquite that is deeply watered and mostly left alone, except for some judicious pruning, can provide excellent shade in the summer. I have seen a number of streets that have mesquite planted on both sides of the sidewalk, and walking under them during the hot summer months is a pleasure (relatively speaking, of course).

I'm not advocating mesquites over other native trees, but they are a good example of what we have to work with. Diversity is also important. There are lots of interesting things that rarely get used.


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

You guys know I just love y'all, right?
Okay, let me go for the obvious and point out that when they started living in this unique environment they shot most of the "natural" part down. Then came businesses, parking lots, malls, huge tracts of land (that's for you, ADR) with houses and streets and driveways- not to mention putting in a melon-farming GOLF COURSE every couple of square miles- well, there's room for more than native vegetation. We do have to live here, after all.
There- that's seven straight months of summer getting my back up about haters of ficus nitida and all the other trees that aren't native but provide us with wonderful, wonderful shade!!!
By the way, what beautiful trees! I didn't know what they were before this thread. I think there's a gargantuan one kittycorner across the alley from me. I'm in awe of it, and hope it has found a couple of old defunct septic tanks to feed from!


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

OK, I think this thread has migrated from just the discussion about the ficus tree to the urban heat island to native trees. And another thing, how did I get called out on huge tracts of land by Eileen. I thought I would get called about golf courses, parking lots, or even native vegetation. I don't recall anything about land. ;-) A question first. What native trees are people talking about? I drive from Phoenix to LA and the only trees I see are saguaro and a few Palo Verde/mesquites in rest areas or other "man made" areas. While some of these trees may be native to other parts of Arizona or the southwest, I don't see any of them growing in the wild. Native to the southwest or Arizona or the southwest does not mean it is native the Phoenix area. We have introduced these plants here. That should be cleared up immediately.

The urban heat island effect is mainly due to 2 factors: Concrete and asphalt. Cars and people add to this effect, but the vast majority of it is due to concrete and asphalt. These materials absorb the heat during the day and retain it at night leading to warmer nights and eventually hotter days. We have only a couple of choices here: A) get rid of C & A and replace them with something else or B) reduce the sunlight from hitting these surfaces in the first place. Lets go into each one of these choices

A) Right now, we don't have much choice in this one. Unless they invent something to replace all of our city streets and sidewalks with other materials, we are stuck with this. I guess they could paint everything with a mirror paint to reflect the heat back into space, but everything would be so bright outside it would be difficult to drive or even walk around. Imagine driving on those surfaces at night with other headlights shining on the streets. I know they are developing other materials that don't retain heat as much, but right now they are just not available for projects of this magnitude. I know granite can be used to make streets, but I don't believe it is too cost effective.

B) The easier option is to prevent the sunlight from hitting these surfaces in the first place. Trees can play a major role here. It seems like any time a tree gets big enough to cover part of a parking lot or a street, someone trims it down to a shadow of itself. WHY? Lining streets with trees that actually shade the streets (novel concept here) is a big step in reducing the amount of heat and sunlight that are absorbed.

There are other steps that can be done also. Roofs can either be made out of different materials such as tile (much better than asphalt shingles) or another similar material. In some areas of the country where they get more rain, some are even using sod on their roofs (I don't know how they would mow it when they needed to). The easiest choice is to use trees and other vegetation to create a cooling effect in urban areas. I personally do not like ficus, but it does not mean I do not like the benefits of its shade and cooling effect. For mass areas, I would suggest a more drought tolerant tree--but that's only my opinion (still no Palos/mesquites please).

OK, that leaves us with a dilemma: Do we plant more trees and use vegetation to cool our city at the expense of using more water or do we knock down the trees, save water, but pump out more greenhouse gases for the extra energy required to cool our homes and businesses? You choose. We can't change the past but we can plan for the future. It depends on which road we want to take.

My 6,8 cents now--whatever.

There's no present. There's only the immediate future and the recent past.

----George Carlin

We must dare to think 'unthinkable' thoughts. We must learn to explore all the options and possibilities that confront us in a complex and rapidly changing world. We must learn to welcome and not to fear the voices of dissent. We must dare to think about 'unthinkable things' because when things become unthinkable, thinking stops and action becomes mindless.

----J William Fulbright


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

I like your way of thinking AZDesert. However, I think the reason trees are kept trimmed back is because of property damage and liability for when those monsoon storms do move in and topple trees, break off branches, etc. Can you imagine the lawsuit from a person who has a love one killed by a huge branch spanning a road, and then falling on and killing a family driving down the road? Whether they would win or not, I don't know, but I can see the cost involved in the lawsuits. To me it should be something else. Something more permanent. Steel frames over the freeway supporting a very durable shade cloth. Something that wouldn't be at risk of injuring people on the roads. As much as we spend on freeway architecture and landscaping, why not get rid of all the fancy pots on the walls, trees and landscaping bordering the freeways, and put in some kind of support structure that shades the entire freeway system. Just a crazy thought...

Easy


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

I bought a 36" box ficus from Moon Valley last spring and it died for the 4th of July. Their arborist inspected it and told me that I need to water it 36 gallons a day or every other day. I am taking that as hyperbole to emphasize that I should water it ALOT. I just put in the replacement and I am watering it a few hours 3 times a week.

Keep this in mind if you are planning on buying a more mature specimen. They are thirsty.

(I had planted 2 large jacarandas at the same time as the first ficus and they flourished while under the same watering conditions)


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

36 gallons a DAY????

That pretty much kills any arguments for this tree for me. That's a ridiculous for the desert in the middle of a drought. I'll keep my other, more judgemental comments to myself, but frankly, I'm stunned.

GT, hold the computer up to the tree and I'll tell it - it's a freakin' water hog!!!!


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

Pagancat did you read how desertdenial's Ficus is a recent transplant? What desert evergreen tree can you plant that does not require more water when recently transplanted then after established? Let's use a little plant 101 logic here. All plants require more water when recently transplanted then they will when established.

And desertdenial stated that the tree was purchased from Moon Valley, so Pagancat how often do you seek advice from Moon Valley? I'm going to guess not much, but if I'm wrong and if you're a big believe in getting advice from Moon Valley then I take no offense to a correction.

Now I don't want to start a Moon Valley bashing post, that's certainly not my intention, I enjoy the occasion plant gawking trip there, but I just thought it was fair to offer perspective.

The climate in PHX has changed greatly over the last 30 years. And the Ficus nitida is a great addition to the PHX landscape. Once again you can't grow that beautiful tree in the midwest, so make the most out of this unique climate

Lee


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

Pagancat.....Kiss my Ficus ;)


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

Lee, I didn't say it was good advice but I certainly would not plant a tree that I thought would take a 1/4 that much water to establish. I have successfully planted trees and not come near that. I'm glad you think they're beautiful, and have no qualms about planting something that has that kind -or even close to it- water use, here. I think they fit about as well as a pink flamingo would in the desert, and there is plenty of those, too.

We're gonna have to agree to disagree on this one - I have different priorities and different tastes. I like native trees.

GT, you got it - and your little dog, too!


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

Pagancat, I agree that perhaps it's just best to agree to disagree. And I think that the pink flamingos at the PHX Zoo and Reid Park Zoo look wonderful in the desert, I always enjoy seeing them. Pink flamingos are certainly another pleasant addition to our area.

I as well like native plants, but just because you like this:
Image hosted by Photobucket.com
And this:
Image hosted by Photobucket.com
And this:
Image hosted by Photobucket.com
And this:
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Doesn't mean you can't also like this:
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

(I wouldn't have taken those photos above long before this thread if I didn't enjoy those trees as well.)

Garden trolip, A+ use of you Ficus. It looks great there. Thank you for the picture.

Lee


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

Not to change the subject, but I couldn't help but pick up on PCat's "I love native trees". I have been wondering lately about the Mexican Palo Verde trees (not necessarily native) and cork screw bean mesquites. I have seen full grown Mexican PVs in landscapes, and man are they elegant and pretty. They are like the Desert Museum, but with brown bark and have a less obvious character. I also like that they are not a hybrid. The corkscrew mesquite are not necessarily strong in stature, but neat in bean. My question to PCat and all: why do you think others don't grow these trees. They are definitely not common, but they can be found. I think I am going to plant one of each, but want to know if anyone out there has tried either of these bad boys. Is there something I don't know about them? Extraordinarily messy or problematic in other ways?
PenBuilder


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

What did you say about my dog?!


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

I like the hybrids because they are thornless. Have you ever had to prune one of those fully loaded thorny desert trees? ;)

Easy


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Nother yorkie under my tree

GT, did I tell you I adopted another Yorkie. Regrettably it was a puppy mill dog, but I have had her spayed, a tumor removed, and seven loose teeth pulled, and she is in a better home now, and can retire and enjoy the rest of her life. I didn't realize she was a puppy mill dog till I took her to the vet, although I wondered. The breeder told me she had only been bred once per year. The vet said not true at all. The breeder told me she was only 5 years old. The Vet said, no way...with all those loose teeth! She is a little angel, well behaved, wonderful little girl. Love her to death. We'll have to have a yorkie get together one of these days. So now I have my Yorkies, Bridget and Megan. Any my very old make Sheltie, who I have had since he was 8 weeks old Chipper. They are such wonderful animals!

Easy


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

  • Posted by roo2000 AZ 13 PhxMetro (My Page) on
    Fri, Sep 30, 05 at 12:00

I am going to the DBG sale next weekend, specifically to purchase a screwbean mesquite (Prosopis pubescens), Pen Builder. I bought one there last year, but it didn't make it (completely my fault). So far the DBG is the only place that I've found one. I'm very excited to try this tree!


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

Your dog? I said I would kiss your dog, by your command! And that's it!

Roo, have you been down to the Rio Salado project at all? There and at Tres Rios they have a bunch of the screwbeans. I was actually surprised at how small they were, but who knows how old they were, too.

Tony, I think Easy's answer is it - people see them as too messy or too thorny. Which is too bad - like anything else, you'll have your upsides and your downsides. When you breed out one factor, you ultimately lose another (as Easy can tell you about the newer hybrid roses with gorgeous form but no scent). I've got a pair of fairly scarred up mitts, but thems my gardening hands, so...


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RE: Ficus nitida etc

Oops - sorry, I didn't really address your question about the Mexican Palo Verdes ... many people believe them to be noxious weeds - like the Tree of Heaven, that sort of thing. They re-seed very easily, I guess, although some of the offices near by have them and they look great. I've heard that they also break easily in the monsoon winds, but I haven't seen it happen, so...?


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

Screw bean it, I think I'm going to try them both. I have a spot for two desert trees and I have been debating what type to use for a while. I wanted to get something different, so I will try these. I figure that they probably have as much chance getting blown over as any of the other desert trees. The mess - I can deal with. The thorns - It will fit in nicely with the others. The baby tree weeds - I'll have to stay on top of it. Thanks for the advice. If anyone has anything to add, I'd appreciate it.

I'm also going to the DBG sale next Friday, but I have also seen them at Shady Way.
Tony


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

Okay, I have a confession to make.

I don't like xeriscapes (forgive me Lord, bless the pygmies in New Guinea).

I have never seen one that I liked. Most of them look to me like...well, like a gravel pit.

Most of the xeriscapes that I've seen contain what appear to be non-native plants, anyway. At least, I've never seen most of them in the many hours I've spent tromping around in the desert.

My next door neighbor has a native mesquite, of which about 1/3 hangs over my roof. *&$^& messiest tree in creation! It throws seeds everywhere, and the little sprouts are one of the worst weeds in my yard. Plus they bite when I reach down to pull them.

I don't want my yard to look like a...well, a gravel pit. I want it to look as fresh and inviting as possible. But to each his own, if you want a xeriscaped yard, more power to you. It just bothers me a little bit when others promote their way as the only acceptable way. Political correctness begone!


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

Yeah, xeriscape....I'm ALL over it!


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

Hmmmm, and I'll bet that Yorkie can fly, too, GT!


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

DryGulch, the desert will grow on you - trust me. It's like stinky cheese -it's an acquired taste. I've lived here my whole life. I used to hate it here, but now, honestly, I think this is the most beautiful place on earth. I've been around, and I think I can say that there is no place quite like the Sonoran Desert. I've never been to South Africa, Madagascar, or Australia, but I'm sure that those are the only deserts that rival ours. As far as natives you cant find in our landscapes: there are Jojobas, Creosote, Ironwood, Blue Palo Verde, Ocotillo, and Saguaro's that first come to mind. Don't forget organ pipe, strawberry hedge hogs, brittle bush, fairydusters, several types of agaves, our own little Mammillaria, cholla, a plethora of prickly pear, different yuccas that are found all over the state, and barrel cactus. Take me blind folded to any sub division, I will find all of the above. If you find a cult Xerer, you will find the Baja stuff: Cardon, Bursera, Pacycormis, the Sonoran Euphorbia and Jatropha, even a ficus, and lots of column cactus. If I keep thinking I will go on and on. As far as rocks go, you are in the right place. We have a complete fossil record from the Cambrian to the Permian along the rim (that covers evolution from trilobite to reptile). Beyond that you can find dinos from the Triassic to the Jurassic in the Navajo Nation. We have some of the oldest rock on earth 30 minutes north of town, and some volcanic action from the Superstition calderas to the cinder cones around flagstaff. Not to mention all of the recent ice age mammal fossils found around town. I guess what Im trying to say is that desert landscape is a little more than a pile of rocks.
(I guess this is why people dont like me)
Tony


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

*I* like you, Tony! :D


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

Grant's right- this is a great thread!


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

Ok, I'm going to chime in here, too. :-)

The wonderful thing about gardening is that there are so many different ways of doing things, you'll never get bored. I love how those big ficus trees look and appreciate that others plant them. However, I don't want to bother watering them. Nor do I want to bother watering and caring for grass, either. I enjoy my small monthly water bill.

That being said, certain folks on this forum water their yards a lot with thirsty plants, but check out the picture that Gardentrolip just posted on this thread...absolutely gorgeous! I'd love to have a back yard as gorgeous as that. However, I can't really afford too expensive of a water bill.

Nor can I afford at this time to install a complicated drip irrigation system in my backyard, so I'm relegated to water harvesting techniques (I've been creating an awful lot of berms lately) & soaker hoses. Neighbors of mine have had gutters installed on their houses, but I can't afford that, either. :-)

That's why I love to go to places like local botanical gardens to get inspiration on how, over time, I can hopefully have a beautiful landscape with native plants. I, too, love those non-natives. heck, I just got my 1st banana plant. And I succumbed last week to black & chartreuse sweet potato vine at Lowes. :-)


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

Thanks roo


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

I have 2 ponds (soon a 3rd) And when I had 3 TEENAGERS at home in the summer my highest water bill was $72.00. Because of my GIGANTIC Mesquite tree I have my own little micro climate. So I can have a tropical look in my backyard without the high H2o bills :)


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

I HAD 2 Ficus trees I planted in my back yard. The first one planted 3 years ago, was just removed from my yard yesterday, it DIED. Not sure why, but last summer almost all the leaves turned brown and fell off, but in the spring it came back. The other one was planted about the same time, but much smaller. It has been doing just fine, until this summer, leaves turned brown and fell off, not as bad as the other one and it is now recovering. What is happening? I have it on a drip system, I water for 50 minutes twice a week. I am using 2 (4) gallons per hour heads to the drip systemn. HELP, I don;t want to loose this one.


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

I HAD 2 Ficus trees I planted in my back yard. The first one planted 3 years ago, was just removed from my yard yesterday, it DIED. Not sure why, but last summer almost all the leaves turned brown and fell off, but in the spring it came back. The other one was planted about the same time, but much smaller. It has been doing just fine, until this summer, leaves turned brown and fell off, not as bad as the other one and it is now recovering. What is happening? I have it on a drip system, I water for 50 minutes twice a week. I am using 2 (4) gallons per hour heads to the drip systemn. HELP, I don;t want to loose this one.


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

There could be a number of reasons why you are having trouble with your ficus trees. They are not considered low water use so it could be a water issue. Right now you are delivering about 8 gallons twice per week which probably isn't enough and it's probably too often. You could try running your system for 4 - 6 hours once per week instead. Our clay soils hold quite a bit of water so as long as you are applying enough you shoudn't need to water more often at this time of year. Your goal is to get the water to soak down to three feet - long run times will accomplish this.

Your trees could also be planted too deeply. I see this all the time and it causes a slow decline/death in trees and shrubs because the zone of trunk tissue just above the root flare gets covered with soil. This basically suffocates the plant. You can gently remove soil next to the trunk of your tree until you can see where the roots begin to extend into the soil. If this is below the grade of the surrounding soil, your tree was planted too deeply. Remove about a 6" ring of soil from around your tree's trunk and it might recover.

There is an outside chance that something else is causing the trouble with your trees. Cotton (Texas) Root Rot is one. It affects non-native trees and shrubs and travels from plant to plant by the roots that grow and touch one another. There is no cure. The good news is that most natives are resistant; palms, grasses, yuccas, lilies (monocots) are not affected.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cotton (Texas) Root Rot


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

Hey everyone. I'm new to the forum and would like some advice. I just planted a ficus microcarpa (Indian Laurel Fig) which is in column form right now. Does anyone have any pictures of a mature column form ficus? I'm not sure if I want to trim it up to regular tree form, or keep it the way it is. Thanks in advance for your help.


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RE: Ficus nitida in the in Los Angeles

I live in Los Angeles and am considering planting ficus nitida at a western exposure. Questions:
1. How are the root systems on these? How far or near a house can they be planted?
2. How quickly do they become trees- fast or slow growing
3. Can they be kept/trimmed as hedges instead?
Home Depot had some and they were pretty reasonable.


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

Be sure you keep this tree far away from buildings, sidewalks, pools and fences. They have roots that tend to valut these structures causing significant damage. They are fairly fast growing, but frost tender. In the winter of 06/07 many trees were lost in the Phoenix area due to below freezing temperatures.

You could certainly make a tall hedge out of them but it will lock you into a regular maintenance schedule to keep them contained. Make sure you are prepared for that.

Take a look at the photos at the beginning of this thread - these trees can become huge. Pay special attention to the 'buttressing' roots on older trees. Perhaps a smaller shrub/tree would fit your hedge needs better than Ficus nitida.


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

I love these Nitida Ficus.
I do not understand the fuss against them. I love shade, specially in summer and spring. Here in California, greedy tree trimming companies trim trees 3, 4 times a year!!!! what a robbery. In summer time, in need of shade, and trees get trimmed!!!
The Ficus is a beautifull tree that offers shade, lucious green canopies, powerful growth. About water usage, yes, they need water, so what, I would galdly use water to grow such a beautifull tree. Those that complain about sidewalk damages, well, I think it is a good way to make sure my tax dollars are spent, I would rather have big green trees, and have a crew repair a sidewalk every 15 years, than have no crews working, some fat politician divwerting my tax money, and little bony trees.
I do not live in Arizona, but in such unforgiving summer climate, I would consider the Ficus a blessing.
Long live the Ficus, there is place for all trees in this world. Those that like other trees, plant them in your property. Instead of complaining about Ficus, please germinate and plant those trees you favour all over town. Be proactive, not destructive.
Jaime.______________________________________________


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

Hi, brand new to this site but this thread convinced me to register :). As someone with 20 plus years in the valley, I can say for a fact that xeriscapes and desert do not grow on everyone. I can not wait til I can move somewhere that lush green trees grow naturally!

That said, I have a question on ficus nitida care, rather than a comment on their virtues:

I am caring for my mother's garden for the summer and it requires lots of care. The biggest problem so far is the ficus nitida that are in the front and back, in wooden boxes. I water them about every 3 days and soak them well with the hose, but nevertheless, some of the trees have turned brown literally overnight after watering, and dropped most of their leaves. The same trees standing next to them and purchased at the same time are not dropping leaves. What causes this, and what's the best way to care for these trees (like how much & how often to water, fertilize, etc)


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

According to Landscape Plants for Dry Climates (written by a faculty member at UA), Ficus Nitida in the ground should be watered every week or two in the hot season and every month or two in the cool but they also point out that many established trees seem to do fine without water - while its not really a low water use plant it certainly is not a water hog. They also recommend them as large container plants.

Personally I absolutely love them. I bought one which I have not yet planted cause I don't know where to put it. I might put it in a container - I am concerned about how big it will get in the ground and the roots. I keep changing my mind about where to put it.

I also absolutely love Palo Brea which I will put in my yard when I convert it to Xeriscape. I love Ironwood and Jacarandas and Agaves. On the other hand, I'm indifferent to palms and don't care for Chilean Mesquite. There is a Acacia which I can't even be close to when it blooms cause the smell makes me gag. Unfortunately there are tons of them by my work building - guess its not so bad that I'm losing my job :)


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

Hi...looking for advice! My house backs onto a major street, and so we are looking to put up a hedge that might absorb some of the traffic noise. Oleanders are out because we have dogs, and anything flowering (Like Lady Banks Roses) won't work because we have a pool, and the scent will attract bees.

We have sort of settled on column Ficus, because it grows fast and thick, and is tolerant of the heat, without flowers, seed pods, or any of the other waste we've seen on some hedging materials.

I'm wondering about the roots. My understanding is that if we put it on a drip line, watering infrequently but deeply, and keep it trimmed, the roots will not be a problem. I guess I'm looking for someone with experience with this plant to confirm that? I'm also wondering about how frequently we will need to trim them to keep them at no more than about 8ft. Help!

Thanks.

Genie


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

Genie,

You may have been misinformed because Ficus do flower and produce marble sized inedible fruit. Even though this tree is evergreen, that doesn't mean it doesn't drop leaves - it does - all year long. Some people have allergic dermititis from the sap of ficus trees.

Ficus trees have roots which are known to vault sidewalks, pool decking and fences, no matter how they are watered.

An alternate choice might be Hop Bush (Dodonaea viscosa) a tall screening shrub (10' tall x 8' wide) with low litter. The variety known as 'purpea' has leaves that turn a bronze-purple in the winter. Its not poisonous, has no thorns and grows fairly fast.

Keep in mind that plants make poor noise deflectors and you may not notice much improvement to your traffic noise.

Try the link below for details.

Here is a link that might be useful: Landscape Plants Online


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

Well, the frost of 2011 will go down in history as one of the worst here in Arizona. There were 3 days of frost on the first of the year 2011, but that didnt have much effect on my Ficus tree, just the tops and one of the outlying branches got killed. But the frost last night, the night of Feb. 3, 2011, the Ficus really got walloped. Im sooooo sad, heartbroken. I have only had the Ficus one year, and now all the outer leaves are brown, killed by the frost, and while the inside looks green, I really have no idea how extensive the damage is. Can anyone help me decide what to do? They are young enough that I could maybe replace them with a more frost-tolerant tree, though I wouldnt know which one at this point can grow as fast and yet be frost tolerant. There are other netighbors with Ficus around this South Scottsdale neighborhood and they ALL have their Ficus looking sickly, beat up by the frost. Dont know what to do.


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Ficus Nitida in Chandler, AZ

Pauly, Yeah I really know what you are talking about. Exactly the same situation happened to my 3 ficus trees which were planted in October 2009. Only 4 months later, they got completely destroyed by the 20-deg night.

But it's spring time again, I see new baby sprouts coming out. My only question for the experts here is: How long would it take to get back the original bushy look?

Comments?


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

>>How long would it take to get back the original bushy look?

Couple years maybe. I had one that was about 6 yrs old, 14 ft about that was completely frosted 4 yrs ago. It regrew from the bottom. I pruned out all but two trunks and it was back to 12 ft when this last winter hit. There are little tiny shoots coming out from the trunks 4-6 ft off the ground as well as from the base. The main trunks were still green under the outer layer of bark this time.

I love it when it is full and green and growing like mad. Gives me something to do when I feel like pruning. I am sad when it is just bare stumps.


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

In the west valley and everything is back from the frost except the Ficus. So it has been over 3 months and I am just starting to get a few shoots out the bottom. The other 2 still have no signs of life. Is there any hope?

Here is a link that might be useful: Ficus after the frost


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

cdn snowbird,

Your trees have been damaged by the frost to the point where it has destroyed the natural shape of the tree. The sprouts you have at the base will never provide the traditional, single-trunk tree you once had.

I'd recommend you start over with a tree that can withstand the frequent sub-freezing temperatures in our winters. Before this past freeze, the winter of 2006/2007 also killed or damaged ficus trees all over the valley.

Now is a good time to plant, or if you are going to be gone over the summer and can't supervise a new tree, wait until October. There are dozens of lovely trees to choose from that will provide shade, colorful flowers, a habitat for wildlife or even fruit.

The link below has a powerful search feature that lets you select any number of criteria for your 'perfect' tree. Give it a try.

Here is a link that might be useful: Water Wise Landscaping Choices


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

Hello, I have been reading the posts about the Ficus Nitida, which by the way I planted 5 in my backyard this past Friday, and I would like some tips on how to water and care for them. The planter said water from top. I would prefer the roots to not be exposed. Would deeper watering be a better choice?


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RE: Ficus nitida in the Valley.

I wish everyone would just plant more trees. We definitely need more shade.

People waste tons of water and energy keeping their lawns up. I'm sure the water for a tree is much less than water use for a lawn. Who uses a lawn anyways. I never see kids playing on their front lawns. It's way too hot and full of so many chemicals, I wouldn't want my kds playing on an AZ lawn.


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