I must admit that I have been contemplating this post for quite some time. To be honest, I have been hesitant about it because of people’s overwhelming affection for ficus trees (Ficus nitida).
At first, the benefits of planting a ficus tree are obvious. They are lush, beautiful and provide dense shade, which is sometimes scarce in the desert.
So what’s the problem with having a ficus tree?
Well there are a couple of things that you should be aware of before you plant a ficus tree.
First, is the fact that they do suffer frost damage in the low desert when temperatures dip below freezing. It can be worse when consecutive days of freezing temperatures occur.
|Frost-Damaged Ficus nitida|
|Ficus tree that had frost damaged branches removed.|
The second problem that sometimes occur when people don’t research how large ficus trees will become.
|Young Ficus Tree|
|Mature Ficus Tree|
By all means, buy one. Just know that you will have some winters where it will suffer frost damage and will look unsightly until new branches grow in.
Like ficus trees, sissoo trees do grow quite large but I no longer recommend them for average size residential landscapes. The photo of the tree above was taken four years after it was planted from a 15-gallon container and it rapidly grew even larger. This tree made it’s debut in the Phoenix area about 15 years ago and rapidly became quite popular for its lush green beauty.
However, as sissoo trees have been grown in the southwest landscape for several years, problems have begun to crop up. They have invasive root systems that cause problems with sidewalks, patio decks, pools, and block walls. In addition, their mature size is so big that they dwarf the landscapes they have been planted in.
|3 Sissoo Trees|