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How to Kill a Big Ficus Tree

Ficus trees are in the same family as the mulberry (Moraceae) and are native to India, Asia and northern sections of Australia. There are quite a few members in this family, with Ficus benjamina being one of the most popular. Ficus trees thrive in warm subtropical and tropical climates and can become quite large and invasive. Their large and expanding root system can do damage to structures and walkways if planted too close. Killing a big ficus tree will take some work, but it is possible.

Chop down the main section of the tree until there is only a stump. Cut the stump close to the ground, making sure to make a level cut so the herbicide does not run off.

Wipe off any sawdust remaining on top of the stump after you have made your cut. Sawdust will absorb any herbicides placed on the trunk, stopping them from working effectively.

Drill 1- to 1 1/2-inch holes into the top of the stump, being sure to drill close to the edges by the surrounding layer of bark. Drill the holes 8-10 inches deep so the herbicide can reach to the inner depths of the tree.

Use an herbicide that contains triclopyr in it. Triclopyr works effectively in killing ficus tree stumps and roots and you should be able to find it at your local home improvement or gardening store.

Treat the stump with herbicide immediately after making your cut. Pour the herbicide into the drilled holes and paint the entire top of the trunk with it. Wet a paintbrush with the herbicide and paint across the trunk.

Spray the herbicide on any green off shoots that may be growing up from the bottom of the trunk. Cut off bigger branches and paint the herbicide on the cut edge.

Pour additional herbicide into the drilled holes in one week. Wait for the ficus tree stump to die, which will take approximately three months for its complete death.

Use a stump grinder and grind the remaining stump into the ground, after it is dead.


Ficus benjamina is a favorite houseplant, but when planted outside in the tropical and subtropical regions of the U.S., it can obtain a height of 50 feet and become quite invasive.

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