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Mr. Smarty Plants - Non-native invasive creeping fig on oak tree

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Wednesday - August 15, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Non-native invasive creeping fig on oak tree
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a creeping fig in a pot that sits next to an oak tree. It took to the tree as a trellis and looks beautiful. My question is: is it doing the tree any harm?

ANSWER:

Creeping fig (Ficus pumila), is an Asian native, and although not listed as an invasive plant, it can be very agressive. Once it has attached itself to a surface it is very difficult to remove. If it continues to spread up your oak and reaches the branches with leaves, it could be a serious competitor for sunlight and be a real threat to the health of your oak. Mr. SP recommends you remove it from the oak and train it to trail on the ground (or build a trellis for it). If you train it to trail on the ground, you will need to watch it and trim it to keep it from growing into areas where it isn't welcome.
 

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