|TREES - ARBORISTS
You can easily spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on tree care and want to make sure the job is done right. Be wary of weekend pruning jobs by unlicensed hackers in an unmarked pickup truck Arborists should be licensed and insured with the state and be certified arborists. The certification means they have received training in correct pruning practices and should be able to do a decent pruning job on your trees. Certification is done annually and classes are held to update arborists in new techniques or changes that have taken place in the past year. Membership in arborists associations indicates a commitment by the company to maintain high standards in the industry. The International Society of Arboriculture is one such group that maintains a list of certified arborists. This business is very changeable with companies going in and out of business rapidly. Shop carefully before you choose a company. Beware of ads advertising topping or other hat rack pruning techniques. Your city or county landscape inspectors may have brochures available on correct pruning techniques. The Cooperative Extension Service in each county will also have good brochures on pruning. Educate yourself before spending a lot of money.
Pruned and hatracked ficus may be subject to a relatively new disease. I first noted this disease, Hypoxylon canker, on a historic strangler fig in Palm Beach in 1999. We also noted the disease on Ficus retusa and Ficus benjamina. I recently saw the same disease in Plantation, Florida.
The disease usually enters the tree through large wounds caused by pruning. If your ficus is dying back this disease could be the cause. Look for discolored dark areas in the wound area. Bark peeling with dark areas underneath are also characteristic. No control is available to my