If I transplant a 20ft ficus will it live and how should it be done?

Asked April 1, 2017, 9:57 AM EDT

We want to "gift" our ficus to our school. Our new lawn is getting too much shade and the kids a school could really use it. I have read that we need a foot of rootball for every inch of trunk. I have a team of 5 dads willing to commit 6 hours on Sat this spring, a flatbed truck and a crane.

Orange County California

1 Response

Thanks for your transplant question. As you may have already learned, there is not a lot of 'how to' literature on the subject, primarily because a job this big is done by commercial groups that know what they're taking on. (See this YouTube).

I have been unable to find any scientific guidelines about root ball needs based on the diameter of the trunk. Since those of us experts who answer these questions are limited to home gardener issues, I think that an Extension agency is probably not the group from whom you can successfully solicit advice.

I recommend you contact a commercial plant moving company which has the correct equipment, licensing, insurance and manpower to take on this Herculean (but benevolent) task.

Good luck.