How to get rid of Fig trees?

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Fig or Ficus Carica is part of the Moraceae family of trees. They are known for their fruits as well as for their ornamental value. Originally native to the Mediterranean region, they can now be found all over the world. Figs don’t usually grow big, with an average height of only 20-30 feet.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways to remove your Ficus Carica as well as kill their root system.

How to kill Fig trees?

Figs or Ficus Carica is not a huge tree, therefore most of the methods will be quite effective in killing this species. Most of the time choosing the method will depend on your preferences, each method has its own perks.

Here are some of the methods for killing trees:

  1. Foliar Spray
  2. Cutting the tree down and treating the stump with Herbicide
  3. Gridling or ring barking
  4. Basal Bark treatment
  5. Injecting the tree with killing chemicals
  6. Cut surface treatment

If you would like to read more about how to kill a tree without cutting it down, check out this post as well.

It has to be noted that even though any of the above methods can be used to kill a Ficus Carica tree, it will still have to be taken down once the tree dies, depending on the location the tree is growing.  

The best way to kill a small Fig tree

For removing small trees the best method would be spraying the foliage of the tree with a herbicide like Ortho, or Roundup. (check recommendations here)

Here are the steps:

  1. First and the most crucial step of this method is to make sure there is no wind as the herbicide will get carried away.
  2. Use an effective herbicide like Roundup, Triclopyr or Ortho in a pump spray bottle. (The furter instructions will be included with the herbicide)
  3. Spray the foliage or the leaves of the Fig tree with the preferred compound.
  4. The chemicals will then be absorbed by the leaves and transported into the root system, killing the tree over a period of time.

The most effective season to use this method is summer and spring as the foliage cover as well as nutrient flow within the tree will be high

The best way to kill a big Fig tree

Although Ficus Caricas don’t grow more than 30 feet, ringbarking can be a more suitable process than the Foliar Spray.

Besides cutting the tree down, the usual choice for a 25-30 feet tall Ficus Carica would be ringbarking.

Ringbarking will stop the nutrient flow from the roots to the stems and leaves, many times killing the tree within a few months.

That way you do not have to go through the hassle of cutting down the tree immediately.

  1. Depending on your skills, you will need to either get a hatchet, hammer and chisel or regular saw, or even a chainsaw.
  2. Simply remove a ring of bark around the entire tree, around 4-8 inches wide.
  3. Spray herbicide of your choice along the exposed bark. Spraying the exposed area helps to ensure that the entire root system of the tree will die as well.  

Read more about why removing a bark could be fatal to a tree here.

Killing a small Ficus Carica compared to a big Ficus Carica – What are the differences?

The killing processes can be used interchangeably depending on your preference.

With a Ficus Carica, the difference is not as apparent. Of course, the cutting and removing process will differ but because the maximum height is only 30 feet, the time it will take to kill a Fig tree will not vary much.

Can you kill a Ficus Carica without cutting it down?

Most trees, including Fig, can be killed without cutting them down. As someone with my own garden, I advise you to consider the fact that once the tree is dead, it will start decomposing over time and it can fall on nearby property.

Things to consider before removing a tree on your own

If you have never removed or killed a tree before, there are some things you have to consider before you start:

  • Do you have the skills for the job?
  • Do you have necessary tools and safety equipment?
  • How big the tree is?
  • Where the tree is located?
  • Why do you need to kill the tree?

If you have a chainsaw or a hatchet in your home, you already know how to use them, but if the tree is big and located near a pool or a house, killing the Fig will not be enough. You will also have to take the tree down after it dries, which will be a slightly more challenging part.

If you are just cleaning out your land or a forest from invasive trees, then killing the tree is not an issue, but if it’s in your yard I would recommend you continue reading.

Hire a professional tree removal service

Even though Ficus Caricas are not considered big trees, hiring a professional has its own perks. It’s a hands-off solution. Even if you kill the tree on your own, a professional can take care of the entire removal process including cutting the tree down, transporting and recycling it appropriately.

I will also publish a tree removal cost on my blog soon. Check it out here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Fig trees poisonous?

Some people believe that Fig trees can be poisonous, but this is merely a rumor. Even a raw fig fruit can be eaten without issues.

Are Fig trees sensitive to some specific chemicals?

Studies conducted by the Hawaiian Ecosystem at Risk Project showed that Ficus Carica are especially sensitive to glyphosate and Triclopyr. Herbicides containing these chemicals are very effective in killing Fig trees.

Do Ficus Carica roots destroy building foundations?

The good news here is that the root system of Ficus Caricas is not aggressive or strong enough to harm regular building foundations.


The easiest method to kill Fig trees is considered to be foliar spray while for bigger trees you should go with ringbarking or cutting the tree down.

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