Ficus Tree – They Have Gall!

Recently a subscriber at (sign up on right ==>) asked a question about their Ficus tree… Here’s their question:

“I have two ficus trees over 12 years old outside in half-barrel containers. I have cut back branches so they will “fit” under an eave. One of the trees has developed a weird growth near the roots, a dark growth consisting of several “bubbles”. Pretty ugly. My guess is some kind of tumor. Can you help me?”

This sounded to me like of a condition we call “gall.”

In our eBook on Ficus Tree Care we cover top to bottom on caring for your Ficus – however, Ficus gall is seen by so few it is not covered in much detail.

If you have a Ficus check out our Ficus Care Guide

Here’s want they wanted to know about this “weird” Ficus condition:

  • What causes gall on Ficus Trees?
  • Is it detrimental to the tree?

Their first thought… the gall would not harm the plant for quite a number of years! Were they correct? What are your thoughts?

Before we answer the Ficus Gall question – what exactly does it look like?

You can see the “tannish-brown mass” stuck to the trunk of the Ficus tree. That is what we call a “Gall.”

What Causes Gall on Ficus Trees?

From my experience “Gall” comes from a fungal or bacterial infection. More than anything the gall looks “ugly.”

Here’s another picture of Ficus gall.

Now to the question – Is the gall detrimental to the Ficus tree?

Again, from my experience, I have not noticed any “ill effects” from gall.

In the first image I’m not sure if there is much you can do – it’s just ugly. However, if you do decide to “cut it out” Make sure you disinfect the clippers before and after surgery!

On small plants I would cut the Gall out – possible!

The bottom 2 images are from the lobby at Fess Parker Double Tree in Santa Barbara where I attended a conference a few years ago. They had a couple large Ficus trees, both had a gall and one was the size of a softball. I have so say… It made for great conversation over a 45 minutes time span.

When I went back the following year, the Ficus trees were still doing very well, in spite of the gall as big as a softball on one of the trees.

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