Tampa Garden club removes ficus tree to save oak
TAMPA Arborists this week cut down a large ficus tree that had wrapped around a live oak tree in front of the Tampa Garden Club building on Bayshore Boulevard. It took more than two years for club members to get the city’s permission to remove the aggressive, non-native ficus, said Carole Guyton, grounds chairperson for the club. She said it is “anyone’s guess” how the ficus came to be on the club’s picturesque front lawn. It had grown so large its trunk almost obscured the oak. Guyton cautioned against planting ficus trees outdoors, where their aggressive roots and foliage can harm other vegetation and even structures. “That nice-looking ficus tree that we might put in our living room becomes a different thing outdoors,” she said.Guyton notes the irony of a garden club seeking to remove a tree of any sort, even one considered an undesirable “exotic” by experts. She said the club has sought permission to remove this one since it was smaller and less troublesome. “That’s not cohabitation,” she said of the offending tree’s proximity to the live oak. “That’s strangulation.” With the ficus removed and fertilizer applied to the oak’s roots, club members say prospects for the oak’s survival are good.