How to Prune a Ficus Plant
When trimming a ficus tree, don't top the tree or attempt to reshape the plant into an unnatural shape. The purpose of pruning a ficus tree is to remove dead or crowded branches. For outdoor trees, confine heavy pruning to wintertime. Always use clean gardening shears to avoid spreading disease from one plant to another. The tree may bleed heavily with pruning, and you may wish to wear gardening gloves to avoid any allergic reaction.
Look for the swelling at the base of each branch. When you select a branch to remove, plan to cut just outside of this swelling to prevent injuring the plant.
Cut off all dead branches. Dead branches will not produce new growth.
Thin out crowded branches to let more light into the center of the plant. Don't prune more than 20 percent of the tree's volume.
Trim the length of longer branches to reduce the width of the plant, if desired. Make each cut where there is a juncture with a smaller branch, selecting a smaller branch whose diameter is at least 1/3 smaller than the larger branch being trimmed.