Fern bed again

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  #1  
Old 03-05-06, 07:09 AM
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Fern bed again

My fern beds are looking very raggedy altho there are plenty of live fronds. Underneath there's a buildup of sticks from old fronds, and a thick layer of dry root/sodlike material. Should the plants be ripped out and replaced or is there something I can do to rehabilitate them? Are ferns planted from seed or vegetatively?

I tried pruning per previous advice on this site, but the cut fronds are looking yellowed and stressed. Beds are outside and I'm in south Florida.

Thanks!

Steve
 
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  #2  
Old 03-05-06, 04:20 PM
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thick layer of dry root/sodlike material
Is this the rootball of the plants or just debris in the bed? It seems as if the bed needs mulching and water. When we lived in Florida, the ferns just about took over all the beds in the same manner as an invasive weed.
 
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Old 03-05-06, 05:52 PM
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They are the rootballs of ferns. Many have no live fronds attached, so they are the rootballs of dead ferns in some cases. You said mulching - you mean a layer of cypress bark or something?

They do act weedy in other places, like growing out of cracks in timber retaining walls. In the beds they have a couple of weed companions.

Steve
 
  #4  
Old 03-12-06, 06:21 PM
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Brown or spent fronds are cut off at the base. Ferns never need pruning or staking. They are relatively carefree and do not respond well to pruning. In the spring remove last fall's leaves, shred them, and return as mulch or mulch with pine needles or shredded bark to conserve moisture and keep out weeds. You will want to clear bed early to prevent damage to new fiddleheads. Do not use rake as it may damage crowns and new growth. Ferns are a care-free group of plants. Most ferns prefer moist soil and partial shade. They like moist, well-drained soil and not soggy. If crown gets covered over by soil or leaves, it can develop crown rot. Soak at least once a week at root level during summer. Do not water directly on crown or fronds. Do not overwater. If ferns get thrips, cut back fronds and dispose of them. Plants like a light sprinkling of blood and bone meal or liquid fish emulsion in spring and during growing months. Yellowing of fronds can be due to too much light, but they can also be a symptom of iron deficiency requiring iron chelates to be applied to soil per instructions. It is best not to remove dead fronds until spring as they provide protection for crown during winter. Ferns spread by rhizomes and these can be easily separated and divided. They also have spores beneath leaves. These can be collected when ripe and used to start new plants.
 
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