Australian tree fern looks sick one week after planting

PipdogMay 3, 2013

I'm in Southern California (LA area) and we just re-landscaped and put in the plants last week. We hired a landscape designer to help us select and source plants. We planted a 15 gallon Australia tree fern (Cyathea cooperi) in front of our house where it gets mostly shade (but some dappled sunlight as you can tell from the photos). After about a week, about 5 or 6 of the fronds are crispy and looking dead. I am giving it a fair amount of water (we are experiencing 90+ degree heat in LA the last few days). Is this normal? Could this be from the shock of planting? Anything I can do to help it survive? thanks for any info/advice.

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More 90f,everyday and maybe twice a day. Other times when temps are normal you can reduce watering..but all tree ferns can take all the water you can throw at them in summer.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 4:27PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Could be transplant shock. Keeping a hose nearby and giving the whole plant a cooling spray as often as possible might help.

Confused, though--that seems a little close to the house for a tree fern. Is that the permanent location? They get kind of wide. That close to the house it's going to lean outwards.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 5:34PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

I would move that fern now, because they get huge trunks. Mine is seven feet tall and about as wide across, and the trunk is about eight inches in diameter.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 1:34AM
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Central_Cali369(Sunset Z9, Fresno, CA)

I agree, it must be transplant shock. Keep it watered and the new growth will be acclimated to its new environment. I would also second that you move it, especially if it's next to a walkway. My cyathea's fronds get to 6 feet or more in length, making the entire plant close to 12 feet wide from one side to the other. and although they do grow fast, it will be at least 6 or 7 years before it gets tall enough for you to walk underneath it.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 3:33AM
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There is no transplant shock from a container. It was in sun on a too hot day with not enough water. Cyathea cooperi can take almost full sun in coastal soucal. They like best shade from hot afternoon sunlight.
Depending on how many people pass by where that fern is ,you might also have a problem with fronds getting worn down,ratty looking. And when that happens you wont get the almost half a foot a year in trunk growth those plants can do.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 11:35AM
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thanks for the info, everyone. I've been giving it lots of drinks. It is less hot today and looking less sickly.

hoovb, thanks for posting the photos of your beautiful trees. They are huge, and I wasn't aware they get that big. I'm pretty annoyed that my landscape designer would put it there knowing this gets big.

Here's a wider shot of the front. As you can see, the fern tree is right next to the garage, so we have to back our car out right next to it. My car already sort of brushes up against it when I back out. I'm in agreement with you all it needs moved. Any thoughts on what we should replace it with? Something that has some height? The spot gets mostly shade/dappled sun.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 1:50PM
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napapen(ca 15)

Also it is getting alot of refected heat from your driveway. I would say put it in another less stressful place.


    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 9:35PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Perhaps a fuchsia or a mandevilla vine on a metal trellis would do well there.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 9:38PM
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Looks like a perfect spot for a trio of King palms. If your really into rare things,there are many small to medium sized palms that thrive in coastal soucal. They don't make a mess...for the most part.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 10:17PM
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Try the Chamedorea palms..Soft, in various heights from 3' for a Cat palm to 20 ' for the large bamboo like species. None cause any damage to your driveway or foundation. Just need water.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 7:21PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Stanof, she's talking about the one foot wide bed under the little octagonal window.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 10:29PM
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Min3 South S.F. Bay CA

I had an A. tree fern years ago and it made me itch like crazy everywhere I brushed against it. That might be another good reason to get rid of it. Min

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 12:24PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Not to mention the spores! I had one outside a bedroom window, and the whole room got covered with orange dust if I left the window open. I moved it to the back yard.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 1:14PM
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I had one also,loved that thing and decorated it every Christmas season with all red balls and ornies.Then several years ago we had the coldest winter that I can remember and the frost killed it.Never got another.

And yes they will make you itch terribly.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 5:30PM
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