pollution tolerance of ferns for shady/dry spots

passiflorakae(MA)March 21, 2005

I read the thread about ferns for shady/dry spots with much interest and was wondering if anyone knows how pollution tolerant they are. I am working to revitalize an urban garden/flowerbed on a medium-busy side street where they will be exposed to effluents from car traffic. Since ferns have a reputation for being finicky I was wondering if anyone had used them successfully in an urban bed.

The spot is dappled to full shade beneath a tree where a few Hostas and such already are planted, it's moderately dry, with irrigation (one drip hose so far) installed. The soil is sandy but I have compost and some leaf mould to work in.

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I am so not a fern expert, but I can tell you that I had lady ferns under similar conditions at my old house (across the street from a major post office with dieseling mail semis, three lots from a bus stop, and close enough to a ball park to create long summer traffic jams). My soil was sandy and cruddy to boot (though I did my best to mulch and amend), and the silver maple made things awfully dry. The lady ferns did fine, though they're lusher at my newer, slightly more bucolic digs. The Japanese painted fern did fairly well too, though I had that in a spot farther from the street and in a spot where it was more carefully tended.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2005 at 8:13PM
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