The frost got to my fern!!!

heatherg3000May 8, 2010

I have had a 3ft fern since last summer. It looked fantastic in the garden, the leaves were huge too an every week another one appeared!

However, I'm in Scotland and we had a horrific winter with temperatures reaching -10 celsius!

Now the little fronds in the trunk are a dark brown and feel very soft. Is this usual before they start to grow or has the winter killed off my poor fern?

Any help or advice would be gratefully appreciated!

Thanks!

Heather x

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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hi, Heather.
Do you know what type of fern it is?
Did the fronds go from green to brown, or have they always been brown?

And you're sure this isn't the normal discarding of last season's fronds?

Josh

    Bookmark   May 10, 2010 at 10:09AM
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stephenpope2000uk(Brighton, UK)

No, your new season Dicksonia antarctica croziers should definitely not be soft when you reach into the crown of the trunk and feel them. Healthy croziers waiting to emerge should be tightly coiled, quite hard to the touch, but also covered in a thick protective hair layer. It sounds like your winter lows were just too severe and prolonged for your tree fern and it's now turned to mush, almost certainly beyond recovery. If nothing shows by June or July it's too late, I'm afraid and you'll need a replacement. Some overwintering protection (as advised on the label when you bought it?) is pretty much mandatory for Scottish tree ferns.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 6:39AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Do you two know eachother?

For the life of me, I can't see any mention of a 'tree' fern....

Josh

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 10:56AM
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stephenpope2000uk(Brighton, UK)

'For the life of me, I can't see any mention of a tree fern...'

I hope you're not on Homicide, Josh - you'd make a very bad detective. All the clues are there. Heather tells us she has acquired an instant three-foot high trunked fern with huge fronds. Trust me, there are no other ferns that match that description on the UK gardening scene - it's the imported Tasmanian tree fern Dicksonia antarctica. And I can even tell you she will have paid around $150 for it, so it's no surprise she's depressed about its soggy condition after our recent abnormally severe winter.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 6:40PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

I guess so.

I'm used to large ferns, and the "fronds in the trunk" didn't jump out at me.

Case closed.

Josh

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 1:42AM
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