rusty looking ferns because of too much sun?

Vangy(SW Mi)August 30, 2007

An emplouyer was pulling out ferns to toss 3 years ago in a heavily wooded area and gave me a bunch. I planted them against the foundation on the east side of the house they have spread to a nice patch. They get no shade until afternoon. The ones against the foundation get "rusty" or brown as some here say.

Some I put in a much more shaded spot and still they get rusty too.

Vangy likes to play in the dirt

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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

Was there meant to be a photo here,and is Vangy your cat or dog?

    Bookmark   September 3, 2007 at 6:41AM
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Vangy(SW Mi)

No photo, have digi but have not learned to put pic's in 'puter. As for Vangy, it is short for an old fashioned name, Evangeline. I was named after a close friend of my mother who lives in Kansas. Barbara Evangeline, & I go by Becky,family nickname, and use Vangy on the 'puter in forums etc, lots of Becky's out there.
No dog, my cat came to me w/ the name Kizz

Vangy likes to play in the dirt

    Bookmark   September 3, 2007 at 9:30AM
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Vangy, what kind of ferns do you think they are? There is one kind of fern that has a rusty coloration - they are called "Autumn Fern".

How long have you had them? Several seasons or just the one?

    Bookmark   September 3, 2007 at 1:02PM
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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

Please forgive me Vangy I didn't see that it is your username,silly me! I just saw 'Vangy likes to play in the dirt' and thought you had tried to upload a photo of the ferns with a pet named Vangy in with them.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2007 at 2:24PM
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Vangy(SW Mi)

No offense greenlarry.
Esh ga:::::: they are plain ferns. I am in SW Michigan and they grow everywhere. My mother had them in Illinois 60+ years ago. Fronds get to be 18" or more long. They multiply nicely w/ rizomes underground. They are against the foundation of the house, east side. When I watered the fronds got wet and turned rusty.

not pretty


    Bookmark   September 3, 2007 at 3:42PM
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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

I'm curious as to what this is now! They're on the east aspect so don't get full sun,its a common fern,possibly a Dryopteris unless there is an unusual one native to your area.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2007 at 6:43PM
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Yes, eastern exposure is very kind to ferns, so I'm not sure that is the issue. Then you said "When I watered the fronds got wet and turned rusty." Rusty colored throughout the frond or just around the edges? Just around the edges would seem to be some sort of damage (got too dry, too much sun, etc.).

You can take one of the fronds to a nursery and ask them what they think might cause this. You didn't say if this was their first season or second in your garden? That might be helpful to know.

Not that it is essential to figuring this out, but you might try to identify them. There are many, many native ferns in the US. As Larry says, Dryopteris is one type. Ostrich is very common, of course, but they get bigger than 18 inches. Here is a link to a website that has a large listing and some pictures.

If you want someone here to try and help, take a picture of a frond and save it to your computer. Then go to and upload it there (it's free). They will give you an "HTML tag" to copy and paste here. It's not hard.

Here is a link that might be useful: Listing of hardy ferns (many of them)

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 7:14AM
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