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Australian tree fern

Posted by kathi_mdgd 9 S.Ca (My Page) on
Sat, Mar 22, 08 at 21:25

I have had this australian tree fern in my front yard for more than 10 years ,and have never had a problem with it.Then one day last week dh and i both noticed that all the fronds were brown and dead.I went out and cut them all off as i saw new shoots coming out.However those new shoots never unfurled and also now look all brown.

Also right next to it on a shepards hook i've always had a hummingbird feeder that's always been very active.We noticed that the hummers weren't coming to that either.So last night i took it down,gave it a good cleaning as i usually do and made new food and re-hung it.Still no hummers.

So now we have a tree fern that appears dead,a hummingbird feeder that is getting NO action.

We have not done anything different than we have done all the other years.So does anyone have an idea as to what is going on?? Why is the tree dying,and the birds not visiting the feeder.Any ideas???
Thanks so much.
Kathi

PS here are a couple pictures.

australian tree fern  1

tree fern


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Australian tree fern

Has your water quality gone down?..or they have grown tall enough to get more hours of sun than they can take.If it is too much sun,increase watering and fertilizing with organic ferts.


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RE: Australian tree fern

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 23, 08 at 8:56

It doesn't look dead, in my opinion. Mine always looks pretty rotten this time of year before sending out new fronds. The fronds on mine always appear brown before unfurling, as well, due to the "hairs" on the underside. When I water mine, I wet the trunk, rather than watering around the base. And when the fronds die, there is no mistaking it - droopy dark brown. I love the 3 trunks on yours!

As for the hummers, I haven't had any traffic to my feeder in about the last month. I saw one the other day, but I usually experience a lull around, and during, migration.

Brenda


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RE: Australian tree fern

Those pictures are not from this year or even last year,sorry,should have told you that.here's some i just went out and took.

australian T.F

ATF

ATF2

ATF3

I cut all the dead fronds off as i usually do,and this is how it looks now.Those unfurled ones have been like that for at least a week now.

Also i'm in S.Cali so we've had a lot of rain,and since the rains have stopped it gets watered twice a week by the sprinkler system for 20 minutes at a time.

As for the hummers they have been keeping me busy re-filling that feeder every other day all winter long and right up until that tree fern did whatever it did.The fern seemed to die or almost,and the hummers stopped coming at the same time.It's weird,as i said it's never ever happened before in all the years i've had it.It's on the North side of my house,so only gets morning sun.

Also i've always had that spanish moss hanging on it as well.

Kathi-- Color me Baffled!!!

PS,i don't think it's totally dead as i still see some green,but it sure is taking it's time unfurling those fronds.


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RE: Australian tree fern

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 24, 08 at 8:09

Ohhh, yeah, that doesn't look very good. :(

I sure hope someone can help you out with that, Kathi. I can only hope that, someday, my (still fairly short) 5- or 6-yr.-old tree looks as good as yours did in those first pics!

Brenda


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RE: Australian tree fern

I lost all the fronds on one of mine at the end of January. It just started greening up a week ago.I hope that you have the same experience.

Even though I didn't get any days of frost, this last winter was cold and a lot of my tropicals went dormant for the first time since I planted them.

Scary stuff when you think everything has died.Come on spring!


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RE: Australian tree fern

Thanks everyone,i hope it does come back,i love that tree!! We did have a very cold winter this year that seemed that it would never end.
Kathi


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RE: Australian tree fern

I too have very little bird activity around my feeder. A few weeks ago I saw 5 at once. This is unusual. I figure they were migrating birds. After that, they were gone. I cleaned the feeder, and have seen only one since. I doubt there is a correlation.


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RE: Australian tree fern

I too had some for 5 years plus and this winter all died,so now I replaced them with kentia palms.Let me know if you find out what is killing them!


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RE: Australian tree fern

Guess next week i'll print out these pictures and take a trip to the nursery.Nothings changed since i took those last pictures with the fronds still unfurled.Gosh i sure hope i don't lose it.Makes me wanna cry!!!
Kathi


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RE: Australian tree fern

I think it will recover if left alone. When you have the normal canopy you don't notice how long the new fronds take to unfurl. If you look the other way long enough I think it will get back to its old self. Al


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RE: Australian tree fern

You have a VERY green lawn.I bet there is a good chance you burned the fronds and roots when you fertilized the lawn. The new fronds have that look of a tree fern trying to recover-twisty stipes.
Weed and feed damage possibility also.


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RE: Australian tree fern

We've had the same lawn guys for about 3 or 4 years now,and i don't think they've done anything different.Not sure though as i'm usually in the house when they are out there.My lawns also stay green year round,can't remember what kind of grass they told me it is.

I'll ask the head guy(my neighbor) about it though.
Kathi


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RE: Australian tree fern

I thought mine was fert burn ,so I fush them with water.that did nothing.after a while I pushed on one and it just fell over. I lost all three and they were just healthy as all get out for years. frost,sick root rot?


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RE: Australian tree fern

Once they were severly burned fossel-it was too late..and flushing in ground plants is not like a potted plant. That you remember all that happened after fertilizing makes me think that really was the cause.I dont think an Aussie tree fern has died from cold in your area since 1916!
And Kathi,the weed and feed might be it.Since not only is your lawn very green-IT'S PERFECT!..maybe the guys used some weed and feed before the warm season sprouts the weed seeds. It wasnt anything sprayed.Your Spanish moss is fine.
On the very positive side is-those great ferns are coming back,at least two are.The one in the middle hopefuly,just needs more time.


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RE: Australian tree fern 2

Oh Stanofh,you give me great hope.I'm still gonna talk with the yard guy tomorrow.They never spray anything ,that i do know,they use one of those whirly things that you turn the handle by hand and the granulated stuff.

But he does change guys quite often so maybe one of the newer ones did it not knowing exactly what he was doing.

He has one guy that has been with him for about 6 years that i know of,maybe i can ask if only he fertilizes my yard.Besides that he lives right next door,rents a room from my neighbor.Can't hurt to ask,right??
Thanks again
kathi


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RE: Australian tree fern

I talked to the owner of my lawn service this week about my tree fern.He assured me it's not from the fertilizer they use.He did show me where there are a lot of fine roots on the surface,and if you push on the tree it's kinda loose.He said both of these were problems and told me to add more soil all around it,and keep it watered in good and the soil will pack down,and to keep an eye on the roots as well.

I had seen those roots,but since they looked so fine i didn't think they mattered that much.Live and learn !!

My one and only palm tree has a lot of those fine roots as well.I don't really like the palm tree.But ds planted it there years ago when he used to take care of the yard.So i guess i better add another row or 2 of bricks around the palm and add more soil there as well.
Kathi


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RE: Australian tree fern

Well,-lol..it could be those exposed roots Kathi were fodder for a fertilizer spreader..the direct contact adds greatly to the burn. For sure cover those roots with soil and then mulch. They are coming back!


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RE: Australian tree fern

Kathi, I was looking at the photos of your ailing tree fern. I have a thriving 2 year old TF that has never produced that mossy stuff that your's has. Could it be possible that the moss is parasitic, because it seems to be taking over as your fern declines. I'm assuming the hummingbirds nest in the moss. Hummingbirds are very shy and become easily threatened by anyone's presence. Perhaps they are vanishing because you are frequently checking on the condition of the tree fern. In addition, the lack of fronds makes the hummingbirds nest more visable to predators. My suggestion would be to remove the moss from the tree fern and plant another Hummingbird friendly plant (something with dense foliage)in the same area to give them an alternative home. It may take a while for the birds to begin nesting again, but it might save the tree fern. This is just a thought, but it makes sense to me. I hope this was helpful.


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RE: Australian tree fern

junebug,
That tree fern didn't produce that moss.That is Spanish moss and i hung it there several years ago.That's still doing good,but i think i'm gonna have to move it to the backyard to another tree,because as much as i hate to admit it,i think my tree fern is totally gone!!! There is no sign of life on it anywhere ,even after we added more soil and mulch.It's gonna break my heart to take it out,and i don't know what i'll put in it's place,but i'm sure i'll find something.
Kathi


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RE: Australian tree fern

Sorry to hear that your tree fern expired. If your not the anxious type you could plant another and it will be that size in a couple of years. Best of luck. Junebug


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RE: Australian tree fern

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Mon, May 12, 08 at 8:01

I'm sorry to hear that, too, Kathy! Keep us updated on whatever you choose to replace it, though. Make it an adventure. :)

Brenda


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RE: Australian tree fern

I would continue to watch it for a week or so. There are two basic possibilities: damage to the central bud or damage to the roots. I'm guessing it's root failure based on the appearance of those droopy emerging croziers -- a classic symptom. It could be due to compacted soil, drought, pH problems or contact with weed killer. A tree fern planted that close to a home foundation is going to have a lot of lime leached into the root system. I would plant it out away from the house in a soil heavily enriched with compost and generously mulched.
FWIW, in the future don't remove old fronds before the replacement fronds have unfurled. It takes a lot of energy for the plant to pump out new fronds and that energy has to come from somewhere. Ideally, it will come from photosynthesis from the old fronds. If the old fronds have died and are unable to photosynthesize, the fern may still be able to absorb some nutrients from the dying fronds to form some new (though probably stunted) new fronds. If the fronds are entirely removed, then there is no energy input for the fern to unfurl the new fronds forming in the bud. It isn't likely that this is the reason for the plants' failure, but it's something to keep in mind for the future. Ugly as they may be, dying fronds should remain until at least three new croziers have unfurled.
I think the hummingbird issue is unrelated to the health of the tree ferns. I would also remove the Spanish Moss and put it on a tree or something. It looks unnatural on the tree ferns and spoils their natural beauty.


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RE: Australian tree fern

Thanks everyone,and a special thanks to Dick for all the info.The tree will probably stay for at least another week or two.I did tell DH we will probably have to take it out,but i also told him he can't buy a replacement until i can go with him,and that may not be for awhile yet.

I'm going into the hospital on Thursday for a total knee replacement,so won't be doing any yard work anytime soon.

I don't really care that much for palms,and whatever i put there will need to be something that doesn't block the faucet,or get too awfully big.So if you guys have any ideas post them here.I may not get to them right away,but i will eventually.

By the way the hummers are back as well!! But that's the longest they have been gone in years.

Kathi


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RE: Australian tree fern

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Wed, May 14, 08 at 8:05

Good luck on your knee replacement, Kathi! Hope you heal up nice and quick.

I'm so glad your hummers are back, too! :)

Brenda


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RE: Australian tree fern

Well we left the tree up this long,and there is no sign of life on it,in fact i'm sure it's dead.I hobbled over to it with my walker the other day for a closer look and it looks like the trunks are drying up,they are sunken in,so i told DH to remove my spanish mosss to the backyard,and take the tree out.He's doing that now as i type.I'm really gonna miss that tree.Don't know what i'll replace it with yet.My knee is not strong enough yet to go hobbling thru the nurseries,so i may just have an empty spot for awhile.

Thanks to all who tried to help me save it!!

The knee is coming along well,it's been 3 weeks since surgery,i'm getting around with the aid of a walker,and have been having PT(physical therapy ) twice a week and i do exercises every day.Still on pain meds also,and have a hellava time sleeping some nights.But as they say,"This too shall pass."
Kathi


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RE: Australian tree fern

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Sat, Jun 7, 08 at 8:34

It will pass, you're right, but until then, I know it can be frustrating and painful, Kathi. At least now you have time to think about what to put in the tree fern's place! That could be a good thing. :)

RIP tree fern...

Brenda


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RE: Australian tree fern

Hi Kathi, I just came in and was able to open this page.
I remember your Australian tree fern when it was beautiful and healthy. Maybe it is like us getting old and falling apart.(LOL). We are still beautiful just ailing a little but improving each day.I love all the flower photos. I am jealous of your amarillous plants,i have never seen so many grow so big.Talk to you soon.Love you ,your big sister, Glen


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RE: Australian tree fern

Hi Glen,
Good to see you here,that was a surprise,i thought you'd email me direct,but this is OK.

There is a NY gardeners forum here also that you may want to check out to see what your neighbors are doing as well.
Talk with you later.
Love Ya
Kathi


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