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Help! Asparagus Ferns making me nuts!

Posted by Alvan Northwest Florida (My Page) on
Sun, Sep 22, 13 at 16:51

We had a landscaper who installed plants when we first moved in. Everything is pretty tightly spaced and the looks very cluttered. To top it off, after searching for info in the plant he used for ground cover for a large area in the front of our house-they're asparagus ferns. Florida seems them an "invasive" plant! Now I know why-it looks like a big bushy mess!
What can I do? Cut them all the way down and hope they look a little more groomed/less cluttered? Pull some out and cut down? Or pull all of then out and start over? Don't want to pay for more plants, but if these things are a real booger, I would rather start again with something a little easier to maintain...
Any advice appreciated!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Help! Asparagus Ferns making me nuts!

You could try giving it a haircut periodically. However, if you really don't like it, dig it out soon and get all the roots and the tan ovalish things underground. I understand not wanting to waste the money so I recommend putting them in pots where bushiness is ok and you can control them.

Until you decide what to replant, just cover the area with mulch. You may decide just to leave it unplanted, especially if it helps with the "cluttered" look.

RE: Help! Asparagus Ferns making me nuts!

Thank you for the advice! I am thinking that I'll try to cut them way back and see how they look. If it doesn't help (or it just looks weird!) I'll remove them and may, as you suggest, just mulch the area. It's right by our front door so of course it's bugging me!
Thanks again!

RE: Help! Asparagus Ferns making me nuts!

Putting them in a pot won't control their spread. When they drop berries, you'll have new plants sprouting around the area. Would you be able to add a pic of the spot in question? It would be easier to make a specific suggestion about it that way.

RE: Help! Asparagus Ferns making me nuts!

Hi Purpleinopp,
Here is a pic of the area--sorry... it's not the best quality, but hopefully you can see the ferns! You cant see in the pic, but there on ferns also on the other side of this same walkway-all leading up to the front door. (PS I really don't know much at all about plants/gardening! Our installer tok all of the little tags from the plants with him :-/ DO you happen to know what kind of plant that is right behind the ferns? I'm wondering if I need to prune them back for fall...Thanks!

RE: Help! Asparagus Ferns making me nuts!

Yes, that pic helps a lot. Looks like the house/front door is off to the right?

The little shrubs may be azaleas. If you can take a closer pic & put a post on name-that-plant forum, they will help you figure it out. Those shrubs are probably enough for that area, should be much bigger in a few years. They may be a bit crowded, depending on what they are, IDK.

The a-ferns look like they would still be easy to dig up, hopefully haven't dropped berries/seeds yet. I would definitely do that. Then buy a couple bags of mulch to re-cover the area. The pic may be deceiving but it looks like a very thin layer. Thicker mulch will help prevent weed seeds (that are dropped by birds or blown in with the wind) from sprouting *as much,* as well as keep the soil from drying out as quickly, and add tilth and fertility to the soil.

While the shrubs are still small, you could put something (where the a-ferns were) like a bird bath, shepherd hook with hanging pot, large urn pot, annuals (which in your area would be one thing for summer, then traded for something like mums, pansies, snapdragons for winter,) or something perennial (lives indefinitely) like creeping phlox which kind of looks like a chunk of grass and makes a 'carpet' of cute little flowers in the spring.

Not sure which way this is facing, how much effort you want to make in the future, if there are any big trees nearby, the amount of light and time of day that it shines on that area would help folks know what to suggest more specifically if you did want other plants there.

RE: Help! Asparagus Ferns making me nuts!

Shrubs ID'd as Pittosporum.

The small spot of a-fern in the first pic here looks easy to dig up. The other spot pictured in the other discussion probably has a lot of roots from the palm, hopefully but unfortunately. I might smother all of that instead of trying to dig, even if I wasn't concerned about slicing up a bunch of roots of my palm tree. It looks like adding anything would raise the level above the bricks. Not a visual problem, IMO, but the runoff from the bed area could stain the bricks, and even move the mulch onto the bricks in a heavy downpour. It looks like hopefully the rain would flow from brick into bed?

If so, this is what I would do. Get large pieces of cardboard with no tape, staples (but easy to remove if it has these,) or glue, which usually needs to be cut off. Cover the a-ferns completely, and about a foot out of their area, overlapping well so it can't get through, on all sides that aren't brick or grass. Then cover with enough mulch to cover it and hold it in place. If you weed-wack the a-ferns first, it will be easier for the cardboard to lay flush with the soil surface. After it's covered with mulch, moisten it lightly, then walk all over it, to eliminate any space the a-ferns could use to keep growing. They now have no space or light. As long as this smother isn't disturbed until they are dead, and nothing escapes through a rip, crack, or edge, that should be the end of the a-ferns. I would do this ASAP, before berries show up, then not disturb until after uncovering a small test plot next year.

If you have access to some more of the same bricks, I might consider adding one more brick-high around the edge of the bed. Keeping a few inches of mulch saves a lot of hassle with quantities of weeds, as well as keeping landscape from dying in times of less rain. But you don't want to have to sweep it back in bounds constantly, or stain the bricks.

RE: Help! Asparagus Ferns making me nuts!

Looks just fine to me...what's the problem?

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