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Brown tree fern (Dicksonia squarrosa)

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Question from Michael Flynn

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I have 2 of these tree ferns and have 2 questions.
1. Should I cut off the fonds now before winter or wait until they have turned brown?
2. Should I protect the trunks with a fleece or fill the crown with hay over winter?

  • Views: 801
  • Replies: 1
  • Posted: Sun. 8th November 2009 15:13

Overwintering tree fern

Reply from Kathy C

Hi, Michael,
The answer to your question depends upon where you live in the UK.
In areas with mild winters in the south and west (and in most sheltered gardens in London), it will most likely survive with very little protection. However, having said that, to be on the safe side, put about 15-20cm of straw in the crown and fold the fronds in on themselves to further protect the crown.
In colder areas, cover with a hessian sack or bubble wrap and more straw. You can also tie polystyrene sheets around the trunk with straw packed into any gaps. Fleece will work, too. In even colder areas, surround the trunk with straw bales.
Whatever you protect the plant with, remove it in spring before new fronds come into growth. Keep in mind, too, that it may be necessary to water the trunk during prolonged stretches of dry weather in winter (though I think this will be unlikely).
Remove dead and damaged fronds in spring.
Kathy C

  • Posted: Tue. 10th November 2009 20:28