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NEWLY BOUGHT TREE FERN

Discussion in 'Tropical Gardening' started by ARMANDII, Aug 30, 2018.

  1. ARMANDII

    ARMANDII ADMINISTRATOR Staff Member

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    I bought a 3' ft section of Tree Fern [Dicksonia Antarctica] on the 17th August this year and planted it in a very large square container in the garden. I didn't really, to be honest, expect any signs of growth until next year but I've watered it every day and now notice it's put out a small leaf and that the top stems are showing signs of unfolding and opening out to, I presume, produce the large leaves. I would greatly appreciate any advice on any effects to the plant on growing leaves at this time of year. I realise I will have to protect the trunk and top of the Fern when frost is threatening and will use Hessian and Straw to do so, but it's just the fact that it seems a bit late in the year for the Fern to start coming to life.:dunno::snorky:
     
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    • Verdun

      Verdun Passionate gardener

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      I would simply enjoy it ARMANDII :)

      Possibly the hot weather has, ironically, held back growth so now catching up. I dont see any "effects" of it producing new foliage now either

      Down here protection is not bothered with.....even with the Beast from the East.....but, yes, protection as you suggest will be needed elsewhere but, hopefully not for several weeks yet. I dont grow it in my garden but have planted them esp for a friend locally.
       
    • ARMANDII

      ARMANDII ADMINISTRATOR Staff Member

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      Hi Verdun, thanks for the advice, but I think you miss my point. I only bought the Tree Fern just over 2 weeks ago and it came just as a trunk looking like this......
      [​IMG]

      So it's delivered with no roots and no leaves, the roots and stems being cut right back. So all that's in the container was a rootless, stemless, trunk. While I know that Nature is fast in producing roots etc, what I'm wondering is should the Tree Fern be starting into life now as a near rootless trunk, going into Autumn, and therefore probably only having a couple of months before I have to chop back the leaves and protect it.
       
    • JWK

      JWK Gardener

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      My established Tree Fern has only just sent up it's first new fronds of the year, it is very very late and to be honest I thought mine had died. I put it down to the cold spring.

      I recall when I bought it they had cut off the fronds for shipping then a new set sprouted in the summer.

      There will be next years buds already developing in the top, they look like knuckles. Now is the time the plant should be putting it's energy into those embryo buds so it's good you have new fronds. Keep giving it plenty of water until the autumn, even then don't let it dry out. I spray the trunk as well to help the roots work their way down, they come out the bottom of the trunk very quickly. Being in a pot you can move it indoors for protection when it gets really cold.
       
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      • JWK

        JWK Gardener

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        Don't chop the leaves off, mine usually come through the winter albeit looking a bit tatty by the spring.
         
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          Last edited: Aug 30, 2018
        • ARMANDII

          ARMANDII ADMINISTRATOR Staff Member

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          Thanks, John, that must be what I'm seeing.:snorky: So it should be next year's growth that I'm seeing and not any fronds being produced this year?. That was what was worrying me i.e. was this rootless trunk trying to produce fronds now and into the Autumn?


          I bought the Tree Fern from Seagate Nursery and they've enclosed a comprehensive list of care instructions for the Fern and emphasised that it should be watered, including the top, everyday even during the Winter to ensure it doesn't dry out.

          I wish:dunno::heehee:, it's planted in a 3' x 3' x 3' square stone container and with all the compost mixture etc in in I'll need a forklift truck to move it.:dunno::heehee:


          [​IMG]
          I've got a large quantity of Hessian so I'll wrap the trunk with that and put straw on the top of the trunk with Hessian on top of that should we get any frosty weather in the offing.:coffee::snorky:
           
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          • WeeTam

            WeeTam Total Gardener

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            Great plants. Ive got a few and most have been pushing out new fronds all summer,and are still doing so today.
            Yours will be fine,plenty water as your doing and ive given mine some more seaweed recently.

            Mine are in pots now as i can bring them in if the beast comes a knocking again.

            The big ones were left out and wrapped in 8-10 inches of straw with a 12 inch straw hat on them. Covered in wheelie bin plastic bag.

            I would wrap the trunk in straw if i were u just in case from ground to top with a straw hat too. Just not worth the risk of loosing one. Lost 5 five footers in 2010,learnt my lesson the hard way....
             
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            • ARMANDII

              ARMANDII ADMINISTRATOR Staff Member

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              [​IMG]

              Thanks, Wee Tam. They're not cheap to buy and I don't want to lose it out of ignorance when good advice will save the day.

              I've got access to plenty of straw from the local farms so I'll follow that technique.:snorky:
               
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              • WeeTam

                WeeTam Total Gardener

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                What made the straw packing easier was to encircle the plant in a chicken wire cage first. I put a small loosely scrunched up ball of fleece into the head of the fern before putting its straw cap on. I think this reduces the chance of soggy straw damaging or freezing the crown too.

                About once a month i would take the cap off and give it a little water and
                Also water the pot when it was mildish. :blue thumb:

                Saw my local homebase had a 5 footer, cost was....................£200. :shocked:
                 
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                • ARMANDII

                  ARMANDII ADMINISTRATOR Staff Member

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                  That's a bit pricey:doh::dunno: Seagrave Nursery will sell you a 5' trunk for £110 and a 3' trunk for, in their present sale, a 3' trunk for £64.35p. Unfortunately, I bought my Tree Fern from them before the sale:wallbanging:


                  I've got rolls of chicken wire and fleece in the garage doing nothing so I can follow your good advice on protecting the fern, thanks!!:love30::thumbsup::snorky:
                   
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                  • JWK

                    JWK Gardener

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                    Good advice there @WeeTam

                    Being in a pot makes them more vulnerable to the cold.

                    I do similar to all my tender permanently planted stuff such as Musa bananas. I try and let them breathe during the winter so if there is a mild spell I will open up the insulation to let out some of the stale dampness.
                     
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                      Last edited: Aug 31, 2018
                    • ARMANDII

                      ARMANDII ADMINISTRATOR Staff Member

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                      Well, I've been diligently watering, every day, the top of the new Tree Fern and the large container it's in and it definitely unfolding two stems so I shall be watching with interest how it gets on into the Autumn........one thing about gardening, you never stop learning!!:heehee:
                       
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