tree fern winter protection

Discussion in 'Outdoor Tropicals' started by honolua, Nov 24, 2008.

  1. honolua

    honolua Active Member

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    Hi,
    I am in the pacific northwest, and have a tree fern I have wrapped up in burlap, a chicken-wire cage with straw, and plastic (it is still quite young). I have seen, from many different sites, different opinions on what to do with the top. I have not cut off all the fronds, so it will hopefully photosynthesize and recover in the spring. I have seen some sites say to make the top airtight and cover the top in a way that will not allow any water to drip in, and thus potentially freeze. Other sites say to tie up the fronds, and leave the tips exposed in order to allow the trunk to breathe. Given our wet climate, I went with the option to completely cover it, allowing some "breathing room" at the bottom as I did not completely secure it at the ground base. Now, I am wondering if I should remove the top to allow the frond tips to be exposed.

    Is covering it better? Ideas?
    thanks
     
  2. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I'd be inclined to go with an elevated / raised poly canopy. This would allow needed air circulation and provide the crown a drier winter environment.

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  3. honolua

    honolua Active Member

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    Thanks....I will loosen the top and allow air circulation but have the top covered. I shall keep my fingers crossed until the spring!
     
  4. Chungii V

    Chungii V Active Member

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    Hey,
    Here's another thread exact similar issue http://www.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/forums/showthread.php?p=175901#post175901 (I'll add a link from here in it to try help).
    My biggest problem here is the heat but I have grown these in frost temperatures in shade houses with little problem. By frost I mean just under 0C, 32F minimums and 20C, 68F maximum (NO SNOW) for maybe 6to 8 weeks of the year. They were grown in large shade houses and given short early morning waterings to remove frost off the leaves (keep in mind the days temp would get to high enough that the water wouldn't refreeze).
    I think that if you were to cover the plant but allowed air to circulate it should do alright even if you were to build a small tent around it. Definitely don't allow the crown to frost up as Cyathea will not reshoot once the crown has died. I worked in a wholesale Palm nursery where delicate seedlings were put into a small, plastic shade house, with heater on through the coldest of winter (great fire hazzard but we won't go into health and safety at nurseies right now).
     
  5. Gursk

    Gursk Active Member

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    Along this line, I left the canopy on my Dicksonia antarctica the past two winters without problems (wrapped just the trunk in insulation/plastic).

    With the giant dump of snow we got in the Vancouver area over Christmas, the fronds have completely fallen over to one side, are starting to brown, and (I think) die.

    What should I do at this point? Cut them off now? Cut them off in the spring? Leave them on and let the plant renew naturally?

    THANKS!
     
  6. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Dicksonia antarctica don't mind cold and a bit of snow They thrive here almost weed like but they are under a high Eucalypt canopy they are lower story plants in a temperate and cool rain forest.

    This is a view of a famous local landmark. If it snows the tree ferns are covered in it. This about 1,000 ft above sea level.

    http://www.slv.vic.gov.au/roseglass/0/0/6/doc/rg006210.shtml

    Re the fronds yes they can be cut off. Feel in the center top and the new ones should be waiting there for spring. If watering in dry times water in the top just as the tree dripping would. It then runs down the trunk to the root area. The ferns usually grow along the creek gullies and the soil is very damp and mulchy. Filtered light is best or they burn. By the way they survive bushfires and are some of the first things to resprout in a grey landscape. Quiet beautiful.

    The pic on the website is just up the road about 2 km.

    http://www.totaltravel.com.au/trave...andenong-ranges/photos/ab_towering_tree_ferns

    This area was tree felled at the beginning of the 20th century the regrowth is almost like being in a gothic cathederal

    http://www.totaltravel.com.au/travel/vic/yarravalleyvic/dandenong-ranges/photos/dandenongs

    Liz
     
  7. Chungii V

    Chungii V Active Member

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    Dicksonia and Cyathea are two entirely different tree ferns with little in common. The Dicksonia can actually be cut and replanted without harming it, try doing this to a cyathea and you'll be in tears. The Dicksonia is definitely frost and cold hardy whereas Cythea are sensitive to frosts. They are endemic to different areas, Cyathea are native to warmer areas while the Dicksonia comes from the cold.

    This is one of those 'get the right plant for the right spot' problems. I have given in to not being able to grow everything I want because summer humidity kills off plants here that will grow even just an hour away off the coastline.
     
  8. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Sorry I just saw Dicksonia and went off at the pen
    Liz
     
  9. Chungii V

    Chungii V Active Member

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    I get the same way at times nice pics. Dicksonia don't do that well here but Cyathea are good to grow but need a lot of water and establishing in the garden unless wel shaded. That's all I was getting at that one does well where the other suffers.
     
  10. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Honolua did we ever find out what it is you have in "TREE FERN"

    I suspect the Canadian nurseries would surely sell the cold weather variety but then again some one up there was growing bannanas when I first joined the list. If nothing else it is amazing what is grown whether suitable or not. I am thinking now the tender loving care some areas give their wandering Jew plants. Me on the other hand am on the warpath.

    Liz
     
  11. Gursk

    Gursk Active Member

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    Hi all,

    As an update I'm posting a picture of my de-fronded Dicksonia antarctica. I elected to cut off the fronds as they were dying and I was afraid of introducing molds/rot.

    No signs of growth yet. Hoping when the weather gets a bit warmer that it may come back. I really hope it does, as it was spectacular last summer.

    Any tips or suggestions people have would be welcomed!
     

    Attached Files:

  12. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Feel in the top and you should have the beginnings of a curled frond. Many of ours were badly fried in the heat along the road ways but I checked mine in the garden and it is trying again even tho it looks dead. Given that they cope with snow and bitter cold in their home states (Vic. & Tasmania) here is hoping yours is well.
    Liz
     
  13. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    I noticed green algae/slime in our summer photo... Dicksonias need tons of sun in our Pacific North East climate.... we do not have to worry about arid scorchig temps. as is typical in Oz.
    Having lived there, try Coober Pedy in February at 49c....

    I would keep your tree fern in the sunniest location (and warmest spot for winter too), in order for it to flourish here.

    My sister has tall Dicksonias and Tasman tree ferns on Stephenson Point in Nanaimo, full sun all year, no protection except a blanket in January during this horrid winter past!
     
  14. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    If it is that cool they should definatly be out. If you are growing them in warmer temps then filtered light or it will scorch fronds and they don't look so well. Ours around here are in anything to occasinaly -0C upto 40+C on a bad summer day. Normal range is about 9C to 35C. Wind will also burn them as they are normally sheltered in gullies.
    Liz
     
  15. Gursk

    Gursk Active Member

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    Last summer, it was happy as a clam in it's current situation. I'm just wondering what I can do to help it regenerate this spring. I see no signs of life. *Sniff* I'm watering the trunk, trying to keep it moist, but not sure what else I should do.

    Does anyone recommend feeding with anything specific?
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2009
  16. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I would not feed particularly if it is in a good composty mix. Don't over water either just dribble a bit in the top and let it slide down the trunk as in nature. Do this once a week if you are cool weather. Even tho they grow along soggy creeks they are not really wet just soft damp. It just occured to me that is it possible you are still very cold there and spring may not have sprung. Did you feel in the top for the curled new fronds?

    Liz
     

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