Tree ferns are an effective way to create a prehistoric look in your landscape. Their long extensive fronds create striking focal points next to wooded areas and other ornamental plants. While most tree ferns enjoy tropical climates, there are a host of various species that are cold hardy enough to survive cold winters. Moving a tree fern is best planned in the spring, because they have a very fine root system that can become damaged in the cold soil.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Soil pH kit
- Garden hose
- Garden fork
Conduct a soil pH test on the designated planting location. Tree ferns need a pH range between 5.5 to 6.5, which is fairly acidic. Purchase a soil testing kit at your local gardening supply store. Follow the directions according to the kit. Add lime to soil that is too acidic and sulphur to alkaline soil.
Wet the soil around the tree fern that you want to move. Press a shovel at least two feet away from the tree fern's base. Use your hands to uncover the roots and the root ball. Lift the plant from underneath with the shovel.
Dig up some of the surrounding soil and place in a piece of burlap. Moisten the soil with water. Wrap the burlap sack around the fern and tie a piece of rope around its base.
Wrap plastic around the fronds of the fern tree to keep them from being destroyed in the wind. Replant the fern as soon as possible to keep it from drying out.
Dig a hole twice the size of the root ball and slightly deeper than the root ball. Tease out the roots of the root ball with a gardening fork. Place the fern tree in the hole. Pack the soil tightly around the fern tree. Water thoroughly.
Tips and warnings
- Spread acidic mulch around your fern tree such as pine needles or pine bark.
- Avoid burning up your tree fern's root system by adding fertiliser to the planting hole.
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