How to Kill Boston Ferns

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When you hear the name "Boston fern," you may think of a full and lush green fern growing in a hanging basket. Although a container-grown Boston fern makes a lovely interior accent, Boston ferns outdoors can be another story. The Boston fern name can be misleading because it may refer to a number of ferns within the Nephrolepis genus. Although they all look similar, some species sold as Boston ferns for outdoor growing are non-native plants that can become invasive. Control the spread of non-native Boston ferns by killing them with herbicides.

Cover any surrounding plants that you want to keep with a tarp to prevent overspray onto these areas. Glyphosate is a nonselective herbicide, which means it will kill any vegetation it contacts.

Spray the glyphosate generously over the entire Boston fern plant. Cover the foliage completely with an even layer of the liquid herbicide.

Remove the tarp after the glyphosate dries.

Monitor the effect of the herbicide. You should see significant wilting and yellowing of the foliage within approximately two weeks.

Reapply the glyphosate a second time after two weeks elapses if you still have Boston fern growth. Repeat the same technique to cover the foliage evenly.

Watch the area where the Boston fern was growing. If you see the fern resurface, apply the glyphosate promptly. With continued vigilance, you will eventually eradicate the fern from your growing areas.

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