I know from my stats page that many people find their way to this blog to seek advice on their Tree Ferns and in particular Dicksonia antarctica. It seems that Tree Ferns all over the UK have suffered due to the very cold winter. The questions people are seeking an answer to include:
- Is my Tree Fern Dead?
- My Tree Fern has no fronds.
- How do I know if my Tree Fern has died?
- My Tree Fern has only a few fronds.
- Why has my Tree Fern not got many fronds?
- Should I cut off dead fronds?
I do not claim to be an expert on Tree Ferns (or anything else for that matter) – so I set off on the Interweb to see if I could find answers to the above questions. I found lots of expert advice on the cultivation of Tree Ferns including how to protect them over winter. But I could not find anything about cold-damaged Tree Ferns or any advice on how to nurture a frost damaged Tree Fern back to life, if indeed, that is possible. For myself, I would like to find advice on what to do about my smaller Tree Fern that has, so far, only put up 2 new fronds this year.
So if there is an expert out there who knows some of these answers please could you use the comments section at the bottom of this posting to share your wisdom.
I have 2 Tree Ferns (Dicksonia antarctica), one 6ft tall and the other 3ft tall. The tallest one is quite exposed to both wind and sunlight and despite losing all its fronds to frost has now put up 20+ new fronds. The shortest one is more sheltered from the wind and sunlight and even has a tall bamboo growing next to it giving increased shelter but this one has only put up 2 new fronds so far this year. Both had some dry leaves and fronds stuffed over their growing point. It seem then that size must be an important factor in getting through a cold winter.
My smallest tree fern, the one in trouble, seems to have either some dead coils of fronds at its heart or somehow the growing area is blocked by the stems of dead fronds. I wonder if some of the cause of my problem is that some of the fronds have been killed by the frost before that were able to naturally bend outwards and downwards away from the centre of the central well of the trunk? I wonder too if dead, embryonic fronds are similarly blocking the central well and stopping the development of new fronds?
I think my non-expert advice for anyone wondering if their Tree fern is dead is:
- To not assume death and continue to keep the trunk moist. Perhaps there is a chance of recovery.
- To not cut off dead fronds unless absolutely sure that there is no life in them.
Sorry that I can’t be of more help but perhaps an expert will give us