Tree ferns are the topic of the month for City Farm
Ferns are ancient plants and they exist in their largest form in tree ferns. Tree ferns have a tall, often slender trunk from the top of which long, divided, feathery fronds radiate.
Artists have often captured the appealing shape of the curled leaves in the early stage of unfolding when they resemble a shepherd’s crook.
Tree ferns are a lovely feature plant in a sheltered and shaded part of the garden. Leave room though for the spreading fronds.
Good soil, high humidity and moisture will ensure successful growth. Surround the base with good quality mulch and top it up regularly.
Organic fertilisers and well-rotted animal manure can be used and will help the fern resist attack by pests. In sandy soil, the addition of compost and peat will aid growth.
In hot, dry weather, tree ferns can suffer badly, so spraying the trunk with water is recommended.
Two common tree ferns are Dicksonia antarctica (Soft tree fern) and Cyathea australis (Rough tree fern).
The latter is probably the most common tree fern in eastern Australia, is very hardy and can even cope with some direct sun if the roots are wet. It also tolerates salty wind.
Cooloola City Farm, opposite the Community Centre, on Tin Can Bay Road, is open to the public for plant sales on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 8am-3pm, 07 54862304, email@example.com, www.cooloolacityfarm.org