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Transplanting a fern

PLEASE advise me on how to transplant a large king fern. I planted it under our terrace 20 years ago and it is now far too large for this position. The fronds hang over two pathways and the top touches the terrace.


KING ferns transplant quite readily. Probably the best approach is to cut back all the large fronds to make handling easier. Leave a stump about 20-30cm long at the base of each frond, which you'll probably find useful to grab hold of when shifting the plant once it's dug up.

Use a sharp spade to cut through the roots, pushing it into the soil as far as you can, about 30cm or so from the base all around the plant. Lever the fern up and out, and place on to a tarpaulin, cutting through any remaining roots with secateurs. Try to keep as much soil around the roots as possible. Wrap the root ball in the tarpaulin to prevent soil dropping off and drag or lift it to its new position. Watch your back - it will be quite a heavy load.

Replant, water well and mulch, then simply wait for new fronds to grow. Water regularly if necessary to keep the soil moist and encourage new root growth.

Weekend Gardener, Issue 147, 2004, Page 26

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.

Andrew Maloy Weekend Gardener

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