Cutting back Evergreen Ferns

I do love evergreen ferns, they are such a useful plant within the garden. They can be left alone for many years without any work done on them but I prefer to see the nice new green shoots appearing and unfurling. They look so peaceful as they do this. To really see this, it is best to remove the old leaves and I tend to do this by about mid May each year

To do this you will need the following equipment

  • Bypass secateurs or snips
  • Gloves
  • Something for the rubbish to go into

On my scale of how easy it is to do with 1 easy and 10 difficult. This works out a 2. It’s pretty easy just the young leaves are pretty delicate and can break easy p

First find a fern, this is a harts tongue fern ( Asplenium scolopendrium) so named as the leaves are supposed to look like Deer tongues! Hart is of course the olde English word for Deer.
You can see all the dead and old leaves in the picture, looks a right mess doesn’t
These are the new leaves unfurling. So like one of those blow out party whistles that we used to play with as a kid. This is want you want left at the end of the task! Just remember to be careful, they are very brittle and break easy
You just get your secateurs and remove the old leaves as close to the base as you can go. One other thing to note is that the young leaves are much more hairy than the old ones
It’s takes a little bit of time to get the plant done, just don’t rush it or worry if you break off a new stem, it happens, just one of those things. Another one will grow
The finished plant! See how much nicer and cleaner it looks, you can see the new leaves unfurling now. Last step is to clear away, add waste to the compost and have a nice cuppa!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Great seeing all the fresh green growth. I’ve done a few already but got a couple of Dryopteris beasts to assail.

  2. tonytomeo says:

    All of our ferns are evergreen, and most are native. We can ignore the wood ferns (Western sword ferns). Others get groomed. It would be easier to just cut them back before new growth develops. We just never get to it in time.

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