October 22, 2015
Transplanting Ferns at My Farm
If you’re thinking of transplanting any of your ferns, now is a great time to do it.
Recently, I decided to redo a couple of my perennial garden beds - in particular, my fern garden outside the Tenant House. Ferns are very hardy plants, and have been around for millions of years. I chose to relocate some of the ferns in this collection to my home in East Hampton, New York, but most of the specimens would be moved down to my Maple Woodland.
Successfully transplanting ferns is not difficult as long as it is done at the right time, and with the right kind of soil. This week, my outdoor grounds crew at my Bedford farm has been busy removing the ferns and transplanting them to their new home. Here are some photos of our process.
1 These beds outside my Gym building and the Tenant House were planted with ferns and lilies. The task of removing the ferns and lily bulbs took some time to complete, but I know the plants will thrive in their new locations.
2 The best time to transplant ferns is when they're dormant, between the first frost in autumn and early winter. Most of these are still pretty green, but many have already started to change colors.
3 Ferns grow in a range of soil types but they do best in acid soil with a pH of 4 to 7 or 8, depending on the type of fern.
4 Because there were rows and rows of ferns to remove, Phurba began the task by loosening the soil around them.
5 When digging up the ferns, spade downward around the fern clump.
6 Then, Phurba carefully pulled out each fern by hand.
7 When transplanting ferns, it is important to dig up the entire clump, getting as much soil with it as possible.
8 Phurba lifted the clump from the bottom root area - never from the fronds, which could cause breakage.
9 Because these ferns were planted with lilies, Phurba carefully looked for lily bulbs, which were also planned for relocation.
10 The lily bulbs were collected in buckets, and then separated and prepared for transplanting in another bed.
11 The ferns were then gently placed into plastic bins.
12 Ferns are very resilient plants - they've been around for more than 350-million years, so don't worry if you decide you want to move them.
13 The bins were loaded into the Kawasaki and moved down to their new location in the Maple Woodland. They will look so beautiful there.
14 The fern is a group member of about 12-thousand species of vascular plants that reproduce via spores - they have neither seeds nor flowers.
16 Fern fronds vary greatly in size, and have many different leaf shapes.
18 Down in the Maple Woodland, the ferns were being planted among the Japanese maples. Holes were dug about 10-inches deep.
19 Ferns make wonderful additions to woodland gardens and contrast well with other foliage. The new area should be well prepared with plenty of organic matter.
20 All my garden beds are rich with organic matter and compost that I make right here at my farm.
21 The ferns were transplanted when there was a little less sunlight, such as a cloudy or overcast day, to prevent transplant shock.
22 When transplanting anything near trees, always be sure to watch out for big roots.
23 Ferns are such graceful plants and so easy to maintain. Most varieties grow well in shady areas with damp, fertile soil.
24 The ferns should be planted at the same soil depth as its original location - planting too deep may cause the fern to rot.
25 Once the ferns were all planted, they were given a good deep watering to saturate the root zones. Autumn is usually a wetter time of year, but if there isn't any rain, water new plantings about once a week.
26 The old beds are now clean and free of any bulbs or ferns. It's ready to be replanted with something new.