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Overwintering tree fern

Do I need to water my young tree fern in winter? I will wrap in fleece and pack with straw and place in the green house as in cold part of the U.K. but I know not to let the crown dry out. Do I need to in unpack the fleece in order to water. And how frequently? Thank you 

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  • WilderbeastWilderbeast East YorkshirePosts: 1,255
    Good question as mine are wrapped up but stay outside all winter. I'm in East Yorkshire and they've survived for 7 years like this. 
  • PlantmindedPlantminded WirralPosts: 136
    Hi there, I'm wondering if there are any tree fern enthusiasts out there who could recommend a tried and trusted method to overwinter a tree fern please?  I've done a bit of research and watched a few videos online, all with varied advice!  I live in a relatively mild part of the UK and planted a new two foot trunk outside in a sheltered, shady area of my garden in April this year.  It has done really well with 14 good sized fronds emerging in late spring.  After my research, I am planning to protect the crown with dried leaves (oak leaves were recommended by one specialist!) and wrap some horticultural fleece around the outside of the trunk to cover the crown and lower frond area.  Will this be enough or should I tie the fronds up and cover them with fleece too?  My feeling is that the plant would probably appreciate not being tied up in this way unless we get a really cold spell.  Any advice would be appreciated please. Thank you.
    "Gardening adds years to your life and life to your years."  Anon.
  • WilderbeastWilderbeast East YorkshirePosts: 1,255
    I have 2 big tree ferns 5/6ft tall. I stuff the crown with a good handful of dry straw, tie the fronds up and wrap them with some old Hessian and then breathable roofing memebrane (I'm a builder so it's what I had). Some would say it's overkill but they've very happily survived 8 winters and we are not far from York. Mine arent done yet but tomorrow is looking like the day for it 
  • @Plantminded so agree with you about conflicting information.
    We have grown tree ferns (Dicksonia antartica) now for many years and have lost 2 even though we followed the "advice".
    We now have an 8ft and a 6ft in different areas of the garden.
    The crowns now have some leaves inside but aren't wrapped up...yet! They were wrapped up last winter but not until the new year when we had many many nights of frost.
    We also have a potted and an out door Cyathea cooperi. These aren't hardy even though we are in the SW so great care is needed to check the weather forecasts. The one in the pot goes outdoors in the summer and is now back in the conservatory for the winter.
    When visiting the Botanic Gardens in Bristol we spoke to the main person about their huge tree ferns. They said that if a forecast was for 5 nights of frost then they would wrap them up and unwrap once the frosts had gone and wrap again if it happened again.
    Seems to work for them.
    Another place we see a Dicksonia every year, they cut all the fronds off (we don't) then they wrap the whole plant up for nearly 6 months!. It does produce new fronds when unwrapped though.
    Other advice given to us is that it is the "trunk" that needs not to dry out.
    Hope some of this is of use.
  • PlantmindedPlantminded WirralPosts: 136
    @Wilderbeast and @bertrand-mabel, thank you very much for your speedy replies and advice which is much appreciated.  I've decided to be a bit cautious as this is the plant's first winter in the UK.  I have now put a couple of handfuls of oak leaves in the crown, wrapped the crown area with about four layers of fleece and then tied the fronds upright and enclosed them in a single layer of fleece. I'll review this strategy if we get a mild winter and set the fronds free!  It should be pretty tough as it survived a journey from Tasmania this year with a two week delay in the Suez Canal!  Good luck to you both with your plants this winter.
    "Gardening adds years to your life and life to your years."  Anon.
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