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Fern problem


 I'm guessing these are ferns right? I've recently moved into a flat where the back garden has been left to ruin. The problem is I have a 5 year-old and we'd really like to get the garden to a usable condition (someone in their infinite wisdom put down stone chips which now has grass/weeds growing through it everywhere!). We'd like to have a grassy area as well as a nice border but at the moment it's a complete mess. Where to start? Well I have to get rid of these ferns anyway, and the only solutions I have found so far are to either dig them out (not with my knees...) or to use an XL strength weedkiller. Any suggestions?



  • Stacey DochertyStacey Docherty Posts: 1,759

    Lol dig them up and post them to me I'm after some exactly like that!!! Fern roots can be quite deep but if you keep stripping the foliage it will weaken the root

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114

    Please explain why the ferns have to go.

  • waterbuttswaterbutts Posts: 1,214

    Quite. If the garden has been left to its own devices, then ferns are what grow there. If only garden was always so simple!

    However, if you must get rid of them, this type really isn't that hard to dig up with a sharp spade and a quick spit on both hands. Elderly female speaking here.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,031

    Ferns = magical grottos, lots of opportunity for imaginative play - children don't just need areas of grass for swings and trampolines - they need nooks and crannies for getting down close to things, playing with Flower Fairies/Sylvanian Families/Fisher Price Little People.  Even Action Men like to camp out in the jungle etc - what about using your fernery as the basis for a small wilderness area - the rest of the garden can be put down to grass for ball games etc.  It'll be much easier on your back and knees, and good for wildlife as well as developing your child's imagination image

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • happymarionhappymarion Posts: 4,591

    Here,here,Dovefromabove.  Who would want to dig out a fern?

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,924

    I've got one growing in a very awkward place at the base of my shed and I'm desperate to get it out so that I can put it in a nicer part of the garden to admire! They could make a great addition to your plot Ross. image

    That said - I never used to like them...horses for courses. 

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Ah well you see the problem may be the photograph. Looking at it now it looks like a nice little area 'somewhere' in the garden. The problem is they're growing out of a huge concrete slab which I'm guessing housed a hut at some point ( which we found in pieces all over the garden when we arrived ), and while I agree ferns can be attractive these ones are growing where they aren't wanted so need to go. We're having some problems with condensation/damp in the property (it's around 150 yards from a burn) and we have no idea what the soil is actually like underneath the mess that's been left. I'm guessing it'll be fairly moist image

    I'll take a photo of the whole garden soon so a better idea of my quandary can be had. It may be I can keep some of the ferns for replanting elsewhere as they seem to be doing pretty well!

    Thank-you for all the advice so far, please don't think me a bad person for digging up ferns! image 

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,924

    Ross I hope the burn isn't causing you a problem. What is the rest of the garden like - are there a lot of other moisture loving plants there too -like reeds, flag iris etc? Is there grass growing right up the building? If so, that may be acting like a sponge and drawing water up to it from the burn and you may need a bit of excavation to sort it out. image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Some flag iris would at least brighten the place up a bit! No there are no plants at all, only weeds and stone chips on cheap membrane that is letting mare's tail etc. through. There are 3 half dead fastigiate conifers at the bottom of the garden along with a couple of stumps and a couple of young trees that may have grown from dropped/dispersed seed as they are very random. (Our garden is surrounded by a small wood). I'm expecting the soil to be pretty moist because of the burn, but to be honest the garden is such a mess (we actually noticed a plastic bag under the stones which we lifted to find a hole filled with bricks!) I have no idea what lies beneath! 

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,924

    It sounds like you have a big project on your hands Ross so I wish you luck with it. It can be daunting when there's so much to do - it's sometimes hard to know where to start! The best way to deal with big tasks is to do a bit at a time and take pix as you go along so that you can see the progress. It really helps with motivation! There are lots of people on here who can help you along the way whenever you need it too. image


    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
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