Answer: It should be fine. Think of the forest, where ferns grow naturally and all of the leaf litter that surrounds them. They should really love the organic matter. The fact that the leaves are chopped means they will decompose quickly and become available to the plants as nutrition. Be sure the chopped leaves aren't so thick that your ferns can't get air circulation. Outdoor ferns grow best in rich, humusy soil, high in organic matter...much like they how the grow in the forest. They also generally enjoy a moist, shady, humid environment.
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