The Q&A Archives: Pruning Australian Tree Ferns

Question: I have an Australian tree fern that has a stark trunk about 8 feet tall and fronds on top of that. The fronds obscure the view from the living room window. If I cut the fern completely off at about one foot from the ground, will it grow back with fronds or will I kill it? Thank you.

Answer: Cyathea cooperi is the Australian Tree Fern. It begins as a mound of fronds and eventually grows a stem (trunk) with foliage at the very top. It's a fast-growing plant and can get out of control in a very few years. If you remove the topmost foliage, the plant will die down to the roots. It's better to cut the tree down completely to ground level and allow new sprouts to develop at the crown of the plant. Alternately, you can dig the tree fern out and replace it with a new one. Since they're fast-growing, any void left in the landscape will be quickly filled by a new tree fern.

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