The Q&A Archives: Ferns and Tall Grasses

Question: Hi..... My ferns are dry and crunchy on the ends. They require alot of water , dont they? They are on the N. side of the house, but under a wide eave. Should I water them once or twice a week with the hose? Also, should I put Peet or Humus in the soil to retain water? Which one retains the most water? Would this help my ferns from drying out? They don't get rain water.

I have a very tall grass and I just cut it down to the ground as I want to kill it and get it out of my garden. After I cut it down, I put Round- Up on the root ball area, but it didnt kill it.
There are new sprouts coming up constantly. What can I put on big plants or roots of plants to kill them?? Is there something that works fast. The root ball area is about a 3 foot circle and about a foot thick. I thought that by killing the roots, it would be alot easier to dig out. Any suggestions as to how to make this project easier? So far, its been impossible to deal with. I was hoping to ge the large root ball out of there soon so I could put daylillies in there. Help! I'm not getting anywhere on this project and now its sprouting too. Dorian

Answer: Ferns like moist soil and shade. I'd water them deeply once or twice a week, depending upon weather. They will appreciate a top dressing of organic matter (compost, peat, etc.) to slow water evaporation. Use whatever you can find in your garden center.

Using Round-Up on ornamental grasses will kill the tops, but the roots may remain for quite a long time because the chemical isn't translocated to the roots very quickly. The best way to eliminate such plants is to continually cut down the tops. This will eventually starve the roots out (they use energy to develop new sprouts - without photosynthesis to recover the spent energy they will eventually die out). So, keep cutting off anything that sprouts and you'll kill off the root system. Once this happens you should be able to dig out the remaining roots.

Best wishes with your garden renovation project!

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