Answer: The tree fern leaves are tied upright to protect the crown of the plant from injury during shipment. It's not unusual for the lower leaves to die off; new ones will emerge from the crown. I'd prune away the fronds when they're completely dead. Tree ferns like moist, well draining soils and warm temperatures. Anything damaged during the winter months can be pruned away next spring.
Best wishes with your tree fern!
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