Difference Between Tree Ferns - Knowledgebase Question

pomona, ca
Question by jro
February 1, 2006
What is the difference between a Dickisonia Antarctica and a Cyathea Cooperi?


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Answer from NGA
February 1, 2006

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The basic differences between the two tree ferns is growth rate, mature size, and hardiness.

Cyathea Cooperi, the Australian Tree Fern, is a fast growing tree fern that grows to 20 feet and spreads up to about 8 to 12 feet. The finely divided fronds rise out of the trunk and arch down as they get older. Fuzzy brown and white scales cover the trunk and leaf stems. Plant in bright light (even tolerates full sun in coastal areas) in a well drained soil and provide regular irrigation. Irrigation can be applied to the trunk as well as the surrounding soil but avoid watering the crown as this enhances conditions that promote diseases such as Rhizoctonia or Tip Blight (Phyllosticta). Tip blight has become a more prevalent disease of tree ferns in southern California and seriously disfigures the new growth and older foliage. Given optimum conditions this plant can grow several feet per year and reach 20 feet tall. It is hardy to about 20 degrees F.

Dicksonia Antartica, the Tasmanian Tree Fern, is a slow growing tree fern that in time will reach 15 feet tall with a possible 6-10' spread. It is slower and shorter than Cyathea. Many arching fronds are divided into many small toothed leaflets giving the tree a full head. The trunk of the tree is covered with soft reddish-brown hairs. It does best in shade, but can be planted in sun in the foggy coastal areas. Plant in a well drained soil and water regularly and increase to watering frequently during hot weather. Irrigation can be applied to the trunk as well as the surrounding soil but avoid watering the crown as this enhances conditions that promote diseases such as Rhizoctonia or Tip Blight (Phyllosticta). Tip blight has become a more prevalent disease of tree ferns in southern California and seriously disfigures the new growth and older foliage. This tree fern is hardy and evergreen to the mid 20's but can defoliate and resprout after prolonged temperatures down to at least 19? F.

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