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Author Topic: Ferns and Regen  (Read 1385 times)

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Offline g_man

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Ferns and Regen
« on: February 05, 2013, 09:45:35 AM »
I have some areas like this that I think were once pasture. There is another area just like this one on the other side of those trees. The trees might have been an old fence line maybe. ??

 

 

For the past 15 years nothing much has changed except balsam is very very slowly creeping in on the edges. I have so few flat areas it seems ashame to just grow ferns on them.

If I ran over these areas with my small dozer, which has 6 psi ground pressure, and exposed some soil by making turns would this hasten the regen process or would I do more harm than good compacting the soil. If I was to do this when would be the best time of year.

I know I could spray but my wife is totally against wide spread herbicide usage and I don't have much trouble going along with that.
Thanks.

Online beenthere

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Re: Ferns and Regen
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2013, 10:34:18 AM »
What does the soil test out to be like? Do ferns exist there because of certain soil type, that possibly can be changed with a change in PH or additional nutrient?

Not sure if this is a possibility, but maybe better than a killer chemical.

Googled "fern soil requirements" came up with info that ferns grow best on peat soil. On the acidic side of neutral, and maybe liberal dose of ashes (which are alkiline) would help rid the ferns.
http://www.ehow.com/info_7955417_do-ferns-need-acidic-soil.html

Might be a clue to why they are in this spot, and you could sell the peat.  ;)
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Offline g_man

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Re: Ferns and Regen
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2013, 07:57:11 PM »
Well you are right about the acidic part but not the peat. The soil is very rocky. Most places there is more rock than dirt. What dirt there is is shallow sandy loam.

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Ferns and Regen
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2013, 07:04:05 AM »
From what I gather ferns almost need "old growth " forestry conditions to thrive .I've also heard they are just about the oldest form of plant life on the planet .

It was not uncommon to see implantaions on lump coal of fern life that had to be millions of years old .

Offline g_man

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Re: Ferns and Regen
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2013, 09:49:12 AM »

If I ran over these areas with my small dozer, which has 6 psi ground pressure, and exposed some soil by making turns would this hasten the regen process or would I do more harm than good compacting the soil. If I was to do this when would be the best time of year.Thanks.

How about that part... any thoughts ??  I would just go ahead and try it but don't have a feel for the amount of soil compaction it would do.


Offline RynSmith

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Re: Ferns and Regen
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2013, 11:26:57 AM »
I'm far from an expert at this but in my opinion driving around in your tractor won't get you much.  Ferns typically are corms, which is kind of like a bulb (tulip, daffodil) and I believe they can resprout even if the corm is broken into pieces.  I know that some ferns (brackenfern is the one I'm sure of) have some amount of allelopathy meaning that they produce a chemical that can inhibit germination of other species so that may be happening here.  (I can't tell for sure from your picture, but they don't look like brackenfern to me)

As far as what to do I'm even less help.  Ferns should be pretty easy to dig, but it would be labor intensive.  Do you have some sort of implement to drag behind your tractor that could uproot many of them?  Personally, I think your best bet would be to hand-clear specific spots and plant seedlings rather than try to clear the whole area and hope for natural regeneration.

Finally, my buddy the soil scientist says that being rocky will help you a bit to minimize compaction, but having a shallow soil means you have a lot less wiggle room to begin with in risking compaction.  If you really do want to get in there with your dozer, I would advise that you do it when the soil is dry.

Whew, seems like that took a whole lot of words to be only marginally helpful...   :-\

Offline thecfarm

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Re: Ferns and Regen
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2013, 01:48:58 PM »
I think he wants to get some regen in the fern patch. I think he wants some trees to grow where the ferns are. On my land if I don't mow it,the trees will take over. When I was cutting my big pine,not much was growing under them, But drag a log across the soil and that was just about like kicking a hornet's nest. I have pine trees so thick now,I have a hard time walking through them. I have no idea if it would work with your dozer,but on my land it would. Or from what I can see from logging on my land did to it. I would also think the spring would be better time to do it too.
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Offline g_man

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Re: Ferns and Regen
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2013, 07:05:47 PM »
Thanks for the explanation RynSmith. I learn something every day here,
cfarm, That is exactly my idea. Scratch up the ground and expose some soil and as if by magic get regen.
I guess if it was that easy then ferns would not be considered a problem. I should have known that  :-\

Offline CCC4

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Re: Ferns and Regen
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2013, 05:57:22 PM »
The ferns in your pic are absolutely beautiful! From what I remember about ferns, they reproduce from spores under the leaves (the little dots). I wouldn't think ferns would prevent re-growth, but I don't know for sure. I just think your area in the picture is beautiful.

As a kid, I had a green thumb, growing up we had a creek on our property. I keep the creek cleaned out and planted with all sorts of wild flowers and ferns. I had some really neat ones that I had collected from other states.

Here in Arkansas, we have a type of fern that grows knee high with umbrella type foliage. They don't grow just everywhere, but when you find them they are in huge numbers. These ferns turn reddish in the Fall, I really like them.

Sorry to say it again but I REALLY like that picture of your ferns... I wish I had an area like that on my land. Thanks for sharing.

Offline Cedar Savage

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Re: Ferns and Regen
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2013, 06:20:14 PM »
Pick em in the spring & eat them, ferns in the fiddlehead stage, in the spring are tasty.
 If your trying to eradicate them, mowing them after they pop up in the spring will really slow em down....ya don't see them sprouting much in the summer.
They fried the fish with bacon and were astonished, for no fish had ever seemed so delicious before.         Mark Twain

Offline OlympicYJ

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Re: Ferns and Regen
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2013, 07:09:22 PM »
Just as a note Herbicide does not bio accumulate (accumulate in your system) therfore no worries with spraying really.

If it were me I'd hit it with some Glyphosate (round up) and Oust (a germination inhibitor) and plant it. But I prefer planting to nat regen.

The reason I would spray it is because in rocky ground typically there is greater competition for plant available water. By eleminating the ferns it would allow your seedlings to maximum uptake of moisture. Another reason planting would be good because you wouldn't have a bunch of nat seedlings competing for the water as well

As stated ferns will survive after being cleared. If you could plow & disc it and or rototill it it would be better than just scraping it off. Mowing it would probably work. I would mow if you can't plow & disc or rototill.

Trees prefer soil that is slightly acidic so I would not change the pH at all.

Ferns do not need old growth habitat to grow. Ferns will grow in open areas and under young forest canopies. It has to do with moisture and available light. After logging, Sword fern and Bracken fern will heavily occupy a site because the ground is exposed like the cfarm said. This is why site prep is important.

Offline g_man

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Re: Ferns and Regen
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2013, 08:18:29 PM »
So are you saying try repeated mowing until it is dead ? With a little clean up first I could bushhog it.
Or are you saying mow it after you spray it ?

Offline OlympicYJ

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Re: Ferns and Regen
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2013, 09:53:13 PM »
Sorry for the confusion.

I was suggesting mowing as an alternative to spraying. I doubt that repeated mowing will kill the ferns outright because of the rootball. But it will knock it's growth back.

If you did spray you could mow it after it is dead. The ferns will mulch down quicker and makes it easier to plant. If you wanted a good planting bed and plowed you could just skip the mowing part. This would be effective for planted or nat regen. I would plant because if the nat regen didn't work very well then that's time and money out the door.

Offline Cedar Savage

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Re: Ferns and Regen
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2013, 10:51:55 AM »
If you have a tractor & brushhog, thats the way to go.
They fried the fish with bacon and were astonished, for no fish had ever seemed so delicious before.         Mark Twain

Offline g_man

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Re: Ferns and Regen
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2013, 05:35:19 PM »
If you have a tractor & brushhog, thats the way to go.

Thanks all - Sounds like a plan


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