Gardening Answers

Fern cleanup

Barklessdog | Posted in Pacific Northwest Gardening on

Lots of fern pruning questions! When should sword ferns (maybe others as well) be trimmed? Is it too early to do this here in the Northwest?  Wondering if old fronds protect the plant in coming possible cold days. Should only the brown fronds be trimmed and should it be every year?


  1. User avater
    cleangreen | | #1

    Good question for northeast too.

  2. User avater Moderator
    Plantswoman | | #2

    Most of the time the western sword fern is planted in a high overhead cover shade. Even though it may be deciduous the cover will help prevent heavy frost damage and cold temps freezing the ground. I would usually choose anytime from February 15- March 30th when the fronds start to really push through the crown. Thankfully native ferns in there native habitat can do without much 'gardening' from us. If in a less native environment, like open sunny areas, more caution should be taken and avoid pruning back leaves until after March 30. Removing any fronds is ok at this point.

    1. Barklessdog | | #3

      Thank you so much. I added to my to do list! .

      1. User avater Moderator
        Plantswoman | | #4

        Great. Love those ferns !

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