Dicksonia antartica: Water requirements

Robin H
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Dicksonia antartica: Water requirements

Post by Robin H » Sun Dec 30, 2012 5:57 pm

Hello,

I'm thinking of putting in a Dicksonia antarctica next year (it's my birthday on 11th Jan and have asked for one) and wondered if any of you could give me some advice. I owned a potted Dicksonia antarctica a few years back but it was killed in 2009 by cold.

I wanted to ask:

1. what is the minimum water requirement for this plant?
2. does the trunk need to be constantly wet? I know this won't be a problem if we have a repeat of this year.
3. potted or log better?


I'm thinking of putting a 3ft one (seen them on seagraves website) in front of the fatsia now that the rhododendrons are gone. The site is partially shaded by the wall. What do you think?
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Last edited by Robin H on Sun Dec 30, 2012 6:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Springy
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Re: Dicksonia antartica: Water requirements

Post by Springy » Sun Dec 30, 2012 6:02 pm

Hi Robin! I can't answer your question but I too would be interested in any answers you get, especially as mine will be growing in full sun most of the day. icon_thumbdown


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Re: Dicksonia antartica: Water requirements

Post by greendragon » Sun Dec 30, 2012 6:16 pm

I had to water my Dicksonia Antarctica so much in the summer to keep the trunk moist that it saturated the ground around it. If you are going to plant it in the ground try and surround it with water loving plants or they will drown.

I would estimate at least 8 litres of water per day need to be drip fed into the crown of a newly planted Dicksonia antarctica during summer for ideal results. I made the mistake of just showering it in water which caused alot of the water to run off and not soak in properly because there were no roots in the ground to catch it.
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fern Rob
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Re: Dicksonia antartica: Water requirements

Post by fern Rob » Sun Dec 30, 2012 6:37 pm

Hi, Robin
I have found that with Log Dicksonia antarctica they seem to produce large fronds the first year of import hen they reduce down until they re-root (one that I planted three years ago is starting o settle down now). I used to give the Dicksonia antarctica 20lt of water a day in the summer through the crown and saturate the trunk but in November this year I fitter a dripper system that I will turn on in early April until mid to late September. I also give my Dicksonia antarctica a good feed with aether high nitrogen feed or a seaweed feed to supplement jilts they re-establish as the main root would have been severed during harvesting.
Potted or log does not matter in my opinion as most Dicksonia antarctica over 10cm trunk have been harvested and they are easy to re-root :D .
Quick note- some of my Dicksonia antarctica have came from Seagrave and they have been brilliant :D . Don't hesitate Dicksonia antarctica add so much to a garden.
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Arlon Tishmarsh
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Re: Dicksonia antartica: Water requirements

Post by Arlon Tishmarsh » Sun Dec 30, 2012 6:40 pm

Robin H wrote:Hello,

I'm thinking of putting in a Dicksonia antarctica next year
Put a drip / irrigation feed to the crown, defo the best thing i ever did for my Dicksonia antarctica's


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Re: Dicksonia antartica: Water requirements

Post by Conifers » Sun Dec 30, 2012 6:56 pm

High shade (from tall trees overhead) and shelter are probably more important than extra water.


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Re: Dicksonia antartica: Water requirements

Post by Dave Brown » Sun Dec 30, 2012 7:12 pm

I'm not sure they require constant wet conditions. I watered the trunks before roots in the ground were formed, but don't bother much now they are established. Five of my six had lots of water in the drought last year, and the sixth didn't. Which one do you think had the smallest crown ? ..... no, it wasn't the one that didn't get water ??????

Adrian, swears he doesn't water his at all, and they are a picture of health ???????
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Springy
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Re: Dicksonia antartica: Water requirements

Post by Springy » Sun Dec 30, 2012 7:21 pm

Conifers wrote:High shade (from tall trees overhead) and shelter are probably more important than extra water.
Well looking at Robin's garden from the picture there is no overhanging trees or shade.(correct me if I'm wrong Robin) This is the problem I have. A south facing garden with no shade at all from above. There must be people on this site that grow them successfully in full sun??


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Re: Dicksonia antartica: Water requirements

Post by fern Rob » Sun Dec 30, 2012 7:29 pm

Springy wrote:
Conifers wrote:High shade (from tall trees overhead) and shelter are probably more important than extra water.
Well looking at Robin's garden from the picture there is no overhanging trees or shade.(correct me if I'm wrong Robin) This is the problem I have. A south facing garden with no shade at all from above. There must be people on this site that grow them successfully in full sun??
One of my Dicksonia antarctica are sitting in full sun, I just plant around the bottom to keep the soil around it cool and water well every day through the summer.
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Re: Dicksonia antartica: Water requirements

Post by Nigel Fear » Sun Dec 30, 2012 7:41 pm

Robin, I'm sure you'll take plenty of care of your D.A. when you get it, but don't plant it in front of the Fatsia, which will swamp it in a couple of years time.

You'd be better off planting it round the side, away from both the Fatsia, and the Phormium, which will also spread out.


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Re: Dicksonia antartica: Water requirements

Post by bordersboy » Sun Dec 30, 2012 7:42 pm

Just give mine a watering can weekly.Growing in full sun(always dull). My 7footer has really small fronds still from the near death experiences of the -22 winters.Loads of fronds just smalll ?


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Re: Dicksonia antartica: Water requirements

Post by call » Sun Dec 30, 2012 7:52 pm

water in the crown so that the water drips down and moistens the trunk and in the winter put some straw in the crown to protect new growth from frost.
they dont need too heavy shade but must be kept from strong drying winds. hope this helps :mrgreen:
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Adrian
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Re: Dicksonia antartica: Water requirements

Post by Adrian » Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:15 pm

Dave Brown wrote:I'm not sure they require constant wet conditions. I watered the trunks before roots in the ground were formed, but don't bother much now they are established. Five of my six had lots of water in the drought last year, and the sixth didn't. Which one do you think had the smallest crown ? ..... no, it wasn't the one that didn't get water ??????

Adrian, swears he doesn't water his at all, and they are a picture of health ???????
Just been reading the thread Dave and something came to mind, maybe by having ferns with 30 to 60 fronds each year then more rain is channelled into the top of the trunk than would be caught by some of those manky 3,4 or 5 leafers that you find in the GCs.

As Dave said, mine are very rarely watered and only if in a very dry spell of weather but they are very well established, sure mine get a flick with the hose if Im watering the bedding but Ive never had to do anything special for them.
I would suggest not letting any newly planted Dicksonia antarctica dry out, a cut log will produce quite a mat of roots within a year, within 2 years you will have trouble moving it as the mat spreads quite a way.
Although the crowns of mine are mostly in sun the ground under them doesnt dry out.
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Re: Dicksonia antartica: Water requirements

Post by Tom2006 » Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:43 pm

Mine are all in a south facing garden and they bake IF we ever get warmer/hotter temperatures. Mine seem to relish the sun all day but I do need to water mine once a day or every other day. That said, I have left mine for holidays (which sadly I haven't had for a few years now) and just get a relative to soak them once or twice during the week I'm gone.

The best method for watering them is to use a fine spray from a hose to wet the trunk on all sides top to bottom. I then get a 10 litre watering can and use rain water if the water butt has some, but find they don't mind our very hard tap water. I then just soak to the crown. I find that watering trunk means the water runs down to the roots and soaks into the ground/roots below. Do not neglect the roots or believe anyone who says you only need to water the crown, roots need plenty as well.

I lost five of my seven planted tree ferns in the winter 2010. All were wrapped the same but the two that survived had the thickest trunks but crucially got some limited winter sun. The other five were in a sheltered spot which hardly got any winter sun at all. They had also not had to endure winter 2009. My conclusion was to make sure that Dicksonia antarctica's get winter sun because this will help rebound the daytime temperatures as much as possible after a cold night. That said, I now have all but one tree fern in large 65 litre pots, so I can drag them to where ever I want to put them. They need a bit more watering BUT I can protect them so much better in winter.

That said don't be scared to plant yours in the ground because it will need slightly less watering. Just be aware that if you get a few days of temperatures at or below freezing in winter, even with protection, your tree fern is likely to freeze solid and this can damage and kill them, so be prepared to lift it IF we get a winter spell like this. Better to lift and disrupt the roots and have it live and replant in the ground in the spring.

I got a two foot Dicksonia antarctica from Seagraves in their sale early in the year. It arrived EXTREMELY dry as a log. It took until the middle of the summer to put out any fronds and only put out seven or eight. I spoke to a number of people who reported the same with this batch of Dicksonia antarctica's from Seagraves. When they put out the fronds they were very long, and it laid down a few roots but not many at all. I sat it in a bucket of water for two days before planting it in the ground and gave it loads of water. Its a nice Dicksonia antarctica though and I would use them again, just be aware of how much soaking it will probably need. icon_thumleft
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Springy
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Re: Dicksonia antartica: Water requirements

Post by Springy » Sun Dec 30, 2012 10:11 pm

Thanks for the advice everyone! icon_salut
My ferns will be planted with their heads in the sun (even in winter) but the roots will always be in the shade. It's the most damp part of the garden and I have just moved my gunnera to this corner for this reason. It looks like my usual watering regime will suffice to keep them healthy until I eventually fit an irrigation system. I will plant with plenty of organic matter in the planting hole and then apply a deep mulch.
Hopefully all your answers will help Robin with regards to his planting too.

Sorry if I've hogged your thread Robin :oops:


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