Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - August 12, 2014

From: Waynesville, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Ferns
Title: Chemical Weed Control in Lady Ferns in North Carolina
Answered by: Larry Larson

QUESTION:

Lady Fern (Athyrium filix femina): What herbicide may I use for weeds in a new bed of Lady fern.

ANSWER:

  You sort of came to the wrong place with this question. The mission of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes.  As such, we don’t stock much information on herbicides and are just about as interested in the weeds as we are the Athyrium filix-femina (Common ladyfern) !

   Still,  Athyrium filix-femina (Common ladyfern) is a native, so I gave it a bit of a go. Here is a very informative publication from the British Columbia Ministry of Forests on the Vegetation Management of Fern Complexes.  Lady Fern is one of the predominant species of these complexes.  I think the section on chemical control focusses on controlling the ferns though!

Similarly, here is an article from e-How on Weed Control for Bracken Fern, As both of these appear to focus on controlling the ferns, it’s likely your best approach is to avoid the recommended treatments – and do some research on other treatments that are effective on the “weeds”.

  A likely place you can go to for some good help for this question is the Haywood County NC State Extension Office.  Extension Offices tend to be much more knowledgeable on chemical approaches, and I notice that yours has an “Ask an Expert” link and a team of Master Gardeners.

 

From the Image Gallery


Common lady fern
Athyrium filix-femina

Common lady fern
Athyrium filix-femina

More Ferns Questions

Identity of fern-like plant in woodland garden
August 04, 2008 - what is the fern-like, hairy fleshy-stemmed, 12"-18" ht plant in my woodland garden
view the full question and answer

Native plants with little sun and northern exposure for New York
April 26, 2006 - I live in a co-op and want to fix up the backyard. The backyard area has a west area to plant with a northern exposure and little sun and I am looking to plant something to cover the area. I would lik...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting native, protected Ostrich fern in New York
September 05, 2006 - Please give advice about how to transplant Matteuccia struthiopteris. What is the best time of year to do this?
view the full question and answer

Erosion control for a North Carolina creek side
February 29, 2012 - Hello Mr. Smarty Plants! I noticed a question on your website recommending NC native grasses and plants to help prevent erosion on a sloping backyard, including the use of an erosion blanket. The pl...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover under Spruces from West Chester PA
December 06, 2012 - Trying to get a native groundcover (or any grass/wildflower/fern) planting established under a small stand of spruces. Established stand (30+ years old), so lots of needles on ground. Just about tot...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.