How Ferns Are Beneficial In Landscaping
If people are unable to see the forest for the trees, then imagine how easy it is to overlook the many benefits of the lowly fern in landscaping design. They are such a common and essential part of the fabric of both field and forest; it's easy to see why this plant is dismissed. But various fern species provide environmental cover, act as food for both wild animals and humans, and even filter toxins from contaminated soils, making them a critical "medic" in land restoration. And today, the "lowly" fern is occupying an increasingly important space in landscape planning on private land. Read on to see why.
The Benefits Of Landscaping With Ferns
1. There's A Fern For All Occasions
A few decades ago, there were less than ten species of ferns appropriate for backyard landscaping. Today, there's more than 150. And while even modified remain nonflowering plants, their colors and shape more than makeup for lack of blossoms.
2. They Command Respect
They do have animal predators and disease problems, but many fewer than other plant species.
3. They Are Hardy And Don't Need Much Attention
A lack of or overabundance of moisture is possibly the single most significant deterrent to the thriving of the plant or colony. Working with professional landscapers is the best way to ensure the pairing of the right ones with the right property.
4. Ferns Can Restore "Injured" Properties
Multiple studies have shown how ferns can filter toxins like heavy metals from the land. Certain species of ferns such as marsh ferns provide excellent ground cover for very wet areas and can reduce damage from erosion.
Hardy as they are, fern species have particular requirements. This is why it's best to have property types assessed and recommendations made professionally before proceeding. With that in mind, here are a few of the more popular ferns for specific property types:
For Very Wet Areas
Native species like cinnamon ferns and sensitive ferns do well in wet areas, including thriving in bogs and at the edge of ponds.
For Dry Areas
Not all ferns need lots of water to thrive. There are fern species that can survive in desert conditions, though these plants are smaller and less showy. The more abundant wood ferns and lady ferns do very well in drier yards, however.
For Areas With Moderate Light And Moisture
Hart's tongue (needs extra lime), oak, and autumn ferns all do well in moderate light. They also need less moisture than some other species,
Fern Plant Information
Ferns are a part of the vascular plant group known as tracheophytes; they reproduce using spores and have no flowers or seeds. When they grow, they uncoil fiddlehead-shaped appendages that transform into fronds. Ferns have specialized tissues that soak up the water and nutrients they need to thrive. There are approximately 10,560 species of this plant.
The leaves of fern plants are very complex; they are called megaphylls. Many fern plants belong to the leptosporangiate group, which are the "true ferns." The first fern plants existed about 360 million years ago according to fossils. These green plants may not look extraordinary, but they have quite an essential role in the world. These plants have their place across many areas including food, medicine, decoration, agriculture, and art. Some types of fern plant can heal ailments, restore degraded soil, and boost the nutrition of the foods we eat. They may even be able to purify the air from chemicals, some studies suggest.
These vascular plants have three parts, leaves, roots, and steams. Many plants within the species have roots that grow above grown that are known as stolons. Only a few of the species of fern have underground sources. The megaphyll, or front, of the greenery, is where photosynthesis occurs. When a fern leaf is fertile, it is known as a sporophyll. These leaves produce spores, the centerpiece of fern reproduction. The roots of a fern are much like those of any other plant. They don't play a role in photosynthesis, but they help the plant get the necessary water and nutrients needed for survival.
The sporophyte phase is the most significant part of the fern life cycle. The gametophyte of a fern plant is made up of a prothallus, antheridia, archegonia, and roots. These plants prosper in a wide range of habitats including mountains, deserts, and shady abodes. Most types of fern need shade and a specific pH to survive.