Ferns – Pre-emergent to Control Weeds

Q: I have assorted native ferns in my landscape. It’s beautiful until June when weeds start to overgrow them. Can I put down pre-emergent weed control without hurting the ferns?

A: I don’t think pre-emergents have been tested on ferns. You can try it and tell me how it works or go with this alternative: when objectionable plants appear, wrap an old towel on a short stick and wet it with glyphosate (click for sources). Wipe the dampened towel on the weeds and kill them without harming the ferns.

Gentle reader Connie G.  says “…. there is an older and perfectly good way to control weeds:  by hand pulling.  Maybe it takes more patience to pull out the weeds; but it doesn’t add chemicals and other plant killing products into our environment.  And it doesn’t keep us stuck in that mindless way of thinking that it’s ok to just keep putting those kinds of things all over our gardens.  What it DOES do is help us slow down a bit and take the time to get back in touch with nature, and we all could do more of that.”

fern Jap painted 2