Bracken fern identification and control

Walking fern

Q: I’m seeing a deciduous hardy fern that averages 2′-3′ tall. It was given to me on a plant tour and all he said was it was a walking fern and they have really walked!

A: Ha, this fern doesn’t walk, it runs!

You have bracken fern, Pteridium aquilinum.

It spreads aggressively via underground rhizomes. You will be surprised at how many there are.

Although glyphosate (Roundup) will hurt it, multiple applications will be required. Spraying plus pulling every sprout you see will eventually control it.

Walking fern

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