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When a forest has a complete fern understory

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  • When a forest has a complete fern understory

    Controlling Understory Fern Competition for Regeneration Success

    "Areas of hardwood forests across the Great Lakes region, and throughout the Northeast contain dense understories of fern, in particular, hay-scented and New York ferns. Dense fern understories are often biological deserts, lacking plant and wildlife diversity, and provide little food and cover for wildlife. Dense fern understories also interfere with the regeneration of hardwood forests, threatening their sustainability across the region. This presentation will cover how to identify the most problematic ferns, why they are a problem, and what the best control methods are."

    You may enjoy watching the beginning of this video to learn about ferns and the problems they can cause.

    So the deal is that some areas have so many deer that they eat the under story plants leaving the fern. Deer do not eat fern.

    This can help you understand what you maybe seeing when you hike through a forest.

    Now this person in the video says to spray down the forest with herbicides.

    I say work harder to get rid of the deer and let the forest heal itself.

    Leave No Trace!

  • #2
    The same problems ferns cause are also caused by Barberry which is why its banned in some areas.
    I won't argue that persons anti-fern sentiments but I've seen birds nest under ferns and deer and bear bed in them completely out of sight.


    • #3
      ...or give the heave-ho to backcountry skiers along with the deer?

      Not so fast! Some of those birch and fern ski runs make for easy bushwhacking if you can find them!


      • Bunchberry
        Bunchberry commented
        Editing a comment
        Did not see that one coming!

    • #4
      If we kill the ferns (can the state actually do this?!), will Nettles take over?!
      Tom Rankin - 5444W "In the depths of Summer, I finally learned that there lay within me an invincible Winter"

      Proud Member #0003 of ADKHP Foundation
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      • #5
        Originally posted by TFR View Post
        If we kill the ferns (can the state actually do this?!), will Nettles take over?!
        Valid point!

        That would be a nightmare!
        If by chance some day you're not feeling well and you should remember some silly thing I've said or done and it brings back a smile to your face or a chuckle to your heart, then my purpose as your clown has been fulfilled ~ Red Skelton


        • #6

          I just want to breath some interest into the actual forests that we are walking through.

          The video suggests that there are native plants that will spring back to life if you give them half a chance.

          I am not so sure spraying the forest floor with herbicides is how you want to go about that.
          Leave No Trace!


          • Old Hunter
            Old Hunter commented
            Editing a comment
            I doubt spraying is legal/allowed.

        • #7
          i have just recently read a great book called forests adrift which discusses quite a bit about how our forests ended up the way they are and what the future might hold for them. one of the discussions is the impact of deer populations on our forests, quite fascinating stuff imo.


          • #8
            Aren’t fiddleheads actually just ferns before they “open up” in the spring? So yummy sautéed in butter, seasonings and garlic. (What isn’t? Lol)

            Fiddleheads for everyone!


            • #9
              Some Fiddleheads can make you ill so be particular. They are tasty.