Tree ferns do have roots, which is odd when you first get one as they come ‘cut’ from the ground with no roots at all. In fact the whole ‘trunk’ is made from roots, which send thin wispy wool like fibres towards the ground in an effort to stabilise the plant. They absorb water and nutrients from the ground as well as through the ‘trunk’, and also from directly in the crown.
Dicksonia Antarctica sends roots directly from the crown, which forms a large fibrous mat around the base of the ‘trunk’ which is (mostly) within a couple of inches of the surface.
Does a tree fern have roots?
When I planted my 6ft Dicksonia Antarctica tee fern about 3 years ago, I placed it on the surface of the ground, and staked it to a 3 inch post, which actually is still in the ground. I will remove it at some point as it has more than enough roots at this point to be very sturdy in the ground.
In three years my tree ferns have produced a bowl shaped mat that extends a good 2-2.5ft around the base of the trunk, which is pretty tough and solid and is creating a sturdy base that is for sure.
Do tree ferns have deep roots?
Tree ferns don’t have terribly deep roots, no, but form a large bowl shaped mat under and around the base of the trunk.
It’s hard to tell how deep the roots go, but it must extend a good few inches down around the edges, and then 50cm or so under the main trunk.
Just accept that if you have bought a tree fern that has been chainsawed off from the base in deep Tasmania, shipped around the world in a fridge and then replanted in your garden… it’s going to take a few years to get back to size.
My own tree ferns had tiny fronds the first couple of years, but year 3 was looking amazing again. They just need time, water and lots of humidity.