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  #1  
Old 12-17-2018, 09:22 PM
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Default Harvesting dead tree fern

I have a pretty large tree fern in my garden which recently died, and I'm interested in how to go about saving the trunk material for orchid mounts. Can I cut it down at any time, or should it "dry" first? How much of it can be used for mounts - just the center part, or further out towards the surface too? Any difference between the top part vs. the lower part of the trunk? The whole thing is about a foot in diameter and about 15 ft high.
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Old 12-17-2018, 10:36 PM
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Just cut the trunk as close to the ground as you can. Then cut into sections that you can manage to move. Once cut it will dry over time. (Just put it where it won't get rained upon)I always mount to the outside surface (the interior is almost hollow, and the wood is very smooth, not ideal at all) I have found that orchids really love these - especially the bare part (where the leaves have been shed) - lovely rough surface. If there is "fuzz" try to to remove that (much easier as the trunk dries) just so that you don't have loose material. But except for the fuzz, the outside is all usable. The thicker sections can be pretty easily split into 1/2 round or 1/4 round. Lucky you! (Sad to lose a tree fern, but now you're set for mounts for quite awhile)
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Last edited by Roberta; 12-18-2018 at 12:00 AM..
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Old 12-18-2018, 08:33 AM
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Thanks, Roberta. By the way, it's a Cyathea medullaris (Black Tree Fern). It has very large coarse frond stubs at the trunk, which might limit the usefulness of the outer part. But I guess I'll find out when it's cut.
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Old 12-18-2018, 03:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daveh_sf View Post
T It has very large coarse frond stubs at the trunk, which might limit the usefulness of the outer part.
Not at all. True, if you are mounting a teeny chid on a small section of trunk and the stub is sticking waaay out there, you may wish to trim it back a bit closer to the trunk, but otherwise the stub may prove useful as a spot on which to sit the chid you are mounting. (With the chid sitting in the crotch where the stub meets the trunk.)

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Old 12-19-2018, 08:19 AM
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Thanks, Paul, I'll have to consider that when I cut it up. Some of the stubs are pretty big (about 6" long and 2-3" diameter), but the pockets could be useful for bigger orchids.
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Old 12-19-2018, 09:59 AM
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Depending upon how big the stubs are and how hard they are to chop up, you might be able to use them chopped up as part of a mix for some potted orchids
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