Encouraging Grass and Fern Growth in a Wooded Area

Asked January 15, 2019, 11:21 AM EST

I have been clearing a 4-acre woodlot (mostly Douglas fir) of brush and trimming trees. As the area opens up there are some grass and ferns growing but how can encourage more to grow?

Yamhill County Oregon native plants

1 Response

Thank you for your question. It would be helpful to know the various species of the ferns and the grasses. I will assume, unless you correct me, that they are native species (i.e., humans didn't plant them). The interesting thing about the two types of plants you're asking about is that, in general, ferns prefer shade and grasses prefer sunlight. So, while you are trimming trees, by letting more light in, you're encouraging grass growth, but potentially reducing the growth rate of the ferns due to too much light!

I'd suggest that you take a look at photos, descriptions and plant needs of the natives contained in the following publication to see what you have, and what their environmental preferences are: https://www.oregonmetro.gov/native-plants-willamette-valley-yards-booklet

After you've gotten through it (or the parts that interest you), as well as the introductory information, perhaps you can write back and we can work on encouraging their growth. This can include planting companion plants, making certain they have adequate water and nutrients, and adding to your collection. Hope this is helpful!