What's eating my fern?

Asked September 16, 2020, 4:44 PM EDT

Hello, I have (had) 2 thriving maidenhair ferns in the shade on our balcony. It's two stories off the ground. Some creature eats it every night and I cannot figure out what it may be? It can't be a deer or rabbit, because of the location. Any thoughts?

Marion County Oregon

1 Response

Assume you mean that you are observing chewing damage to your fern fronds. Considering where the ferns are located, the damage might be from moth larvae or sawfly larvae. It's also possible you have some slugs and/or snails that have somehow made the climb up to the balcony (or have somehow been transported there). You should check all the fronds for any caterpillars/larvae that might be present. If there are any, you could wash them off with a strong spray of water. After dark, take a flashlight and look for any snails/slugs that may have ventured out of hiding for an overnight snack. If you see any, you can pick them off and dispose of them in soapy water. Or you can set up a small beer trap in the container - put a little beer in a shallow container and set it in the pot to attract them.

Some rodents have also been known to use fern fronds as nesting material.