Removing ferns and recovering space

There are three ferns in my backyard, each over seven feet tall. I don't know the specific variety. These were planted by the previous owner along the fenceline with the adjacent properties. I would like to replace them with another set of plants or trees. Is it possible to remove and recover space from plants that size? The trunks are large and I am assuming that the root system must be quite extensive. Just chopping them down would leave substantial stumps and doesn't make the soil usable for anything else.
Thanks,
--- Ravi Redondo Beach, CA (Los Angeles area)
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Learn to live with the mighty ferns.

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I agree that you might learn to live with them. I think there is a drive by people to erase everything "the previous homeowner" did, from the color of the walls to the makeup of the landscape. I have seen people move in around me who have removed wonderful plants only to put in some deadly common, inappropriately sited plant from Wal-Mart that didn't survive the summer. Then they get discouraged or lose interest and move on to the next project leaving the landscape worse for their time and effort.
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by
around
Okay, I have to ask: what type of ferns grow 7 feet tall?? And what zones do they live in?
Giselle (I want some!)
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drive
of
summer.
project
Austrilian Tree fern (Cyathea cooperi) for one. I fell in love with it while visiting Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida (zone 9b). Sunset National Garden book says it grows in zones 15 to 27 of their zone system. It says that they can get as high as 20 feet with a 12 spread. The fronds are at the top of a trunk, and walking under them is no problem when they get big enough. The ones I saw may have been 12 tall and provided shade for other plants.
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A composite reply. Thanks for the suggestions, everyone.

I don't think that's quite the case here. The ferns are planted close to fences, the fronds reach over into the neighboring properties, and the roots are undoubtedly crossing into the other yards, as well. It is a small backyard and I was hoping to plant other trees in the place of the ferns or use the space for planters and/or planterboxes. When I water these plants that are so close to the fenceline, the runoff finds its way through gaps in the fence to the adjacent property.

I don't know the variety and I am sure that there must be dozens of them. I am referring to the height of the tops of the leaves/fronds. The trunks are about three or four feet high and have some kind of fine fuzz that grows on them.
I'll do some more research, perhaps have someone come in to look at the yard and make suggestions about how to keep the trees that are there and add the trees that I think I would like to have.
--- Ravi
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Is the neighbor complaining?
It

Don't you suppose that the tree roots will also cross into the neighor's yard?
When

Do they need that much water? Don't you suppose that when you plant trees and water them that the runoff will go into the neighbor's yard?
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while
National
the
Ah, sounds wonderful but not for central Indiana, I fear.
Giselle (would LOVE 7' ferns :))
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I've often been surprosed how shallow fern root systems are. Give yours a gentle tug and see if they move.
OTOH, your trash may be someone's treasure. Those ferns could be worth anything from $300 to nothing each, depending on their type, size, etc. Put an ad in the paper or on local bulletin boards, with a pic if possible, along the lines of "Free ferns---you dig and fill," and you may be surprised by the response. The previous owners of my house seem to have done nothing but water the lawn, so I inherited a jungle which I am slowly editing--partly bu hand, partly by the above method. zemedelec
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wish i had them and had room for them and they would grow in my zone! some people have all the luck! give it at least a season before you make an ir-reversable decision. lee h
snipped-for-privacy@rettacs.org (Ravi) wrote in message

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snipped-for-privacy@1starnet.com (Lee) wrote in message

Thanks to all who replied. I'll look into building some kind of plant containers around the existing ferns rather than digging them up.
--- Ravi
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