How to re-hang a Stag Horn Fern


May 15, 2012 by Janna Roznos

I am the infrequent gardener.  Sometimes I am in my garden everyday: pruning, weeding, deadheading and watering, then on other days? I am nowhere to be found.  I chastise myself for not spending more time in the garden like I should, but like so many other activities in my life that I should do or I should support or that I should participate –  my gardening chores do get neglected.

So recently when the stag horn fern that hangs from a tree in our backyard cracked open like an oversized egg, I really wasn’t sure how fix it. Or even if it was fixable?

I made a few phone calls and found someone who would come and take the broken portion off for me.  In the past, when one of my stag horns fell off a tree, a mutual friend agreed to take the bruised plant.  After  much swearing and a little bit of blood, we got it into the back of his truck.  That stag horn fern is now happily and healthy hanging in his back yard.

However, this would not be the fate for this stag horn fern. This stag horn fern was to be saved – at all costs! I didn’t make this decision. So I stepped back at let the ‘Big Guns’ handle the situation.

First, the necessary tools were assembled:

There was much discussion about how the broken side was going to be ‘reattached’:

A few notable documentations photos were necessary:

Of course, a break time was in order (and may have been required by Union regulations?)

Finally, after much ado, the most important tool was engaged:

The stag horn was hoisted back into the tree and its broken side wired closed:

And now it’s all better:

In fact, it looks even better a few days later than this photo.  The leaves are perking up it has reoriented itself in the tree – in other words, it is not hanging so crooked.

Thank you to all the fine gents who did this for me: my darling husband and two of my brothers.

There was neither blood nor swearing during the rehanging of the stag horn fern–perhaps a first around here 🙂

On a side note, you may be wondering how in the world I got a stag horn to grow this big!  Well, I didn’t.  I inherited this stag horn from my grandfather (who was a citrus rancher).  No one knows exactly how old this stag horn is; however,  I do remember it at the citrus ranch in the lathe house, where my grandfather grew an assortment of flowers and pants.

And that my friends, is how to rehang a stag horn fern!

Perhaps you’re wondering how I got it into the tree in the first place? That’s a story for another day.


4 thoughts on “How to re-hang a Stag Horn Fern

  1. Amy says:

    Mine that is approximately 20 years old and just fell from it’s mounting board today and I am desperate to save it. What exactly did you guys do to save yours?? Like you, I inherited mine from my grandparents and it means a lot to me. Please help!

    • sewforward says:

      My apologies for not getting back to you sooner regarding your stag horn fern –life has gotten in the way of blogging.

      Regarding hanging a stag horn fern it up, this is how I have done it.

      1. Make a flat board to mount the stag horn on and mount it as high up on the board as possible Stag horns (usually) grow out from the bottom so that way there will be room for it to grow. I use just scrap wood and make a plank. Insert (nail) nails or hooks along the edge of the board (both sides) these nails will be needed to tie the stag horn to the board.
      2. Before mounting remove any of the dead parts of the stag horn.
      3. Pack the back (inside) of the stag horn with green sphagnum moss, which I buy at our local garden center. I soak the moss in water and then squeeze the excess out before packing the stag horn. I would recommend wearing gloves to do this.

      4. Lay the stag horn on top of the board. Using fishing line wrap it across the stag horn fern from nail to nail back and forth making sure the stag horn in snug against the board and tie off the line.

      5. Then water well and hang up the stag horn.

      I learned how to do this from this book,Southern California Gardening by Pat Welsh. I have an old version of this book, but it is explained (and probably better than I have) in there.

      Hope this helps and again, so sorry it has taken me so long to respond.

  2. Susan says:

    When you hang a stag from a tree, how do you attach the chain inside the stag? (the 3 chains coming off the main chain?

    • Janna Roznos says:

      Hi Susan, Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. The stag horn in the picture (on my sorely neglected blog) was made by grandfather – so the fern is well over forty years old. He made a wooden box and attached the chain to the box and then coaxed the stag horns to grow around the box. Of course after all this time the box has rotted away. So now we have used cables wrapped around the outside of the stag horn, which hold it together and those cables are connect to the chain. A good book that explains how to start stag horn (on a wooden plank) is Southern California Gardening, by Pat Welsh. I have an older version of the book, but I still refer to it. I hope this helps. Take care-

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