Among the natural products that we can use in organic cultivation or, in any case, in agro-ecological production models, the Fern maceration plays an important role.
It is a very useful product in the containment of some insect pests of vegetable or fruit crops, as it is, to all effects, a natural insecticide with very low or even no contraindications. It can be used to contain infestations of cochineals and other insects.
To obtain the macerated fern, two types of ferns must be macerated: the dry fern Dryopteris filix-mas, and the bracken fern Pteridium aquilinum.
Both are wild plants of the Dryopteridaceae family, the first and of the Hypolepidaceae family, the second.
For their retrieval consider that they are somewhat cosmopolitan plants and that they live mainly in damp and not very sunny places, in the woods, in the pastures valleys, and in siliceous matrix soils, up to altitudes of two thousand meters.
On the Italian territory we find it a bit everywhere.
For the preparation of the macerated, the aerial part of the plant must be used, tender stems and above all leaves.
The proportions to be adopted are 1 kg of green plant (or 100 g of dry plant) in 10 liters of water, possibly not calcareous (better if rain).
The procedure involves leaving the green plant to soak for a week in plenty of water, shaking it at least once a day, to avoid the formation of an upper film.
Once this period has elapsed, the entire contents must be filtered (even in a non-colored linen or cotton fabric).
This macerate can thus be used as a natural remedy for cochineals, or other insects, such as aphids, in the periods between the beginning of spring and summer, diluted in an additional 10 liters of water.
In case you want to use this product for infestations present in the winter months, or in any case cold, it can also be used pure or with low dilutions.
For the action of fern macerate to be more effective, we recommend preliminary cleaning of the infested part with a soft bristle brush. Obviously this operation is possible if we are dealing with some plants.
In the case in which the plants to be treated are numerous, as in income vegetable crops, it is possible to operate a preventive spraying with water alone, to remove dust and other impurities on the plant, and carry out the treatment with the macerated when these will be dried. Whether for spraying on trees, vegetables or ornamental plants, it is advisable to work during the coolest hours of the day.
Finally, the operation must be done at regular intervals, once or twice a week, for at least a month.
The macerated fern is also effective against snails if sprayed directly into the ground.
Furthermore, as the fern is rich in potassium, the macerated soil can be sprayed into the soil as a nutritional supplement in case of lack of this element.