Q: What are these little round growths I keep finding in my flower beds?
A: My first question to you was whether or not you had Boston fern in the flower beds. Once you said yes, I knew the growths were the bulbuls of the invasive Boston fern, Nephrolepis exaltata. They are sold at most of the garden centers in hanging baskets. Boston fern would probably not be such a problem if they were left in the hanging baskets.
But people often tire of them which results in the plant being taken out of the hanging pot and planted into the landscape. From there, the fern begins to multiple at alarming rates showing up in other areas of the yard, in palm tree tissue, along roadsides and into wildlife areas.
Once in the landscape it becomes very difficult to maintain. Boston fern can handle most any soil condition as long as they are in shady areas. It is possible to gain some control if you hand pull them, but you must be sure to remove all of the root tissue. Glyphosate products applied to the fronds will help you manage these prolific growers. You might consider painting the product directly onto the fronds. Painting glyphosate rather than spraying it would help you avoid drift. Drift occurs when a chemical is sprayed and the wind picks up the tiny particles and takes them to another site. The other site could be Grandmother Mildred’s prize camellias or daylilies, which would probably not be a good thing. So, please, please read the directions on the pesticide label and follow them completely. Consider using some other form of ground cover such as holly fern or cast iron plant which does not cause the same environmental problems of invasive plants.