The Q&A Archives: Asparagus Bending Over

Question: Our three year old asparagus are bending over with one side of the spear looking fibrous. The ferns that we allowed to grow are wilted at the top and at the branchings. It has been very rainy here for the last month. What can we do?

Answer: I hate to say the words "crop failure" with any regularity, but that's what it sounds like happened to your asparagus. The crowns of your plants will gather energy from the ferns you allow to grow, but they won't be very efficient if they're sickly. I'd leave the spears to develop into ferns and leave the healthy parts of the ferns alone, cutting down the damaged ferns and fern parts. (It's not a good idea to keep diseased or damaged plant parts on the plants, but it's also important to allow as much of the foliage as possible to remain, in order to supply the crowns with food and energy.) I'd consider the crop a total loss due to inclement weather, and baby the plants along this year with the expectation that you'll have a bumper crop of spears next spring.

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