The Q&A Archives: Replacing Asparagus Plants In A Producing Row.

Question: We need to replace some of our asparagus crowns. Our bed is 7 years old and producing great, but some (~20%) of the plants have stopped producing. They are in between good producers which we don't want to lose. Can we replace these crowns with new stock between old plants? Will we damage the good producers?

Answer: Since an asparagus bed can last for up to twenty years, it would be interesting to know why those particular plants have failed. In many cases the initial planting was made too close together to accommodate the mature size of the plants and so the weaker plants are eventually crowded out. If you suspect this is what happened in your case, then I would suggest not replacing the plants but instead allowing the other plants to take over that space that they apparently need. This makes even more sense when you stop to realize that in time the root systems of these plants are absolutely huge. On the other hand, assuming the planting is generally healthy, you could probably wedge in a replacement crown since it will likely be smaller than the plant was that you are replacing. Do your best to improve the soil for each plant as you go and remember to harvest them differently (ie more lightly if at all) the first few years as well. One additional consideraton however might be to start another brand new asparagus section so that it will be in full production when the original patch begins to truly wane with age.

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