The Q&A Archives: Aspargus Turns Yellow and Dies

Question: I have an aspargus patch which is about 10 years old and still producing well. About three years ago I decided to plant some new crowns along side of the old ones. I dug holes about 18" deep, added 6" of composted manure, set the crowns and covered the shoots as they emerged till the hole was filled. The problem is that every year I lose about 10%of the plants. They produce a fern that turns yellow and dies then another or two then after no more shoots appear I dig up the crown and it is dead andfermenting. <br>

Answer: What you describe fits the description of fusarium crown rot, but to be absolutely sure, you should have the problem diagnosed by your extension office (ph# 517/539-7805). Fusarium crown rot is a soil-borne fungal disease that can quickly kill new plantings, and unfortunately, there's no "cure". It makes me wonder if the disease was imported with the new plants, since your old stand appears unaffected. The problem can spread to your established asparagus, so be on the watch. The older plants may be a variety that is resistant to the disease. It wouldn't hurt to start a new bed with a variety known to show resistance to the disease, such as 'Jersey Giant' (available from Burpee).

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