The Q&A Archives: Asparagus Fern Taking Over

Question: We have a problem with asparagus ferns. They just started growing in between some of our bushes, and no matter what we do (remove them by the roots, spray with RoundUp), they keep coming back. They grow very fast here and are difficult to handle because they have small thorns. I can't believe garden shops actually sell them! Here they are an absolute menace, taking over the yard and choking out the shrubs we want. What do we do?

Answer: Asparagus fern (Asparagus densiflorus) is actually not a fern but rather a member of the lily family. It is a tough "survivor" as you now know. Aside from making chemical attempts on its life, the only way to get rid of it is to dig up the fleshy root nodules from which it so readily returns. In a severe case, this may mean lifting existing plants from the bed in the fall and spading through the entire bed to locate and remove the underground storage nodules. Then reset the desirable plants and remain diligent to search out and remove any asparagus fern "escapes" which may show up later.

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