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Asparagus pest management

Quick facts

  • A good asparagus weed management program targets aggressive perennial weeds without harming crop growth.
  • No-till asparagus can improve soil health by greatly reducing soil disturbance.
  • Promoting plant vigor and harvesting spears regularly and thoroughly can reduce asparagus beetles that hatch in the spring.
  • Several key diseases impact asparagus ferns. Reduced fern health leads to yield losses in subsequent years. 

Having management strategies for weeds, insects and diseases is important when establishing an asparagus patch. There are several chemical and non-chemical options to address pest management issues in asparagus. 

Managing weeds in asparagus

Because asparagus is a perennial crop that grows from April to November, weed management is one of the most significant production challenges. The aisles between the rows can be managed with a variety of methods and tools, but managing weeds within the asparagus row requires more precision.

A good weed management program minimizes weed competition without harming crop growth. It targets aggressive perennial weeds like Canada thistle and quack grass that thrive in Minnesota asparagus beds. 

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Asparagus insect pests

Asparagus grown in Minnesota has fewer insect pests compared to many other vegetable crops. However, there are three types of insect pests to monitor and manage if needed.

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Asparagus disease management

There are five key diseases to look out for in asparagus stands in Minnesota. Several of them impact the ferns. Reduced fern health leads to yield losses in subsequent years. 

Cultural and preventative techniques should be used before resorting to fungicides. Therefore, growers should proactively manage their stands in ways that prevent diseases from occurring.

If disease breakouts occur, management does not end with the harvest season. Growers must scout asparagus stands as the ferns grow, monitoring for and managing diseases.

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Annie Klodd, Vince Fritz, Cindy Tong and Natalie Hoidal, Extension horticulture educators

Reviewed in 2020

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