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Nutrient management in asparagus

Quick facts

  • Soil sampling should be completed the fall before a new planting to check nutrient and pH levels.
  • Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium may need to be supplemented when planting a new asparagus crop. 
  • Organic matter can be built up in the soil by cover crops, manure and compost. 
  • Annual fertilization can help retain plant vigor for established plants. 
  • Irrigation may be necessary during the summer months to keep plants producing.

Asparagus requires adequate nutrients and water to produce a strong yield each year. This page discusses fertilizer application, use of compost and manure, micronutrients and irrigation for asparagus farmers in Minnesota.

  • Asparagus produces best in well-drained, medium-textured soils but will grow in a range of soil conditions. It will not tolerate extreme acid soil conditions and grows best at a pH of 6.5-7.0.
  • The objective during the first three years after planting is to encourage maximum fern growth so that plants build extensive storage root systems. Providing sufficient nutrients to the crowns aids in strong fern and root system development.
  • After the first three years, the goal is to maintain the health and productivity of the stand, remembering that nutrients are removed from the system each year with the harvest of spears.

Soil fertility requirements for new plantings

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Soil fertility requirements for established plantings

Once the plants are established, the primary objective is to maintain plant vigor. This does not necessarily require annual fertilization.

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

Reviewed in 2020

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