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When To Cut Asparagus Ferns?

You can find everything from the basics to the complicated about cutting asparagus fern, why it is important, and which seasons are best to cut. Some of the essential things to know about Asparagus ferns are mentioned that will help you maintain these plants.

The leaves of an Asparagus fern turn yellow if the plant has any pests – such as spider mites or mealybugs – or your plant is not getting enough sunlight. This plant’s leaves can also turn yellow if this plant has been fertilized excessively (the fix is to fertilize less frequently) or if it is getting too much or too little light. As part of a plant’s life cycle, the foliage begins to drop, turning yellow or brown when crowns become dormant.

When to cut asparagus ferns

Ideally, you would trim asparagus during fall, but it is important that you wait until all the foliage has died and turned slightly brown or yellow. By the way, you can keep picking every spring in this manner for years since asparagus plants typically last for 20 years or longer.

Plus, asparagus plants are pretty quick producers, sending out new stalks every few days for a couple of weeks during the spring. When you’re first growing asparagus, it is important to resist the temptation to harvest your spears in their first season, instead allowing the plants to grow their foliage. To maintain your plant’s health and to get them ready for its next growing season, cutting back the foliage is recommended during the fall following your plant’s second or third year.

The plants will respond to off-season pruning by producing new growth, which will be ready to be harvested after approximately 4-6 weeks. From the summer to the fall, until the winter weather sets in, those Spring buds that are not harvested will continue to grow to become tall, bushy, and fern-like plants. The young, fresh shoots that pop up early in the spring are the portion of asparagus we eat, but once the harvesting period is over, the plant produces leaves.

Autumn Months

Come fall, when the actual leafy stalks begin turning yellow, then you trim them down…and wait patiently throughout the winter for new spring crops. While cutting the living asparagus ferns earlier does not kill off next year’s crop, it does greatly diminish it. If you do not cut the asparagus plants, what happens is asparagus beetles lay eggs on these ferns, which feed off of the plant’s stalks, and will cause scarring and browning.

Autumn is the best time of year to cut asparagus ferns. This is simply because the leaves will start to turn this yellowish colour, which is the natural sign that it needs to be cut down. Knowing exactly when to cut Asparagus ferns will help your plant to grow healthy with bigger yield.

Fertilizing Asparagus Plants

Fertilizing is essential for resupplying nutrients annually, so you will have the elements needed to produce new stems whenever you do cut asparagus plants. Adding it will help to fertilize the beds, protect asparagus from pests that attack P, and set up an excellent base for next season. Allowing plants to self-reseed greatly increases chances of survival in the beds should anything occur to your asparagus beds.

When To Fertilise Asparagus Plants?

The best time to apply a natural fertilizer to asparagus plants is just before planting your new plants, but you can add it to your soil anytime. Asparagus is a hardy perennial that should be planted once the soil is able to properly prepare during spring.

Asparagus is a perennial crop, producing stalks from year to year, and will last for 10-15 years, or longer, when plants are given proper care. Here’s the tricky part about planting and growing asparagus: You do not need to harvest your asparagus stalks until year two. In most cases, you should not start picking asparagus stalks until year three after planting.

For established asparagus plants, apply well-balanced asparagus plant fertilizer prior to the sprouting of spears in early spring and a nitrogen fertilizer once you have harvested the asparagus in June. Asparagus needs to be fertilized in the spring when the sprouts appear and again immediately following the final harvest in June for older plants. Once your patches are established, it is a good idea to consider fertilizing asparagus in early spring too.

On sites with poor soil, mix manure, compost, and/or green manure cover crops into the soil before planting asparagus, just as with planting asparagus for the first time (above), adding compost is critical for providing nutrients for your asparagus crown. To fertilize asparagus, apply a generous layer of compost or prepared fertilizer over the entire planting area, with an emphasis on areas surrounding the individual plants or crowns.

Late Summer, Early Autumn

Plant fertilization is best done late in summer/early fall, and, again, compost is all that is needed. If you would rather use organic fertilizer on asparagus plants for soil amendment, different types of organic matter are ideal for adding to garden soil in order to build a rich foundation to allow the roots of plants to grow. When you prepare your beds, add compost and a general-purpose organic fertilizer in a trench, along with rock phosphate, a natural mineral powder that encourages root growth.

Pour a natural asparagus fertilizer into the soil around the plants, or use it as a foliar spray to nourish your plants and keep the asparagus beetles and other pests at bay. While a spring top-dressing will nourish and add organic matter to your asparagus plot, you will have better results if you feed it gently early in the spring and again mid-summer with an organic high-phosphorus fertilizer such as fish meal, which has an average N-P-K ratio of 8-12-2. In addition to planting in soil that is free from weeds, maintaining a tillage boundary around the asparagus planting may help prevent weeds from coming from outside the patch to migrate inside the planting.

Foliage will grow up to a height of 5 to 6 feet in summer, so locate the asparagus bed in a location that does not shade smaller plants. Mature asparagus can grow a full 5 feet tall or more, making it an excellent choice for the center layer of a mixed perennial planting. Your asparagus sprouts might not grow large enough for a three-year harvest, but you do want to get your beds ready for the best results.

How To Cut Asparagus Ferns?

You can trim an asparagus fern; this helps in the looks, and it may also benefit the plants, so let us dive right in and look at pruning the fern. Whether you should trim an Asparagus Fern or not is going to depend on what you are trying to get out of the plant, how it is growing, how big the plant is, and other factors. While cutting live Asparagus Ferns very early in the season does not kill off your harvest next year, it does greatly reduce its yield.

Does asparagus regrow?

Yes, asparagus does regrow once it is cut, and that is because perennial plants frequently come back year after year. Ideally, you would trim asparagus in the fall, but it is important to wait until all of the foliage has died down and turned brown or yellow. When growing asparagus, it is vital to resist the temptation to pick off the stalks in the first few seasons; instead, allow the plants to grow their foliage.

To maintain your plant’s health and to get them ready for its next growing season, cutting back the foliage is recommended during the fall following your plant’s second or third year. Many gardeners, including those from Peaceful Valley Farm and Garden Supply (here’s their video), recommend cutting back asparagus in late fall and covering the plants with straw to keep them plants protected from freezing temperatures. At this time of the season, gardeners who are growing asparagus might wonder when to trim the tall, spindly stalks that sprouted from their asparagus plants.

Asparagus grown in containers

For those starting out in container gardening, prepare to grow plants that may reach more than five feet in height–most do not realize these small spears will turn into huge ferns, essential to harvesting and saving enough energy for producing a respectable harvest of stalks next year. If you do not trim your asparagus plants, what happens is asparagus beetles lay eggs in these ferns, which will feed off of the plant’s stalks and cause scarring and browning. Cutting helps to keep the asparagus beetles, which can make a winter home in those ferns, at bay.

Remove helps control asparagus beetles that will otherwise be wintering in the ferns and damaging next years sprouts. Add will help fertilize the beds, protect the asparagus from pests, and set up an excellent base for next season. Fertilizing is essential for replenishing nutrients annually so that the elements needed to produce new asparagus are available whenever the asparagus plants are pruned.

When cutting the asparagus ferns back to ground level, add mulch to help resist changes in the temperature of the soil or weeds. In spring, I trim my asparagus leaves, then add approximately 1 inch of compost to each bed. When you trim off dead leaves at the top, you can expect the plants to regrow healthier, with a few new leaves sprouting.

What Is The Best Fertilizer For Asparagus?

Knowing when to cut asparagus ferns is not the only method used to help your plant grow. Using fertilisers can help your asparagus plant to continue growing at a steady rate. The fertilizer we recommend for asparagus is the Smart-Release Flower & Vegetable plant food from Osmocote. Using a fertilizer that is high in phosphorus and potassium helps asparagus grow stronger roots and stems.

Asparagus will benefit from added compost and fertilizer added to the soil when you plant it. After year three, you might not need to fertilize your twice per year for your asparagus, depending on your soil conditions and if you mulch your soil regularly with compost or manure that has been turned. If your asparagus grows on rich soil or if you periodically fertilize with compost or well-rotted manure, then additional fertilizer may not be necessary.

On sites with poor soil, mix manure, compost, and/or green cover crops into the soil before planting asparagus. This is because, regardless of whether you get a one-year-old asparagus plant or an established one, it needs well-drained, loose, nitrogen-rich soil. While new asparagus beds benefit from fertilizing, established beds might not need to be fertilized annually.

Stages of fertilising

Generally, you will want to keep fertilization at the same level as when your plants were in their earliest stages. At that stage, you will want to be fertilizing your soil to make sure that your plants are getting the nutrients they need in order to thrive. This will provide the source of nutrition for roots to nourish, grow, and support a healthy crown, strengthening your asparagus beds for the remainder of the year.

This step requires that you prepare the asparagus beds, which is the soil in which the asparagus will be planted. What you will love about this gardening fertilizer is that it is made in the U.S.A. and has all 15 nutrients your asparagus will need. It is one of the best garden fertilizers to give continuous micronutrients that help asparagus grow stronger and produce more. Also, remember when to cut the asparagus fern, so the plant can continue to grow.

How to fertilise asparagus?

We recommend using this fertilizer if you have a relatively small asparagus planting because you will have to use a watering can to dissolve the concentrate and sprinkle it over the plants. The 18% calcium in Down To Earths Rock Phosphate will make sure that your asparagus gets the long-term benefits of phosphate buildup in your soil, which will result in increased phosphorus. If you have soil with a low amount of calcium, the Wonder-Gro All-Purpose Plant Food will help replenish it to the desired levels.

If you discover that your soil is lacking nutrients following a soil test — or you simply want to give asparagus that extra kick it might need to get it to that next level — a good fertilizer is a must. To naturally boost the fertility of your soil, a planted asparagus bed could be seeded with low-growing, nitrogen-fixing cover crops such as Crimson Clover and interplanted with phosphorus bio accumulators such as Yarrow. While a spring top-dressing will nourish and add organic matter to your asparagus patch, you will have better results if you feed it gently early in the spring and again mid-summer with a high-phosphorus organic fertilizer, such as fishmeal, that has an average N-P-K ratio of 8-12-2.


Well, there you have it. Everything you need to know on when to cut asparagus ferns. Remember that when cutting Asparagus ferns in the autumn months, this will help to keep your asparagus healthy and produce a bigger yield for the next harvest season.

Remember not only when to cut asparagus ferns, but also to add a suitable fertilizer to help boost the nutrients your plant gets throughout its growing stages.

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