Asparagus Murder

by Ivory Soap on 06/11/2014

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My landscape guy cleaned out my asparagus beds.   Considering the below picture more closely resembles my bed last year….


It’s a bit of a travesty.  See below.
IMG_1006I think two out of six mature plants survived.  They used to run in a hedge the length of my fence.  I’ve had them longer than two of my kids….

So how do you kill an asparagus bed?  Chop all the stalks off to the ground in mid-spring.  Each stalk only comes back until it’s harvested.  That’s why do you never harvest ALL of the stalks in a year.  The plant can’t make any of it’s own food and generate more stalks without SOMETHING on which to do a bit of photosynthesis.  The only survivors are those that showed up late to the sprouting party and missed the beheading…

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Wordsmythe39 June 11, 2014 at 3:27 am

Don’t worry, it is still early enough in the growing season for asparagus.

The picking season is almost over (ending July 1st) so just let the shoots grow for the rest of the year and don’t harvest anything. The whole growing season is still left for it to recover from this incident.

The pictures also look like it might be heavily mulched. I would scrape back some of the mulch to allow the shoots to get above the ground with the minimum of interference. You can always replace the mulch around the sprouted tops later. Also remove any landscaping felt that might be under the mulch…. THAT will kill the asparagus plans by not letting them ever sprout.

All is not lost!

Star June 11, 2014 at 5:42 am

This is so sad! Reminds me when they clear cut forests – such a tragedy.

Mary@Back to the Basics! June 11, 2014 at 6:05 am

Oh no!!! Poor asparagus!

MyMenagerie June 11, 2014 at 6:10 am

I am so sorry to hear that! Thankfully a few survived and hopefully will thrive. Best wishes on a new asparagus crop soon!

Debbie June 11, 2014 at 6:17 am

Good to know. We have had asparagus for many years.

Abby June 11, 2014 at 6:37 am

I’m assuming this was a mistake by the landscaping guy.. but holy cow…. why wouldn’t you ask?!?

This is why we prefer to manage our own yard. We’ve got so much stuff in weird places that has to be mowed around and those landscaping guys don’t care about gardens.. they’ll just mow right over them.

gillian June 12, 2014 at 3:22 am

Don’t worry! There is still hope. Our asparagus row got weed wacked and rototilled the summer we had a fence put up and a garden plot prepped. It all came back the following year… We now put up orange caution flags in the yard when we hire people, and even that doesn’t always work.

Jenna June 12, 2014 at 5:59 am

Time to behead the landscape guy!

Patricia June 12, 2014 at 7:30 am

OMG! – OFF with his head!
…and not to worry.

Nature is very resilient and asparagus, especially so.
Your asparagus will come back with a vengeance
and will haunt the landscaper in his dreams… nightmares!
Our asparagus has its own aisle with fencing on both sides…
and I REALLY LIKE the hedge on fence idea.

Sallie June 12, 2014 at 10:22 am

There is a transformation that comes over a man when he gets a weed whacker in his hands. I once hisd my husband weed trimmer for 3 months. No excuses for this man. I would suggest that you put some sort of border around this bed. Electrafied wire works for me. Anyway, Something to make it look more like a formal flower bed. Maybe?

Olivia June 12, 2014 at 11:30 am

Just bought my first asparagus roots. Found them at Lowe’s half price in a plastic bag. I put water in the bags because they looked dead. The next day or two I just poked them in an area that had been home to some tomato plants. Forgot about them, thinking they were too dead to come back. Now I have them up about two feet in the middle of my raised bed. When I first saw them, I came close to pulling them up thinking they were weeds.
I am hoping they will grow here……but this bed does have something called “wilt” in the soil and can’t grow tomatoes there ever again……so says this old gardening man. Maybe the asparagus will do ok, and being a 8×4 raised bed, they will be in a

CarmenO June 12, 2014 at 12:36 pm

That’s not something I have to worry about. I certainly can’t afford a landscape guy.

Rebecca June 12, 2014 at 1:58 pm

I live in foothills of the Sierra Nevadas. End of May finished with spring harvest and added about 3″ of compost. Let the fronds grow to around 3 ft then cut them down. I now have another harvest of asparagus coming on, it is June 12. Will harvest for 2 weeks then let fronds grow for a month. Continue this way until frost hits. After each harvest add compost and straw for mulch. My area has seen 80 to 95 degree weather since May 1 and 3 days of triple digits back-to-back. The plant is a pretty hardy perennial in raised bed with watering every 3 days.
It is important that, from what I have read, the fronds are not composted but put in the trash. A beetle over winters in the fronds. They could be composted until the weather cools but not taking the chance.
Love your blog…

pamela June 12, 2014 at 4:30 pm

So very sorry. I agree that there’s a strong likelihood that they’re not ‘destroyed’. I ask myself, “how *good* is a landscaper who doesn’t recognize plants of value?” Reminds me of a tragic-plant story from years ago illustrating why you NEVER want to remove plant life without permission. A couple in England rented out their home (to Americans I think!) and when the hosts returned, the guests touted their thorough job of completely weeding the overrun dandilions in the yard. As it turns out, the dandilion bed was nearly a century old and a variety that they actively cultivated and marketed for medicinal purposes. Just sayin’

Carol MCCUISH June 12, 2014 at 6:53 pm

Oh my gosh , this is a travesty , poor guy must feel awful:(

D June 21, 2014 at 11:00 pm

pamela….while I’m horrified at the angst the weeding must have caused I have to wonder who leaves such a treasure to renters without mentioning it and explaining its care.

Daisy June 22, 2014 at 9:45 am

D–I will respond to your comment of behalf of Deanna, the “who” in this case, who was at the time expecting her fifth child, homeschooling the other four, and if that were not enough, as we all do, tending to responsibilities at work, church, within her extended family, and community. She needed a bit of outside help, very occasionally, to keep the yard under control, and assumed he would check with her before removing what seems to me would appear to be a very prominent feature of the landscape. She does not, however, blame him for this gaffe, but takes full responsibility for the omission in her instructions.
Thank you for your comment,

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