TexasTea
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Asparagus Crowns Did Not Send Up Shoots

I planted 16 asparagus crowns in late March and only three of them sent up shoots. Now that its mid July, should I assume that the other 13 crowns will not grow? I dug up one of the non-growing crowns and the roots seemed like they might be growing. Can the crowns remain dormant this year and then start growing again next spring?

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Lindsaylew82
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Re: Asparagus Crowns Did Not Send Up Shoots

I would just feed them now, and then in the fall, when the ferns die, remove the growth and the put a few inches of good compost on them and then a few inches of well rotted mulch. This spring, and next spring, I would just let them go strain to fern and feed them in the spring and again in summer. Repeat the compost/mulch thing every year.

If they don't come back right on schedule, wait. Sometimes I have a few that don't come up till the end of June! Yesterday, I went out to check my ferns for berries and saw 4 new large, perfect spears! It took all my will power to restrain my inner child...who was screaming for instant gratification...to keep from cutting them. I do to trust myself to go back there again for at least a week.

If they don't come up by the end of whenever your growing season is next year, they probably aren't coming up.

In the mean time, I have some questions.

What did your crowns look like when you planted them? Were the roots plump and have round tips? Was there any growth on the crowns when you got them? Were they flattened? Be real specific. Flat leathery roots on crowns are NOT a good thing, if they were like that, they PROBABLY won't grow. :(

How did you prepare your planting bed? Be very specific.

How did you plant them? What was your planting method, depth? What did you mulch them with?
Lindsay
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TexasTea
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Re: Asparagus Crowns Did Not Send Up Shoots

I purchased my crowns from a big-box store and they came in plastic bag with some potting soil. They were not growing when I purchased them. I don't recall exactly what the roots looked like but I do remember thinking the whole crown looked petty died out. I planted them 8" deep in a trench I dug and I covered them with 2-3" of a mixture of mostly potting soil , with some of our native clay soil and bagged manure mixed in. Each crown was separated by about 10" and the two parallel trenches are 4' apart. I tried to keep them moist, but there was one period where it must have gotten pretty dry because one of the shoot that has just begun to grow didn't get more that a couple inches long and then died.

Based on your suggestion, I'm going to be patient and wait until next spring before giving up on the non-growing crowns. I'll probably cover them with some more potting soil and native soil mixture at the end of the summer to protect them through the winter. Thanks for the advice!

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Lindsaylew82
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Re: Asparagus Crowns Did Not Send Up Shoots

I would also mulch them. They don't like to compete with weeds or grass. Wheat straw, pine straw or heavily rotted/sprouted hay.

If you think they looked pretty bad, the likelihood of them coming up is probably less than fair... I'm sorry if they don't. :(

If they do, it's very important for you to NOT harvest them for the next 2 years. On the third year, harvest them until the spears look like #2 pencils, then let them fern until they die in frost. Chop them down, then mulch, mulch, mulch!
Lindsay
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USDA Zone 7b/ Sunset Zone 31

tomc
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Re: Asparagus Crowns Did Not Send Up Shoots

It is possible to plant them up-side-down. When you dug up one or more of the crowns that did not grow, were there any signs of growth? If not by now, they may have died.

Yes, mulch thickly spring and fall.
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cdog222
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Re: Asparagus Crowns Did Not Send Up Shoots

Hopefully this is related enough that I am not hijacking the thread - that is certainly not my intention :wink:

I planted crowns 2 years ago, and have had a similar experience, although not quite as bad of a success rate with shoots coming up. My first year, maybe 50% of the crowns sent up decent shoots, 25% sent up little spindly things that died, and 25% did nothing. I didn't harvest any and let it all fern out. This year, about 75% of the plants sent up decent shoots, and still about 25% with none. Oddly, some crowns that sent shoots last year did not this year, and some that did not last year did this year. Overall, the plants were noticeably more vigorous than last year. In the spring, I will carefully dig around the areas that didn't do well, and if it looks like nothing is happening, I'll replace them with new crowns.

My question is related to the mulching aspect. I mulch the heck out of everything in my garden, but for some reason I feel like I am smothering the asparagus when I cover it in mulch. I probably covered my asparagus with about 8-12" or so of straw and chopped leaves last fall. I couldn't help but pull back the mulch beginning in the spring to look for any signs of shoots coming up. When I did see some, I would pull the mulch back worried that they would not be able to penetrate the layer of mulch. Should I just relax and let 'em go?

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Re: Asparagus Crowns Did Not Send Up Shoots

cdog222 wrote: I feel like I am smothering the asparagus when I cover it in mulch. I probably covered my asparagus with about 8-12" or so of straw and chopped leaves last fall. I couldn't help but pull back the mulch beginning in the spring to look for any signs of shoots coming up. When I did see some, I would pull the mulch back worried that they would not be able to penetrate the layer of mulch. Should I just relax and let 'em go?
Asparagus can (and will) grow through six inches of hot-packed macadam, it'll grow through straw without blinking.
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Lindsaylew82
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Re: Asparagus Crowns Did Not Send Up Shoots

Relax and let em grow.
Lindsay
Upstate, SC
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cdog222
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Re: Asparagus Crowns Did Not Send Up Shoots

I will admit - I had to look up macadam, at which point the hot-packed part became clear. Point well taken - I'll sit back and let them do their thing!

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