Cause Many factors, including: allelopathic residues, acidic soils, soil compaction, winter crown injury, insects, weeds, and several diseases, can contribute to decline of asparagus plants. The diseases that have been implicated include Fusarium crown and root rot, rust, Stemphylium purple spot, and a few viruses.
Symptoms A slow productivity decline in old asparagus plantings. This includes a reduction in spear size and numbers and eventual death of the crown. The problem usually appears once seasonal harvest begins.
- Correct any soil-related problems such as pH and compaction before planting.
- Plant certified-virus-free seed in fields that have not been planted to asparagus before.
- Manage the major insect, disease, and weed pests affecting asparagus.
Reference Elmer, W.H., Johnson, D.A., and Mink, G.I. 1996. Epidemiology and management of the diseases causal to asparagus decline. Plant Disease 80:117-125.