keeping asparagus weed free

dianajoyce(z14CA)March 13, 2010

The weeds in my 5 year old asparagus bed grow faster than the asparagus. I hand weed several times a year but this takes many hours of digging and pulling. I'm 72 years old and find this very difficult. Is there an easy way to control the weeds or is it necessary to keep the bed free of weeds?

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jimster(z7a MA)

I have not tried it but corn gluten is supposed to be useful for that. Corn gluten prevents germination of seeds. It will not kill perennial weeds already established there. You will need to remove those by hand, hopefully for the last time. But it will prevent additional weeds from infesting the asparagus bed. And, of course, you can't grow any direct seeded vegetables amongst the asparagus.

Jim

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 5:06PM
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glib(5.5)

Just cover it with wood chips, Diana. 6 inches. If you mulch with other things, such as leaves, they may mat and smother the asparagus, but it will punch through chips. Straw has weed seeds, and grass clippings last only a couple of months. 6 inches of wood chips will give you two years of weeding. Of course, perennial weeds will still pop up for a while.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 5:59PM
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m_taggart(7b)

I think I'd probably use the corn gluten meal and a mulch of shredded leaves or leaf mold. The corn gluten meal will prevent weed seed germination and give a little bit of nitrogen in the spring, when your asparagus needs it. While wood chips are fairly good for keeping weeds down, I'd be worried about putting down 6 inches of it. You may have some trouble with gas exchange, nitrogen availability, and the asparagus pushing up through all that wood. One more possibility is paying a youngster a penny/nickel per weed. I'd have jumped at that when I was a kid. Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 6:51PM
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gjcore

I agree with the above that mulch is your best way to keep weeds down. Before putting mulch it would be a good idea to check your soil moisture. If it's on the dry side then give it a couple of good waterings. Now might be a good time to add a layer of compost. Then use either newspaper or cardboard as a weed barrier. Then add your mulch. I like to use multiple mulches such as straw, wood chips from the city pile, brewery grains, kitchen scraps, leaves. Basically whatever I can get for free or cheap.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 10:36PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

For hundreds of years asparagus beds were salted to prevent weeds; asparagus is one of the most salt tolerant plants known. After WW II when chemical pre-emergents became available, commercial beds stopped salting. And then fusarium crown rot began to appear. Studies done ( I think at Cornell)showed that salt prevented fusarium crown rot. It also cures it. I know this from personal experience. I now salt my bed with food grade rock salt every Feb/March, and the fusarium crown rot is gone. Not too many weeds either.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 6:25AM
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instar8(Z 5 N.IN)

Interesting! How much salt do you use?

    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 3:10PM
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brookw_gw

Salt is good for asparagus. However, if you have deer in your area, they will use your nice asparagus bed as their personal salt lick and will dig out your plants.

Brook

    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 3:44PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

I have deer but I manage them so they only enter my yard in late winter/early spring and late summer. I get them out pretty quick by baiting the single strand electric fence around the vegetable garden with peanut butter. Works great.

As to the salt, I use about 2 lbs for a row about 20 feet long.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 6:34AM
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ccecilm(6)

My a'gus has been weed free for years. I use 1 pound of non-iodized table salt per 12 foor row every July 4.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 8:30AM
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malugasmom(7)

I'm planting my first raised bed of asparagus and was wondering if weed cloth could be used? I'm a mother of 3 small children and have had much success with it on other plants, but because of how the spears come up I'm a little hesitant of using it in my asperagus bed. I read that salt would interfere with your production. Have you found that to be true? Where I'm planting at is currently very thick with weeds and grass, I don't want it to take over my bed! Thanks for any advice! Blessings, Cody

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 1:14PM
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l1a1rocker(8)

Bump

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 11:11PM
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another_buffalo(6)

Easter dinner featured wonderful fresh asparagus at my friends home. After dinner, we took a nice walk to check out the asparagus bed. It was lined with rock salt to keep the bermuda grass at bay. ANYTHING that can stop bermuda is fantastic, and salt is so simple a solution.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 12:07AM
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gardenlen(s/e qld aust)

for now a good layer of mulch is doing the job as well as keep moisture in and cut down on watering, mulch for us controls all our weeds so i'd have to say mulch, not so sure about adding in salt?

len

Here is a link that might be useful: lens bale garden

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 4:07PM
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