Asparagus ferns...trim? confine?

DixieGardner(7b)July 1, 2013

Hi, I am having a space issue with my asparagus ferns. I live in a townhouse and my gardening space is pretty limited. Now that they are ferning, they lean out over the paths around them. Could I prune them back? Just trim off the offending ferns? Maybe use twine and a stake to pull them together in the middle? They are planted in a circular bed.

Any helpful hints would be welcome.


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    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 8:14AM
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I drive tall stakes at the four corners of my asparagus row, then run wire around the bed perimeter at two separate heights to keep the ferns (mostly) growing up. My asparagus is mature, with foliage very much denser than yours. I'll try to get a photo posted. I run a row between a row of poorly pruned raspberries (which I can pick while embedded in ferns) and a row of black beans. It's one huge green mass, but I have limited deer-fenced space and great sun, soil, and water supply, so it works.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 12:54PM
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gardenlen(s/e qld aust)

i'c leave them as is.


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

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 4:44PM
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I think you have to leave the ferns. This is when they collect and store up all their energy to survive over the winter, then grow back again.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 4:50PM
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Hi DixieGardener,
I live in coastal Maine and have three year old asparagus plants. I have only a few more than you and harvested from early May to a week ago. Now I'm letting them go to ferns and they are already 5 to 6 ft. And getting dense. Last year the ferns grew to about 7 feet and were very thick. I only harvested for 3 weeks. As someone else posted, the ferns are necessary for the plants to sustain themselves for the following year. Last year I placed 4 tall stakes around the planting s and contained the ferns with 2 rows of string. Worked fine and allowed adjacent plantings to thrive.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 8:15PM
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For sure confine. You can actually plant some flowering annuals at the edges that will either hide or compliment them - giving you the choice which. I'd not recommend perennials because of the their short term hungry nature - great in some areas, but not around P hungry Asparagus. Properly planted annuals allow you flexibility and the ability to control NPK in small areas. Edit: Plant your annuals early season. Think that goes without saying, but fear some think it would be a good time now. It's not.

This post was edited by gsweater on Mon, Jul 1, 13 at 22:20

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 10:19PM
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Thanks to you all. I am going to try stakes and pull the ferns toward the center of the bed with twine. I am enjoying looking at the ferns...just not having to brush them away when I walk by, especially if they are covered with dew or a recent shower.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 2:00AM
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weedlady(Central OH 6)

Earlier posters correctly addressed the issue of not pruning the ferns since they are strengthening the roots for next year.
However, looks like you have at least 3 plants within a pretty small area. Asparagus needs a good, fertile soil to do well, so be sure to top-dress it with a good couple of inches of compost after frost (which is when you can/should remove the dry,yellowed ferns) and on top of that add 4-6" of chopped or shredded leaves. This also will serve the important task of keeping out weeds. A generous sprinkling of blood meal in early spring would not be amiss, either, to give it the nitrogen this hungry green plant requires.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 10:25PM
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Thanks, weedlady. There are 2 crowns in a 3' circle. I will have plenty of compost to add this fall, and will remember to add the bloodmeal in the spring. We mainly grow enough to munch on as we cruise the garden...kinda like the cherry tomatoes later in the summer.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 4:28AM
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