Late sprouts of asparagus look odd...


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I've got several asparagus plants that I started from seed and they've just spent their second year in the raised bed I built for them. They're my 'babies' and I made a very special soil for them that was rich in organic matter but I have also been mulching them to keep the weeds at bay. Recently, I noticed that the new shoots that came out later in the year (the photos below are from 9/22) are very stunted and dense, as if dwarfed by something. I am not picking the shoots yet, figured I'd let it grow another year before trying to harvest, but I'm wondering if these stunted shoots are indicative of something I should address?

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Because there was so much organic in the original soil, the level of the soil in the raised bed dropped down a few inches. I've been adding grass clippings and leaves to build the level back up and keep the plants mulched, but I am wondering if I am mulching too heavily (3" currently) and if that is oxygen starving the roots? Or perhaps these shoots are stunted because they've come up so late in the year? Is there a pathogen that could cause this type of shoot? I just don't know. I hope someone else here does.
 
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@Arielphf it looks like you might be trying to share images from a private account, which is why we can't see them. If you have the images on your PC, then click on the 'Upload a file' button to add them to your post :)
 
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Hi arielphf, just wanted to say my asparagus bed will be going into its fourth year in spring and I've mulched it each fall with a layer of compost and about 3" of mulch, same as you. And mine has been coming up fine so I don't *think* you are mulching too heavily.
 
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Yep, that looks good, don't cut the growth down, let it take the nutrient from it back into the crowns :)
 
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Your asparagus looks fine! As Zigs advised, leave the fronds to feed the crowns. We leave the fronds until they turn brown, then cut them down and use them as mulch for the asparagus bed.
Holding off harvesting until the third year is difficult, darn near impossible, but it will pay off in the long run. Anticipation is two-thirds of enjoyment!
 
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And don't let a flower arranger anywhere near them

Lol. :LOL:

I've read that leaving the cut fronds in place over winter can harbor asparagus beetles...? I cut mine back after they're all yellow but discard them.
 
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Yes, I'd like to cut them back, but mine are still green! We're having 70° weather in November here in PA! It is downright weird!

The original picture was trying to showcase some late emerging fronds that were very densely packed and looked stunted. I wasn't sure if they were doing that because it was already so late in the year, or if my mulching so heavy might have harmed the plants. Since taking this picture, I seemed to have gotten attacked by something that looks like an armyworm! They sure made quick work of the dense fronds - :(. Also found something else on the asparagus that the nice fellow Chuck identified as ladybeetle larvae. I guess I don't have to worry about them too much - they may be invasive, but I think they still eat aphids, right?
 
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