Cutting Asparagus Foliage Back In Autumn

Water Droplets On Asparagus Foliage
asparagus foliage 1
(Image credit: LukeLuke68)

Growing and harvesting asparagus is a gardening challenge that requires patience and a little extra care to get started. One of the things that are important to asparagus care is preparing the asparagus beds for autumn and cutting the asparagus back.

When to Cut Asparagus Back

Ideally, asparagus should be cut back in the fall but it is important that you wait until all of the foliage has died back and turned brown or yellow. This will normally happen after the first frost, but it can happen without frost in areas that do not receive frost. Once all of the foliage has died, cut the asparagus down to about 2 inches (5 cm.) above the ground.

Why You Should Be Cutting Asparagus Back

It is a commonly held belief that cutting asparagus in the autumn will help to produce better quality spears the next year. This belief may or may not be true, but it could be tied to the fact that removing the old foliage helps to keep the asparagus beetle from overwintering in the bed. Cutting asparagus back also helps to reduce the chances of disease and other pests.

Other Autumn Asparagus Care

Once you have cut the asparagus back, add several inches (10 cm.) of mulch to your asparagus bed. This will help to smother the weeds in the bed and will help fertilize the bed for next year. Compost or well-rotted manure makes an excellent mulch for asparagus in autumn. The above tips for autumn asparagus care apply to asparagus beds that are newly planted or well-established.

Heather Rhoades
Founder of Gardening Know How

Heather Rhoades founded Gardening Know How in 2007. She holds degrees from Cleveland State University and Northern Kentucky University. She is an avid gardener with a passion for community, and is a recipient of the Master Gardeners of Ohio Lifetime Achievement Award.