Winterizing Asparagus Plants

Getting asparagus plants ready for winter

By: Sandy Feather ©2014
Penn State Extension

Q. I planted asparagus this spring and would like to know how to prepare the bed for winter. When should I fertilize them?

A. Allowing the fronds to grow through the summer provides carbohydrates that nourish the crowns through the process of photosynthesis. Let them to grow until they take on their attractive golden fall color, and then cut them back to within an inch or two of the ground. It is good practice to mulch the bed with several inches of clean oat straw after the ground freezes.

asparagus spears

Mulch helps minimize frost heaving of the crowns, and can be left in place to maintain soil moisture, moderate soil temperature, and help keep weeds down during next year’s growing season.


When to fertilize asparagus

Asparagus is best fertilized in spring when harvest time ends. Fertilization should be based on soil test results. Soil test kits are available from your local Penn State Cooperative Extension office. In Allegheny County, soil test kits are $12 for the first kit and $9 for additional kits ordered at the same time. They come with complete information for taking representative samples and understanding your soil test results. You can send a check for the cost of the number of kits you want to Penn State Extension, Soil Test Kits, 400 N. Lexington St., Pittsburgh 15208. Make checks payable to Penn State Extension.

Soil Test

Once you purchase the kit, take the sample and fill out the paperwork, and then send it to Penn State’s Agricultural Analytical Laboratory. The fee covers the cost of the kit and the actual testing. Your only other cost is the postage to send it to the university. The kit is a self-contained mailer with the lab’s address pre-printed on it. Once asparagus is established, nitrogen is the main nutrient that has to be applied annually.


Asparagus beetles

Composting for the garden

Overwintering Flower Bulbs


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