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Asparagus Fern Care – Growing asparagus might be a bit of a struggle if you have never done it before. These plants aren’t like squash or strawberries in terms of appearance. No, you don’t plant them and then sit about waiting for the fruits to ripen so you can harvest them.
With asparagus, you harvest the stems of the plant and then wait for other stems to grow so that you can pick them again and repeat the process. When everything goes according to plan, the procedure is rather uncomplicated. However, when bizarre phenomena such as ferning out early begin to occur, it might be bewildering.
In this article, we’ll help you learn more about this process, what it entails, and what, if anything, you should do to mitigate its consequences. Here’s what we’ll be talking about in the next few minutes:
It is not necessarily a negative thing to be a hermit. However, if it occurs at the incorrect time of year, it may completely spoil your crop. So let’s figure out how we’re going to handle it.
What is Asparagus Fern Out?
First and foremost, we must define our terminology. Sending forth foliage, also known as ferns, is a phase of development that the asparagus plant must go through on a yearly basis in order to produce asparagus. It’s a natural and healthy component of the growth process and should not be avoided.
Allowing the plant to produce a large amount of fluffy foliage that emerges from the spears towards the conclusion of the growth season is recommended. Following that, the female plants will produce berries, and the leaves of both the male and female plants will ultimately turn brown in color.
Typically, you don’t want to pick asparagus in the first, second, or third year of growth, and occasionally even in the third year. The first few years will be spent just observing the plants as they go about their business, producing ferns and generally enjoying themselves.
Even if you do begin harvesting the spears, you want the spears that remain to begin growing foliage at the conclusion of the harvest season so that they may collect and store nutrients in the crown for the next winter months.
If you keep plucking the spears or stems and don’t let the plant fern out, it won’t come back the next year, so be patient. That foliage is required in order to provide nutrients to the plant and restore it. After the ferns have become totally brown, they may be removed. When they get to that point, they’ve completed their task.
More information on the procedure may be found in our guide on trimming back asparagus leaves at the end of the growth season. However, “ferning out” is a term used to describe an asparagus plant that is blossoming too early in the year and has to be pruned back.
Young plants begin to produce leaves as soon as the weather warms. This isn’t something to be concerned about. Harvest-able plants, on the other hand, should not begin to do so until you have had at least one opportunity to remove the stems and enjoy the crop.
Asparagus Ferning Out: What Causes It?
Remember that having ferns on your plant isn’t always a negative thing. Observing the development of these is a natural element of the plant’s life cycle.
However, when it occurs early in the year when the spears are still small, it is almost always the result of some kind of environmental situation that is less than perfect for spearing.
The most common reasons are a lack of nutrients, a lack of water, or an excessive amount of heat early in the growing season. Excessive water consumption might also be problematic.
To put it simply, harsh circumstances persuade the plant that it must act quickly and attempt to reproduce in order to avoid death. As a result, the ferns and flowers are brought forth.
Because it is not too early in the year, or because the plants have not yet reached their second year, the spears should be putting forth leaves if they are full-sized and have not yet reached their second year. Allow everything to take place and take in the breathtaking show.
According to where you live and the weather conditions in a particular year, asparagus season normally finishes around the end of June or beginning of July. This may be accelerated by dry or hot conditions.
So if your spears are starting to grow foliage and it’s already May or June, you shouldn’t be too worried about anything. However, it is too early for leaves to emerge in March or April, and it is likely that you have been experiencing some really odd weather for your location. It’s also possible that you didn’t get around to harvesting the spears quickly enough.
The moment a stem has achieved the length of its maximum potential, asparagus begins to flower and spread. Removing these spears at peak harvest season, when they are still fragile and young, helps to slow down this process by allowing them to develop more slowly.
How to Prevent Asparagus from Flowering too Soon?
Once your asparagus begins to go through this phase, there is little you can do to halt it. However, you may assist the plant by ensuring that you do all in your power to keep it healthy. That entails giving access to water and, if possible, some shade on the warmest days. If it’s very hot where you live, shade cloth is a great way to keep a plant from overheating.
In the future, make a conscious effort to keep up with the watering and feeding of your plants. This isn’t only a chore that has to be done in the early spring or something that needs to be done with great care during planting season.
Because a shortage of nutrients and water during one growing season might result in early ferning the next, you must repeat the process year after year for these perennial veggies. Plants can grow leaves even when they aren’t ready. If you keep trying to improve the conditions around it, your plant should be able to produce a crop next year.
If, on the other hand, the asparagus is beginning to develop foliage because you haven’t harvested the stems and it’s beyond harvesting time, it’s a simple matter of cutting the asparagus back.
Simply harvest the impacted stems and keep track of when the next harvest opportunity presents itself. Keep in mind that they may be difficult to work with; however, they can always be thrown in the compost pile. If you want, you can just leave it in place and let the plant take care of itself.
Asparagus Fern Care: What to Do With the Ferns?
Allowing your plant to go through the healthy, typical process of ferning out is the best course of action. Once the foliage has turned totally brown, you may either remove it and dispose of it, or compost it in a compost pile.
Also keep in mind that you will need to wait for the ferns to develop on the remaining stems at some point. Standard practice involves harvesting the biggest spears two or three times before letting the plant grow and complete its life cycle for the season.
It isn’t all bad when asparagus ferns out. It’s natural for inexperienced asparagus gardeners to become a little nervous when they see all of the frilly growth on their plants. However, it is typically not anything that you should be concerned about. As they say, it’s simply a natural part of the cycle of life.
Keep an eye on the weather and be ready to do everything you can to help your plants, like water them and give them the right amount of shade, so that they don’t fern before they should.
Furthermore, you must harvest the spears while they are still young; don’t wait until they have matured and begun to produce foliage before harvesting.
Is this your first year trying your hand at producing asparagus? Or maybe it’s the first time you’ve encountered early ferning out? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section.
We’ve put up a few more guidelines that we hope you’ll find helpful if you’re having difficulties with your asparagus.