Transplanting Asparagus in the Fall: A Complete Guide

If your asparagus patch is getting too crowded, learn how to extend its life by transplanting asparagus. Use these tips to make the process easier.

It’s a lot of work to move asparagus, which is one good reason not to do it. But it’s the only way to get full production in the first spring after planting.

My original asparagus patch, for example, was started with two-year-old commercial plants. But five years later, I moved some ten-year-old crowns from a neighbor’s garden. When spring came around, these transplants—even though they had just been moved—produced more than the younger (seven-year-old) established plants. What’s more, they were free for the digging.

There is, of course, one catch: if you don’t know how to handle the scavenged plants, the only good thing that will happen is that your muscles will get stronger from all the extra gardening work. The “experts” will mostly tell you that it’s easier to buy new plants if you ask them for help.

Of course it’s easier, but you might have more time than money, you might not want to wait a few years for the payoff, or your current patch might be too crowded and not producing enough for your family to enjoy this tasty and healthy spring crop. (Just 100 grams of asparagus contains 2. the food should have at least 2 grams of protein and at least 900 units of vitamin A and beta carotene. Many people think that beta carotene could help prevent cancer. ).

Asparagus is a delicious and nutritious vegetable that can thrive in your garden for decades. However, over time asparagus beds can become overcrowded and unproductive. Transplanting asparagus in the fall is an effective way to rejuvenate your asparagus patch and prolong its productive life.

Why Transplant Asparagus in the Fall?

Fall is an ideal time for transplanting asparagus for several reasons

  • Asparagus is dormant in fall. The plants are not actively growing so the roots have time to recover before spring growth begins.

  • Cooler temperatures. Fall temperatures are cooler, putting less stress on transplanted roots. Hot summer temperatures can shock roots.

  • Adequate rainfall. Fall rains support root recovery and establishment before winter dormancy.

  • Full spring harvest. Transplants have the entire dormant season to recuperate. They can deliver a full spring harvest.

  • Avoid delayed harvest Spring transplants may delay spear production as roots recover from transplant shock

When to Transplant Asparagus in Fall

  • Northern climates – Transplant after the ferns die back with the first light frosts, generally late September to November.

  • Southern climates – Transplant after ferns yellow in late fall, generally October to December.

  • Before ground freezes – Complete transplanting before the ground freezes solid. Digging frozen soil damages roots.

Finding Asparagus Transplants

Seek out overgrown asparagus beds that need dividing:

  • Neighbors, friends, or community gardens often have beds that need thinning. Trade digging labor for some plants.

  • Abandoned homesteads or old farms may have asparagus still growing. Seek the property owner’s permission before digging.

  • Wild asparagus grows along irrigation ditches and streams. Again, be sure you have permission to dig plants.

How to Transplant Asparagus

Follow these steps for successful asparagus transplanting:

Gather Supplies

Gather these recommended tools to minimize root damage:

  • Spading fork – locates roots and lifts plants
  • Shovel – digs outer trenches
  • Garden hose – washes off clay soil
  • Mattock – pries up large root masses

Clear Dead Foliage

Locate crowns by clearing away previous year’s dried ferns and seed stalks. Crowns are at the base of stalk clusters.

Dig a Perimeter Trench

Use a spading fork to trace the roots 6-12 inches from the crown. Dig a trench around the perimeter with a shovel. Go 12 inches deep or to bottom of root mass.

Undermine the Root Mass

Tunnel under root mass with your spade or fork until you can lift the clump out whole. Some small roots will break, which is okay.

Wash and Divide Plants

Use a hose to gently wash clay soil off roots. Inspect crowns and divide into smaller clumps. Aim for 12 inches between crowns.

Amend New Bed

Prepare new bed with loose, compost-enriched soil. Dig a 12 inch trench. Place compost in bottom, cover with 6 inches of soil.

Transplant Crowns

Place crowns in trench with roots spread horizontally. Tops should be 2-3 inches below ground level. Fill in with soil, pack gently but firmly.

Water Transplants

Water transplants thoroughly after planting. Cover beds with mulch or leaves over winter in cold climates.

Caring for Transplanted Asparagus

Newly transplanted asparagus needs some care to recover fully:

  • Water regularly if rainfall is lacking after transplanting.

  • Mulch over winter to protect crowns in cold climates. Remove mulch in spring.

  • Weed carefully around new spears next spring using shallow cultivation.

  • Avoid harvesting spears the first spring. Allow plants to recover root systems.

  • Watch for crowding as plants mature. Divide again in 4-5 years if spears get smaller.

Transplanting Tips for Success

Follow these tips to ensure happy, productive asparagus transplants:

  • Transplant mature plants for fuller harvests sooner.

  • Dig deeply to get full root mass. Minimize root damage.

  • Give crowns ample space in new beds, 12-18 inches apart.

  • Plant in loose, compost-amended soil to support root recovery.

  • Water thoroughly after transplanting and as needed until winter.

  • Allow transplants to establish roots before harvesting spears.

The Rewards of Transplanted Asparagus

While it takes some effort, fall asparagus transplanting offers multiple rewards:

  • Produces a harvest sooner than new seedlings would.

  • Salvages overgrown beds that are no longer productive.

  • Multiplies existing plants to expand or replant beds.

  • Provides free plants from thinning neighbors’ patches.

  • Revitalizes old, tired asparagus beds and extends their lifespan.

With proper care taking dormant asparagus from crowded beds, dividing the roots, and replanting the crowns in prepared soil, you can rejuvenate your asparagus patch and enjoy a full spring harvest.

Finding Asparagus Transplant Candidates

You will have to find a crowded “sparrowgrass” patch if you don’t have one of your own to root plants in. Fortunately, this perennial is quite hardy, and will live for years on abandoned homesteads. If it rains enough in that area to keep old fruit trees healthy, any asparagus that was planted there probably made it too. (Remember, even abandoned farms belong to someone, so seek out permission before you start digging. ).

Asparagus that has gotten away from its garden plant can sometimes be found along streams and irrigation banks in drier parts of the country. Neighbors’ plots can often provide sources of transplants, too. A well-kept bed can produce plants for up to fifty years, but it will be crowded long before that. Actually, if you dig up an old patch and divide the plants, you’ll have enough crowns to plant an area bigger than the original patch. Plus, after being thinned out, that same area will produce more edible shoots. One of the best ways to get plants of known quality is to work with another gardener to thin and replant their patch in exchange for some of their extra plants. Take heed, though, you might wind up with more asparagus than you know what to do with. I once dug up a clump that was 18 inches across and got more than 250 plants out of it. At least we knew why it wasn’t bearing!

Asparagus can be transplanted at any time during its dormant period, as long as the ground isn’t frozen. I’ve found that transplanting plants in the early spring makes the bearing season a little later than when they were planted in the fall, even though a lot of people like to do this.

Having the right tools and being careful with them will actually make a bigger difference in your success than whether you transplant in the spring or fall. You’ll need a shovel or spade, a garden fork, and a mattock. (If you don’t have a garden fork, you can use a shovel instead, but you’ll have to be extra careful not to hurt or cut the roots’ soft tissue, which makes a long job seem like it will never end.) In addition, a fork will be better for your back because it lets some dirt slide through its tines. A crowbar can also help break up the bigger clumps, and a garden hose can help with the final step of root-tracing and dividing (as long as the soil isn’t very sandy).

Planting the Transplanted Asparagus

When your asparagus roots are cleared and separated, you’ll have to determine where to put them. People who like to plan ahead will probably wonder why this point wasn’t brought up earlier, but you won’t know how many plants you need to move until you dig them up!

transplanting asparagus in the fall

One common rule of thumb is that each person in your family should have at least six plants. (However, I think a full dozen apiece would be closer to the truth. ) Your needs will vary, of course, according to how much your clan likes asparagus. But if you want to save some, it’s best to plant more and hope that the spears that will be saved for later don’t end up on the menu for the spring luncheon.

When picking a good spot to plant, keep in mind that you might be picking from that spot for many years to come. To be honest, asparagus can grow in almost any soil type. The only plot you should avoid is one that stays too wet.

Leave 18 to 30 inches between plants in each row and 3 to 5 feet between rows. If you only have a small area to plant, try putting the root clumps in the corners of 18-inch-wide triangles. Don’t plant them any closer than that, or you’ll have to redo the whole thing in a couple of years!

In the years between your root clumps, you can grow annual vegetables if you don’t want your asparagus to take up too much space in your garden. (Carrots, turnips, spinach, radishes, beets, and kohlrabi are good choices for this. Just don’t put these “guests” so close that they get in the way of the growth of the main crop; asparagus needs a lot of space to stand. Remember that this perennial can get crowded, but you can’t separate its shoots too much because they don’t need to be pollinated by other plants. Individual asparagus plants can even be scattered throughout an orchard or in flowerbeds.

If you want to plant the roots in groups, dig an 18- to 24-inch-deep bed. Otherwise, just prepare individual holes. Next, fill the hole, trench, or bed with about 6 inches of well-rotted manure or compost. Then, cover it with clay soil. However, the final level of the ground should be about 3 inches above the asparagus crowns. The thickness of this layer of soil will depend on how big the roots are. (Small plants may only have a few thin roots that should be spread out flat on top of a thick layer of soil.) A mature one, however, may have a 6-inch root mass extending down from its crown. ).

Once the plant is in the hole, gently sift soil over it, making sure the roots stay spread out. Firmly but carefully pack the soil down, then water the asparagus, and wait. If you plant in the fall, it’s best to cover the seed with leaves or dog poop. In the spring, you should take it off. ).



Can asparagus be dug up and moved?

Asparagus can be transplanted at any time during its dormant period, as long as the ground isn’t frozen. And while many people like to undertake this task in the early spring, I’ve found that this causes the bearing season to be a bit delayed, at least as compared with that of those transplanted in the fall.

Can I plant asparagus in October?

Plant crowns Oct–Nov or Jan–Mar.

How do you split and replant asparagus?

The Asparagus Dividing Process Identify your asparagus crowns, which will delineate where to make your divisions. Each crown may have several whitish spears beginning to emerge. Roots may be very tangled, and you can tease them apart the best you can with your hands before using a sharp garden knife to separate them.

How deep to plant asparagus transplants?

Prepare the planting area as described above. Then, dig a 6-12 inch deep furrow (trench) for the crowns to be planted into. In heavy clay soils, make the furrows more shallow (6-8 inches) and deeper (10-12 inches) for very sandy soil.

How do you replant asparagus?

After you’ve dug up your plants and prepared the new location, you’re ready to replant your asparagus. First, add compost to the bottom of each of your dugouts for the new plants and then mound up some soil. Place an asparagus crown on top of a mound, allowing the roots to fall over the sides of the mound.

How to transplant asparagus?

The asparagus plant is one of those. You need to keep the soil relatively humid, watering at least twice a week. Once the soil dries, you should water again without leaving any space for drought. This is essential as you transplant the Asparagus. Enough water will help its roots establish faster, so the plant can start growing almost right away.

When can I plant asparagus?

Asparagus can be planted as soon as the ground can be worked in the spring (typically March 15-April 15). When planting, you’ll need to bust out the shovel and some elbow grease. Dig a trench that is 12-18 inches wide and six inches deep. Place the crowns 9 to 12 inches apart in the trench, making sure the bud side is up.

How do you plant asparagus?

Avoid planting where large trees or shrubs might block out sunlight. Most soil types will do, but asparagus prefers sandy, sandy loam, or loam soil with good drainage. The root systems like to expand wide and deep, so ensure your soil is loose. If you have poor soil, prepare it by working in manure and/or compost before planting.

Leave a Comment