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From: Beth Rempe
Champaign, IL
I have a small asparagus patch in my garden with about 8 crowns. I have had problems in the past with voles eating the roots, so I had replaced some of the crowns last year. This year only one of the older crowns produced shoots, and a couple of the places where I had put in crowns last year there has been a needle-thin shoot or two. Assuming that voles had gotten the others I bought some fresh crowns, but when I went to dig up one of the spaces where I had a crown previously it was just chock full of living roots- a thick layer of them, and no sign of tunneling from voles. My questions are:

- Was there a viable crown there? If so, why didn't anything come up?

- Should I plant a new crown in that hole, or will all the roots systems already there choke it? (I dug a lot of root out but the roots clearly extend hortizontally and below the hole.)

- How far do asparagus roots extend from the original crowns?

Extension Message
From: James Schmidt
Extension Specialist, Home Horticulture/4-H
Department of Crop Sciences
If there was a crown there, you would've seen it, so I don' think there was one, especially since the others produced shoots but this one did not. If you clear out the roots that are there, to the best you can, you should be able to plant there. Aparagus plants put on quite an extensive root system. They are usually planted the 6 inch depth because as they grow, they continue to produce roots upwards.

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