Asparagus Disaster

During April and early May I enjoyed asparagus from an apparently healthy bed that I planted eight years ago. On May 15, I stopped cutting and left for a YangXi River Cruise in China. When I returned on June 1, I found my asparagus had grown to a height of six feet and was totally defoliated. The stalks were green, but the fern-like limbs were brown. I observed quite a substantial infestation of a dark colored insect about 1 cm long. Has my asparagus been struck by a blight or is this the work of the insects observed? I intend to cut the bed back to the ground, fertilize and see what happens. Any insights on what happened and what should be done? I live in Southwest Virginia. The weather while I was gone was apparently pretty wet. The rest of the gardent did great.
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Jerome R. Long said:

These are the larvae of the asparagus beetle.
http://www.oznet.ksu.edu/dp_hfrr/extensn/problems/asparagu.htm

The ferns aren't diseased. I wouldn't remove any parts that are still green as the plant still has use for them. It will throw up new spears.
Strip off any larvae still feeding on the plants (or use a pesticide to kill them if that's what you prefer). You can use a whisk broom to brush them off.
Wasps are natural predators of the asparagus beetle. There is a small wasp which parasitized the larvae. Paper wasps will feed on larvae and carry them off to their nest. It is also claimed that lady bugs will feed on the eggs and young larvae.
Organic controls: Adult asparagus beetles can be knocked off the growing ferns into a bucket of soapy water.
Make sure the plants have enough phosphorous. Dust plants with colloidal rock phosphate or bone meal.
Fall cleanup is essential. Remove all dead fronds and lightly cultivate around the base of the plants (don't disturb the crowns or roots).
Neem extract.
Pyrethrin sprays.
--
Pat in Plymouth MI ('someplace.net' is comcast)

Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced.
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snipped-for-privacy@someplace.net.net (Pat Kiewicz) wrote in message

It is very possible that without Pat edible gardening in the US would come to an end (to be added to the FAQ).
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simy1 said:

If that were true, I should be able to keep my own asparagus thriving. Which I can't. I've got one good plant left. They go to sleep in the fall and just don't wake up.
Some pests I know a lot about because I've seen them often...
I'll always remember the people who helped me learn about gardening when I first came online on the Prodigy service years ago. I'm standing on the shoulders of giants, as it were. (Special thanks to Bargyla Rateaver.)
And we all owe thanks to Scott Jung, who did the hard work of moving r.g.e through the process of becoming a Usenet group.
--
Pat in Plymouth MI ('someplace.net' is comcast)

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Pat Kiewicz wrote:

...snippage... oh, I mean pruning...

Pat, you *are* helpful in the spirit of Kay Klier, who has apparently gone on to a real life (is there life beyond USENET?).
While I'm reminiscing, I think my two favorite threads here (actually, rec.gardens before the split) were "Moron growing Basil" and "Help with Golfers in garden". The latter had my side splitting from all the witty advice.
Oh, and to stay on-topic, I agree with the asparagus beetle advice. It happened to mine the 2nd year and they mostly recovered tho I did lose a few. I managed to keep them at bay in subsequent years with insecticidal soap.
Mary
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says...

        THANK YOU

them
and
around
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