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Problem
(factsheet)
Plant NameTypeDescription 
RustAsparagusDiseaseAsparagus rust is a fungal disease affecting the spears and foliage. Early symptoms include the development of oval yellow spots on the spears. These spots contain the fruiting bodies of the fungus, which are the source of infection for new shoots. Later in the summer, symptoms appear on stems and foliage, which develop blister-like pustules. The pustules break open to reveal red-brown masses of powdery spores. In late summer and fall, these spores may appear dark brown to black in color. Onions and related species (Allium sp.) are also attacked. This fungus overwinters on old asparagus stems. Since the fungus develops on spears in the spring, harvesting the spears breaks the life cycle of the fungus. Moisture is required for infection to occur.
Asparagus aphidAsparagusInsectAsparagus aphids are small (1/16"), powdery gray to gray-green insects. They may be winged or wingless. They feed in colonies on the ferns of asparagus and are typically found at the base of leaves. Aphid feeding causes severe stunting of the foliage and gives fronds a tufted, blue-gray appearance. Shoots of mature plants are severely stunted. Seedling plants may be killed. Asparagus aphids produce honeydew, a sweet, sticky material which may attract ants or become covered with a growth of dark sooty mold. The aphids overwinter as eggs, which are laid on the ferns in the fall as the ferns begin to yellow. The eggs drop to the ground during the winter.
Asparagus beetleAsparagusInsectTwo species of beetles feed on asparagus. Both are about 1/4" long. The asparagus beetle is blue-black, with yellow and red markings. The overwintering adult beetles feed on emerging spears in the spring, sometimes causing distortion of the spears. The females lay dark brown eggs on the foliage. The larvae are dark gray or greenish, with dark heads. They are up to 1/2" long and feed on the foliage. The spotted asparagus beetle is orange to reddish with black spots on the back. The adults feed on foliage, where the females lay greenish eggs. The larvae are orange and feed inside the berries.
Cutworms and armywormsAsparagusInsectCutworms and armyworms are the larvae of noctuid moths. These common moths are medium-sized with fairly dull coloration. The gray to tan caterpillars are hairless, nocturnal, and generally spotted, striped, or otherwise marked. They may be 1/4" to 1" in length and tend to curl up when disturbed. Cutworms may climb up and feed on the growing spears of asparagus. They also eat through stems of asparagus and many other plants, cutting them off at ground level. While armyworms typically feed during the day, cutworms spend the day just beneath the soil surface or under debris near the host. They usually feed at night, so it is advisable to search for them with a flashlight in the dark. Weeds are their primary food source.