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What is it?

This wilt disease is caused by one of several fungi of the fusarium species in asparagus plants.

What does it look like?

Yellowing begins on the shoots, which then turn a dingy brown and begin to wilt. Often pink and cottony looking or whitish strands will appear on the undersides of leaf scales on plants. Full grown plants have the biggest problem with severe wilting, it is not as severe in younger shoots. Root systems of the plants will be partially or totally reddish upon digging them up. Eventually the plant will die from the spread of the fungus.

How does it manifest?

Fungi of this species penetrate plant roots and spread up into the stems and leaves via the water conducting vessels in the plant. Vessels become plugged and damaged and water to the plants becomes blocked causing wilt to occur. Fusarium wilt in asparagus plants favors temperatures between 75┬░ and 80┬░especially weather that is wet. The disease is also spread by contaminated seeds, soil, plants and equipment and as such it often enters a new plant through the roots when transplanting. The fungi of fusarium wilt live on organic matter in the soil and so can be spread by anything that comes in contact with it.

What can you do about it?

Any plants, which show signs of infection, must be destroyed. No chemical control is available. Your best bet once plants become infected is to plant new plants the following year in soil that has not been infected and where asparagus has not been previously planted for a term of 2 to 4 years. If you choose to plant in infected soil, first fumigate the soil with meta-sodium two to three weeks prior to planting.