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What is it?

Asparagus spears are misshapen or crooked.

What does it look like?

Spears may be dry, damaged, crooked or misshapen anywhere from tip to base. Sometimes spears will appear chewed or scarred. Occasionally they are discolored, being a lighter green than the straight sections of the plant.

How does it manifest?

Growing shoots are often damaged by insects such as the asparagus beetle or spotted asparagus beetle. The areas of damage where these insects have fed cause the growth pattern to be interrupted and often the spear will bend at the site of injury as new growth continues. Other injuries, which cause damaged spear to become misshapen, are wounds on the crown or windblown sand, which pelts tender shoots right from the start of growth. Occasionally early spring frosts may cause freeze damage and discoloration of the tissue. This damage quickly causes the spear to dry out in the damaged area and often crooked spears result as new growth ensues.

What can you do about it?

Controlling asparagus beetles and transplanting after danger of frost are your best bets to stave off crooked spears. Additionally, do not cultivate to within two inches of the plants to avoid injuring the crowns. To prevent sandblasting damage, use a windbreak or use tall plants and fencing to help prevent injury to the spears.