Efficacy of a Zero-Tillage Cultural System for Asparagus Produced From Seed and Crowns1

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
Author: A. R. Putnam1
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  • 1 Michigan State University, East Lansing


Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis L. Cv. Cal. 711) grown both from seed and 1-year old crowns was maintained in a zero-tillage cultural system for 4 years and compared with that grown in a conventional tillage system. In the first 3 harvest seasons, yields of asparagus produced from crowns were increased 27% in the zero-tillage system. Asparagus from seed yielded as much as that from crowns after the third year, but spear size was appreciably smaller. Paraquat (1,1’-dimethyl-4,4’-bipyridinium ion) in combination with either simazine (2-chloro-4,6-bis(ethylamino)-s-triazine), monuron (3-(P-chlorophenyl)-1,1-dimethylurea), or terbacil (3-tert-butyl-5-chloro-6-methyluracil) provided excellent weed control during each growing season without injuring asparagus. Rotary chopping was a satisfactory method for returning mature brush to the soil. Additional advantages of zero-tillage were a reduction in volunteer asparagus seedlings, improved late season weed control, and less mechanical injury to crowns and buds. This cultural system provided excellent weed control in fields produced by direct seeding where crown depth was shallow and tillage impractical.

Contributor Notes

Received for publication March 22, 1972. Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station Journal Article No. 5866.

The author gratefully acknowledges the assistance of F. D. Hess, A. Paul Love, and Gregory Pagano. The study was supported in part by a grant from the Chevron Chemical Company, Ortho Division.