How to Kill Asparagus Fern

The asparagus fern is a type of South African perennial that is common throughout North America as both a container plant and a ground cover. It is grown for its small berries and bushy fronds. The fern can become established in your garden and may turn invasive if not managed properly. Manage and kill asparagus fern before it becomes too difficult to control.

Things You'll Need

  • Spade
  • Lawn mower
  • Herbicide
  • Plastic tarp
  • Bricks or rocks

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Use a spade and dig up the asparagus fern. This option is best for small clumps. Lay the uprooted plants in the sun to kill them. Avoid dropping the fern's berries if it has any; these will readily germinate into new asparagus ferns.

Mow the asparagus fern. This technique is best for asparagus ferns that are invading a pasture or lawn. Mow to a height of one to two inches and maintain this height. The ferns will starve without foliage and will die within three to four weeks.

Spray the asparagus fern with a glyphosate-based systemic herbicide such as Roundup. This method is ideal for large fern populations. Mist all of the asparagus fern's fronds with the herbicide. For best results, spray during a dry period. The asparagus will turn yellow and die within 14 days.

Solarize the asparagus fern as an alternative to spraying herbicide. This option takes eight to 10 weeks to effectively kill the fern but doesn't rely on toxic herbicides. Cover the asparagus fern with plastic tarp and weigh down the tarp's edges with rocks or bricks. The sun's rays will bake the plant and kill it.

Tips & Warnings

  • Asparagus ferns can be slightly prickly, and you may wish to wear gloves when handling the plant.

References

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