March Featured Fact Sheet: Asparagus Rust
Asparagus rust, caused by the fungus Puccinia asparagi, is found worldwide wherever garden asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) is grown. Rust is one of the most common and damaging diseases of this crop in Illinois. All aboveground parts of the plant may become infected. If the bushy green tops of fronds are attacked for several successive years, the crown and root system is weakened, reducing both the size and the number of edible shoots (spears) the following spring. Severely diseased plants may be prematurely desiccated and killed during the summer. Damage is most severe during prolonged dry periods. Asparagus plants weakened by rust are also very susceptible to the Fusarium wilt, root rot, and decline disease.