I just discovered a patch of wild asparagus growing in a vacant lot next to our new house. I would like to dig it up and move it into my garden. It is actively growing and making fern. If I take a large root clump of dirt, do you think I can accomplish this task without killing back the plant. Or, would it be best for me to wait until it dies back in the fall. Right now it is in a patch of weeds and poison oak.
I have asparagus grown from crowns and from seed that is over 20 years old. The biggest influence seems to be soil conditions. We get the highest yield in full sun-sandy, loam soil. It will tolerate wet areas, clay if you provide mulch and partial shade. We live in Illinois less than a mile from what used to be an asparagus farm. It grows wild and people literally stop on the way home from work to pick it from the roadside.
I have collected the seed from the ferns and have purchased a few different varieties, distributed it around the property, in the borders where I don't mow. The patches in the higher quality soil seem to produce the largest stalks, but my wife and some of the people we give the asparagus to prefer smaller stalks. Even our dog has figured out the raw vegetable makes a good snack.
Dear schnauzerlady--Wait til it dies back to avoid shocking the plant too much. Let it grow without harvesting for a year or two to get its strength back. I did this with a struggling patch by the roadside. I washed the dirt off the root clump and found multiple crowns all intertwined with each other, so I separated them and treated each to its own growing space, and it happily multiplied 20 times over. Separating yours out from the poison oak is going to be interesting, though!
Schnauzerlady, I agree with the_naturalist, I think I would wait because the ferns will probably flop over and they shouldn't be cut off. But, if you don't mind the floppy ferns and if the wild patch is really a large one, you have nothing to lose by trying to move a clump of it now. It is still Spring and the days are not too hot and dry yet.
We just moved a reluctant couple of rhubarb plants; they looked awful at first, but are slowly coming around with help by recent rain.
And hopefully, you can pluck out all the poison oak - Good Luck!
Cfbloom, you have a very smart dog =) I've seen our dog carefully bite off raspberries, but never an asparagus spear...yet...famous last words lol.