Usually by now it has been wet enough my brown asparagus tops remove easily, just with a little tug. But now it looks like I'm going to have to crawl around and cut them off one by one. Should I just wait?
I cut mine in the Fall, then cover the bed with leaves until the weather warms in the early Spring. If they are still attached, I would cut them now. Mine always have seeds in the Fall and I don't want those to drop and sprout in the bed.
Thanks, I started cutting today. I've always left them through most of winter, like my father did. I don't mind the seeds because some of my best clumps originated tht way. Next fall ill try cutting sooner. After the monarchs are gone.
The main reason for leaving the tops over the winter is to act as a mulch to protect the roots. Like Carol we have already cut ours because we have a permanent mulch of wood chips. One of the reasons to mulch well is to keep the soil from warming up too quickly. Sometimes 2-3 inch asparagus spears can get caught in a late freeze and you lose quite a bit of the harvest. So if you have bare dirt, it would be good to put a mulch on.
Better not to leave the tops too long, though. I have several times seen a new sprout come up right through the hollow dead stem of last year and if it is still there, it can impede the new stem.