How to Manage Pests

Pests in Gardens and Landscapes

Rust—Puccinia asparagi

Asparagus rust is characterized by different color spots or pustules on spears and fern branches. Orange pustules are present on new spears in spring and brick red pustules develop on stalks, branches, and leaves in summer. Black spores are present in fall and winter. Fern yellowing and browning, defoliation, and dieback may occur.

Life cycle


Rust is most prevalent in more humid areas. Provide adequate irrigation during the spring and summer fern period so that the plants are neither over- or underwatered. Sulfur and other fungicides applied when rust first occurs are helpful in control. Cut down diseased ferns at the crown and destroy. Resistant varieties may be available.

Puccinia asparagi  on asparagus spears
Puccinia asparagi on asparagus spears

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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