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Asparagus Plants Have Fast-Growing, Robust Root Systems
Asparagus plants have some pretty intense root systems, are water loving, and, once established, are drought tolerant. For new fruit trees with slow-growing or thin roots, the thicker, faster-growing roots of the asparagus plant can make space in heavy, clay soils by cracking a path for the roots of fruit trees to follow. This helps fruit trees to put down more roots, further into the soil, making them more drought-tolerant, and giving them more access to nutrients with their root systems.
Because asparagus plants create a root system that actually runs a bit in the ground, there is no fear of planting it too closely to your new fruit trees as it will move around a bit to settle into a spot that it really thrive in.
When Asparagus Plants “Fern Out” For the Summer, They Cast A Delicate Shade
Although many fruit trees are described as being for “full sun”, young fruit trees are very prone to getting sunburn. You can find evidence of this from places on their tender trunks where there are dark spots and also by crunchy, dark leaves.
Because asparagus is a relatively fast-growing plant, especially when given plenty of soil nutrients, it can grow taller than whichever fruit tree it is paired with and give it some protection from the sun during the hot summer months. Since asparagus also spreads from the roots creating a denser fern-umbrella, you can expect it to provide a soft shield for fruit trees under 5 feet tall.
Asparagus Can Grow In Sun Or Shade
Asparagus is the sort of plant that plays “follow the sun”, so even when growing in the shade of a fruit tree, it will send out more asparagus spears in a place where there is more sunlight or grow tall, reaching up, through whatever (fruit) tree it is planted under to fern out and dance in the wind.
It will also help protect the ground from the direct rays of the summer sun, preventing the soil from drying out and therefore, keeping the soil more moist which reduces the need for watering or irrigation.
Asparagus Will Shade Out Weeds and Grass That Would Otherwise Compete With Your Fruit Trees
One of the most useful things about asparagus that must not be underestimated is its power to add a quick growing shade to the ground. As asparagus is classified as an edible grass, it fills the food forest or edible landscape layer for herbaceous, grass-like plants while also providing an edible harvest.
Asparagus does all of that while shading out annoying and aggressive weedy grasses that would otherwise compete with your fruit trees for water and nutrients while reducing your other harvests. The shade that asparagus provides to the ground can also act as a living mulch.
Asparagus will grow through mulch
Asparagus is truly amazing in that even if you mulch your trees heavily, it will push its way through that layer of mulch to emerge again in spring and give you delicious, tender asparagus spears that may actually be white due to growing under the mulch without sunlight.
But do not be alarmed, these white asparagus spears are considered a delicacy and are even more tender than green asparagus and will also turn green in a few days after they receive some sunlight and can properly complete photosynthesis.
This ability to survive even the toughest of environments makes asparagus an excellent choice of perennial for starting a food forest or edible landscape from scratch.