Replacing Lily of the valley with asparagus
I want to replace a large patch of lily of the valley with asparagus ASAP. Any quicker way /tools /methods to get rid of the awful lilies without destroying the bed for my asparagus? Any reason this is a terrible idea?
Wayne County Michigan
Thank you for contacting Ask an Expert. You have asked a tough question about a tough plant, Lily of the Valley. Since the plant spreads via underground rhizomes it is tough but not impossible to remove by manual methods i.e. digging. It takes time and you must get them all or be faced with periodic removal. You could use a weed killer but you would not want to plant immediately. If you go this route make sure you follow label directions.
I'm attaching a link on how to grow asparagus. To grow it well you must have it in the proper spot which includes full sun and well drained or sandy soil. Make sure your lily bed is a proper place for it.
Removing the plants will take time. Digging and smothering (with a plastic sheeting) them through several months will work. Using a weed killer now while it is actively growing will work (again follow label directions making sure it's safe for food crops)
If you want to plant asparagus this spring I'd find another spot. Use this time to kill off the lily of the valley and plant asparagus there next spring if it has the right conditions. Assuming it's a sunny spot use this year to plant annual vegetables there removing lily shoots as you find them.