Divide and Conquer!

Posted by Growing Solutions

Daylily

Time to divide: After the plant has been in the ground 4 to 5 years flowering will diminish if they are not divided. Best times are either early spring, when they leaves first emerge or shortly after they have finished blooming.

Foliage – If dividing after blooming, cut the foliage down by half.

 

Removal –Using a shovel, loosen the soil by wiggling the shovel side- to- side while circling the plant about 6” from the outer edge of the plant. Once you have circled the plant completely use the shovel to dig a little deeper. Observe and feel for the tuberous roots of the plant, do your best not to cut through them as you dig. Gently pry the plant out of the ground.

Division – Put the dug up daylily on the lawn area or a tarp. For plants in the ground only 3-4 years use your hands and a hori knife, to separate the tuberous roots. If the plant has been in the ground for a longer period using two pitch forks split the plant will result in less damage to the roots.  Split the plants into pieces with 4 to 5 fans of foliage.

Re-Planting – Now is the time to improve that soil! Clean the hole you dug the daylily up from, remove any broken roots, leaf litter and stones. Add compost. Re-plant your daylily. Take note of the base of the foliage, it will show you how deep to plant. The lighter green at the base of the stem should be just under the soil surface.

Transplanting – Now is the time to spread your daylily around your garden or pot it up as a gift for a fellow gardener.

FOR ALL DIVISIONS – do this for all plants you divide

Mulch – Don’t forget to mulch the area of soil you disturbed – weeds will seize the opportunity to get a foot hold.

Water – As soon as you have finished mulching. Remember, these are not water lilies so don’t flood the hole. Add a little water, wait a few minutes, water again. Then… water at least once a week, more often in nature isn’t providing.

Hosta

Time to divide: After the plant has been in the ground 3 to 4 years. Best times are either early spring, when the leaves first emerge, or shortly after they have finished blooming. August is the best time of year to divide as the plants have finished flowering and are beginning to store nutrients in their roots. Plants put most of their energy to building roots during the fall.

Foliage – can be tied up on large hostas to get it out of the way of the dividing shovel.

Removal –Using a shovel, loosen the soil by wiggling the shovel side- to- side while circling the plant about 6” from the outer edge of the plant. Once you have circled the plant completely, use the shovel to dig a little deeper. Observe and feel for the roots of the plant, do your best not to cut through them as you dig. Don’t worry if you cut the edges of the roots a little, hostas are resilient. Gently pry the plant out of the ground.

Division – Once out of the ground, shake the soil off the roots, with large hostas, rolling them around to loosen the soil from the roots can work well. If the plant has been in the ground only 3 to 4 years you can more easily separate the plants by using your fingers to pull them apart. If it has been in the ground for many years a tool such as a Hori knife may be need to separate the plants. With a Hori knife you want to cut the crown of the plant in ½ then make additional cuts to divide the plant into smaller pieces.

Each division should have a minimum of 3 to 4 leaves. You need not break up the plant into many small divisions, you can simply cut your large hosta in ½ and re-plant it, discarding the un-wanted second half. If you want to increase the number of hostas in your garden, then divide it into small piece and plant them out.

Re-Planting – Now is the time to improve that soil! Clean the hole you dug the hosta up from, remove any broken roots, leaf litter and stones. Add compost. Re-plant your hosta. Take note of the base of the foliage, it will show you how deep to plant. The lighter green at the base of the stem should be just under the soil surface.

Transplanting – Spread your Hosta around your garden or pot it up as a gift for a fellow gardener. Hosta’s come in many sizes, make sure to leave enough room for your new transplants. Don’t over crowd.

Brown-Eye Susan’s (Rudbeckia) or other cone flowers such as Echinacea

Time to divide:   Many Rudbeckia and Echinacea plants spread to cover an area larger than the gardener had originally intended. These plants do not die out in the center as grasses and iris do, so dividing is really a process of reducing the amount of the plant. After the plant has been in the ground 3 to 4 years there is usually more plants then you wanted. Best times are either early spring, when the leaves first emerge, or shortly after they have finished blooming.

Foliage – Can be tied up to get it out of the way of the dividing shovel. If dividing after they have finished blooming, cut the foliage down by half to get it out of way.

Removal – You do not need to remove the whole plant from the ground. Simply identify the area where you want to remove the plants. Using a shovel push the stems and leave aside, then simply cut into the base of the plant and separate the division from the mother plant.

Division – Once out of the ground, there is no need to remove the soil from the roots. Each division should have a minimum of 3 to 4 stems.

Re-Planting – Now is the time to improve that soil! Clean the hole you dug the plant up from, remove any broken roots, leaf litter and stones. Add compost. Re-plant your brown eyed Susan’s. Take note of the base of the foliage, it will show you how deep to plant. The lighter green at the base of the stem should be just under the soil surface.

Transplanting – Now is the time to spread your plants around your garden or pot it up as a gift for a fellow gardener. Plant the divisions 18” to 2’ away from each other and other plants.

Grasses

Time to Divide

There are three general types of ornamental grasses common in the Connecticut garden:

  1. Cool season grasses – divide in spring, not summer or in early fall
  1. Warm season grasses – divide in spring up until mid-summer
  2. Evergreen grasses and sedges – spring only

Warm season grasses bloom late in the season. They leaves turn golden yellow in the late fall and remain this color through the winter.

Common warm season grasses:

 

Cool season grasses bloom early, and frost does not ruin the flowers. Many have flowers/seed heads that hang around through the winter.

Here is a list of cool season grasses:

 

Evergreen grasses

  • Carex – many are evergreen, such as ‘ice dance’ and ‘silver scepter’
  • Juncus – technically not a grass, and may be evergreen often found in bogs

 

When a grass opens in the center it is time to divide.

Foliage – Can be tied up to get it out of the way of the dividing shovel.

Removal –Using a shovel, loosen the soil by wiggling the shovel side- to- side while circling the plant about 8”-10” from the outer edge of the plant. Once you have circled the plant completely, use the shovel to dig a deeper. Observe and feel for the roots of the plant, do your best not to cut through them as you dig. With large grasses you may need to dig a trench around the plant in order to loosen the soil and roots. Pry the plant out of the ground. Smaller grasses can come out of the ground easily. Large grasses can require iron bars or iron pikes to pry the roots up.

Division– Once out of the ground, use a very sharp shovel or an axe (for large grasses), cut out the dead center and discard. Cut the remaining clump up into smaller sections, a minimum clump size is about 6” across.

Re-Planting – Now is the time to improve that soil! Clean the hole you dug the plant up from, remove any broken roots, leaf litter and stones. Add compost. Re-plant. Take note of the base of the foliage, it will show you how deep to plant. The lighter green at the base of the stem should be just under the soil surface.

Transplanting – Now is the time to spread your plants around your garden or pot it up as a gift for a fellow gardener. Plant the divisions far enough away from each other and other plants so as not to over crowd. How far apart, depends on the size of the grass.

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