Early spring is a good time to divide perennials. Dividing them now will give each section plenty of time to recover and begin growing and you, or whomever you give some to, will have the whole season to enjoy them before the plants fade this fall.
If you want to get out in the garden on a nice spring day, make a list of the perennials that need dividing. How will you know which ones to divide? You’ll know. They’re the most crowded. As you look at them, imagine what they will look like in summer if they’re crowded now.
This isn’t a job that you need to accomplish all in one day or tucker yourself out doing. Prioritize. Start with those that are encroaching on one another or that look like they have a bald spot in the center. Begin with the worst offenders and put the rest off for another day.
Daylilies, irises, hostas and grasses are among the perennials that are best divided in spring. Some gardeners suggest that you mark the clumps you want to divide with flags now and start by dividing the biggest clumps. Divide the rest at another time this spring or, if you don’t get around to it, save the rest until fall.
Don’t put too much work off until fall, though. Your spring work will yield a nicer looking landscape all through the summer and into the fall.
To divide perennials, just dig up the whole plant and lay it on its side. Then divide the roots into four equal sections. The size and thickness of the root dictates the cutting tool you should use. Some may be sized so you can use loppers., others a sharp shovel and still others an axe or saw.
Return one section to the hole from which you just dug it, backfill and water. Plant the other three sections in other gardens on your property, give them to friends, or donate them to a garden club plant sale. Be sure you keep the roots wet until you replant these sections.
If you want this done professionally or the roots are too big, bulky and heavy to handle, call our office. One of our landscape crews will be happy to do the task for you.
One last thing. Document your work in your journal or compile a photographic history. It will be most helpful when planning your landscape’s future needs.