Dip, Duck, Doge, and Divide!
The Fall season is a great time to divide the beautiful perennials in your garden. Dividing your perennials is a great way to revive older plants while at the same time creating brand new plants. Fall is a great time to divide your perennials because the act of dividing can be very stressful on plants. Fall’s cool moist weather provides the perfect conditions for your plants to recover.
When to Divide: You will want to divide your plants when they look their best. Not when they look overgrown or overly tired. Dividing plants at their peak will give them and the new plants the best chance for reestablishment and survival. Wait to divide plants until they are large enough to make several small clumps.
Where to Start: Water the soil around the plant that you would like to divide to loosen the soil. Begin digging where the drip line for the plant stops. This way, you are less likely to damage a large amount of the root system. Dig up under the plant and try to remove the plant as one large clump, try to stay away from the root system of the plant.
Division: Every plant set needs roots and leaves to be able to continue to grow. Once you have dug up the plant that you want to divide, brush off the excess dirt or use water to remove excess dirt so that the roots are exposed. There are several different types of root systems. If the root system of the plant is more fiberous or clumped you may need to use a sharp object such as a knife to divide the root system. If your plant has rhizome type roots, you will want to separate the crowns. Irises are the most common plant with a rhizome root system. You can pry or cut apart the crowns.
Post Division Care: After you have divided your plants you will want to replant them sooner rather than later. If you can’t plant them right away you will want to keep the roots moist and protected. When planting your newly divided plants, it is always a good idea to mix in some organic matter with the existing soil to help your plants become established. Once you have planted, you will need to water the plants every day unless it rains to help the root system become established.
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