One of my favourite jobs is my Job of the week this week, making more plants from the plants we already have in the garden. This job is ideal to carry out now, the ground is warming up and is nice and moist. The soil being like this will help the plants settle in again once more, it is idea to do while the plant is still dormant although it can also be carried out during the summer months after cutting hard back certain perennial plants like Geranium pratense. This task can be carried out on perennial plants that tend to form dense mat, plants like Hemocallis, Asters, Phlox, some forms of hardy geraniums, really anything that doesn’t form a woody base like Peonies.
Tools wise, all you need is a couple of forks the same size, I prefer using a pair of border forks and of course, spade to replant them.
Other items needed, some compost or well rotted manure to add to the soil and some fertiliser to add as well before planting
These type of mat forming perennial plants are generally divided every 3-6years depending on how quick they grow! The plants you are looking to divide are plants that spread quite quickly, division is used to keep the plants in size. The other type of plants that befit this type of treatment, are the type that die out in the middle, they have an outside ring that is growing strongly but dead in the middle. These can be lifted and divided, keeping the strong growing sections and bin the dead and weaker bits.
Dividing is pretty easy, first lift the plant carefully, best using a fork to ease the plant out, rather than a spade that will cut the roots.
Once lifted, get the 2forks and put them together with the tines back to back and push into the middle of the plant and then push the handles together and then pull apart again and the plant should be split into 2, repeat until they are the size you require, spread over compost and fertiliser over the area to replant and then space them out and plant! Job done!
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I always start out with good intentions, carefully inserting the pair of forks into just the right spot in the root bundle and gently teasing things apart. But after a while, I start just driving the forks into the roots and pulling them like hell. This soon develops into “stuff the forks” and I just drive the spade through the bundle, somewhere around the middle. For some reason, I achieve equal success with the three methods. But the next session, I’ll start out carefully with two forks ……… Must be mad!
Haha I am sometimes the same, I think it depends on the type you are dividing some are easier with the spade or indeed knife😉I just love that great sound as they tease apart with the forks