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Time to Split Up

Time to Split Up
Posted on 09/05/10 | Posted by The Fat Gardener

In my last posting I commented on how garden forks are one of the best garden tools for splitting perennials to give you new, free plants. This is, of course dependent on the type of plant you are dividing - some seem to break up easily whilst with a few very tough old perennials I have resorted to sawing them in half with a razor sharp Silky Saw (to no ill-effects on the part of the plant)!

Splitting or dividing plants is one of the easiest ways of getting new plants - no waiting for the germination of seeds, no complex budding and grafting and no fiddly cuttings. You don't even need any expensive new garden tools, just split with a sharp spade, pull apart with two back-to-back forks, or cut up with a sharp knife or pruning saw (my mother uses an old bread knife!).
There is much debate regarding when in the year is best to divide plants. I have tried a number of tactics all of which seem to work, with the only negative occurring if you split a plant in bloom (although even this does not seem to harm growth in the following season). The plants I tend split most often are hardy geraniums, hostas, peonies, Irises, Agapanthus, Sedums, Primulas and grasses. I normally split the plants every 3 to 4 years because I have found that this gives them enough time to establish and do well before congestion causes a 'drop off' in performance.
The most important advice I can give when dividing your plants is to ensure that new plants are very well watered in - please ensure that you don't allow your newly split plants to dry out.
So please take this as a horticultural 'Dear John' letter - it's time to split up!

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