This distance, 8 to 12 inches, is usually enough to ensure that I won’t dig into any valuable roots. of the member-only content library. In areas that experience early frosts and harsh winter weather, plants divided in fall may not have enough time to establish roots before the ground freezes, and may be subject to frost heave. I replant only plump and healthy-looking rhizomes and tubers and discard those that are old, withered, or diseased. Lift a section of plant with the attached roots and soil and plant it somewhere else. Central New York has a short growing season and a long, cold, wet winter. It’s better to have more soil and roots than less. Separate small clumpers like lamb’s ears into pieces by hand. Experimentation is part of the learning process. Each section should contain a piece of the woody root and growth points. Perennials with fibrous root systems and clumping growth habits are collectively known as clumpers. A 1-inch-wide rhizome should be buried about 1/2 inch deep. Send questions to her at or in c/o Stars, P.O. : The timing of most gardening jobs is dictated by the climate and the weather, so the guidelines differ widely in different places. There are too many variables. I went online to bunch of sites. Sign up for a free trial and get access to ALL our regional content, plus the rest Some clumpers, like astilbes and lilyturf, form tough root systems that can’t be divided with a spade or pitchfork. I use a sharp knife or pruning shears to cut rhizomes and tubers into pieces that contain at least one growth point or dormant bud. I like the luxury of having a supply of plants to draw on to start a new bed or to fill in an occasional gap in my garden. But propagation by root division is more than a cost-efficient way to increase my collection of perennials; it also promotes vigor by stimulating new growth both below- and aboveground. But then we get to the long, cold, wet winter part. Some divisions fail because they don’t have sufficient roots to support their foliage. Community Rules apply to all content you upload or otherwise submit to this site. Lamb's-ear's spreading nature and their tendency to grow from the center out, leaving a dead spot in the middle, makes them candidates for frequent division, every 2 to 4 years. I need some good advice for this great plant. The best time for division sometimes depends on the type of plant being divided. It is safer to work with all silvery, hairy plants in the spring rather than in the fall. Local astronomers take telescopes up to look at the stars. In desert areas and high-heat locations, it can profit from part shade. And while many perennials can be divided in either early spring or early fall, some are very picky. I have a lamb's ear that I would like to divide or propagate but am uncertain how to do it. It was a small way to say thank you for the efforts…. Instead, I consider a plant’s shape and condition before taking a spade to it. You're growing a gardener as well as a garden and it's useful to know just what can happen. I replant my divisions at the same depth as the original plant, making sure the crown is slightly above the soil level. I’m a frugal gardener. This removes old growth and gives you a chance to thin out the crowded growth to keep the leaves drier. In this situation, with the lamb's-ears, Stachys byzantina, the plant can be divided to make more plants, to cover a wider area or perhaps to share. For these, I use an 8-inch-long handsaw to cut the root system apart. It was saved and made into a walkway featuring flowers and grasses native to the island. If a perennial is thriving and continuing to flower year after year, my motto is: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”. With a quick jabbing movement, I split the crown in half, and repeat the process until I get the number of pieces I need. Propagation by division also allows me to have a cache of plants available for bartering with my gardening pals. For those gardeners lacking upper-arm strength or averse to such a barbarian display, two pitchforks can be inserted back to back into a clumper’s rootball to divide it. The flower stalks were just beautiful. When using a spade to divide, I lay the rootball on its side and position the spade in the center of the rootball’s crown. by Cricket on August 17, 2004 11:30 AM. To approximate the size of a rootball, I place the tip of my spade at the base of the plant and make a mark in the soil at the end of the spade’s head.


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