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Dividing Perennials

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After several years, the fountain grass I had planted in my garden grew into an enormous clump of stalks. The health of my perennial became compromised, beginning to produce stunted, brown shoots in its center. Although a beautiful site, this large, booming ornamental grass needed to be divided into smaller segments.

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Ornamental Grass

For division, contemplate plants that have tripled in size or those who have outgrown their pot or bed. Fall is the preferable season to divide thriving perennials. However, plants can be divided in spring and summer with ample attention following the division. Ideally, plants should be sectioned when they are flourishing. Do not consider splitting a plant that shows visible disease, i.e. root, blight, or wilting.

To prepare the plant, provide a deep soak of its roots the day prior. Begin by digging around the entire perennial. Be careful to ensure the entire root system intact. Once the plant’s root structure is visible, proceed to lift the plant with a shovel at its base. To perform the division, use a flat head shovel or spade to vertical divide. Clusters should be divided into sections approximately one-fourth the original perennial’s size. On average, smaller replanted sections have greater rates of hearty and robust growth. Plant the divided portions throughout your yard and water amply.

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