There are certain garden chores that can seem daunting and you tend to avoid them, dividing perennials can be one of these. Sometimes it’s the physical labor and sometimes it’s the uncertainty of how to attack that unruly clump of vegetation. This past weekend I had a large patch of Iris that needed to be split so I thought I’d give you a quick refresher on how to tackle the chore.
The mass below started with one sweet little piece from my Mother’s garden. It’s overwhelmed it’s location in just a couple years.
In my mind the most important thing is don’t be delicate about it. Plants are a lot tougher than you think. But having said that, I watered this the night before I dug, we’ve been dry and I wanted to be certain it was hydrated before I put shovel to soil…
I have a fabulous little shovel that I do everything with. It’s small and versatile and I find it much easier to use than a standard shovel. Unfortunately the company I purchased it from no longer sells it, but it looks something like this. The right tool for the job always helps.
And I confess they were difficult to remove, I did some root damage but they’ll be fine.
Cut about half to three quarters of the foliar growth. It helps them conserve water when you replant. And a helpful tip – if you have a clump that won’t break down easily into manageable chunks, use an old steak knife. The serrated blade works like a charm.
Pop the divided chunks that you’re keeping back into the soil and water well. I also took the opportunity to lace this area with various bulbs while everything was dug up.