BOISE -- Last week on "You Can Grow It", Jim Duthie showed us how to dig up and divide our flowering bulbs.
Today, he shows us how we can divide many perennial plants, like grasses and ground covers, and get more plants without spending more money.
"Fall is another great time to do plantings," said Seneca Hull with Franz Witte Nursery.
I've got a huge clump of decorative grass in my backyard and I've let it go too long, so now it's about 3 to 4 feet across. Is it best to dig the whole thing up and start breaking it up, or just take out some sections I want?
"If you want to have some of it there, what's great is to just divide and take away parts of that and leave what you want there, because then those roots are already intact and they're already growing," said Hull. "So you give it a chance to just keep growing other than transplanting, digging the whole thing up, chopping it up, and then replanting."
Unlike single stemmed plants, grasses are easy to divide and replant. So how do we do it?
"When you see that it's got quite a few different stems coming up, then you know that that can be split. If there's only a couple, you want to wait to do that," said Hull.
This potted grass plant is ready to be divided.
"Right. We can split this into quite a few," said Hull.
Using a pair of pruners, a shovel, or a knife, just cut through the root mass.
"But you really just go through and cut that apart," said Hull. "But then you have a new plant right there, and you can plant it in your pots, in the ground somewhere, give it to your neighbors."
In this case, we're going to replant part of that larger plant into a pot. How deep does it need to go? Just as deep as the roots?
"Right. Wherever it was in the ground is where that should be the top of the soil now," said Hull.
Don't cover the crown where the roots and the base of the plant meet, it can cause rotting and damage. Instead, keep the crown at ground level.
"Again, make sure the soil is tight around the roots; there's no air pockets, things like that, and water it in, and there you go," said Hull. "These are day lilies. And, again, you can see the possibilities for splitting that there."
"This is a yarrow, which is another native. And this could be split into probably three different plants," she said.
"And then a lot of the ground covers are really easy to split," said Hull. "This is an Irish moss. And a lot of people put these between pavers and things like that. Just cut them into pieces, and then just put those in wherever you want. Dividing your grasses, your perennials, things like that, makes them healthier and also gives you a few more plants."
As we head towards fall, it's the best time to do some transplanting in your garden.
The cooler days allow for the plants to establish their roots before they go dormant for the winter.