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Divide Perennials for Healthier Plants

Four simple steps to dividing a perennial vegetable like artichokes or rhubarb.

Perennial vegetables that bloom in late spring, summer or fall - like artichokes or rhubarb - can be safely divided in February.

The center of many older perennials turns woody and unproductive, which results in a doughnut effect of healthy plant material surrounding a dead center.

Follow these four steps for a healthy division:

  1. Take the entire plant out of the soil.
  2. Separate parts of the crown by prying it apart with two garden forks, or cutting the crown into smaller pieces iwth a sharp knife or machete.
  3. Discard the old woody center and keep the outside new growth for future plants.
  4. Before replanting, renew the soil where you are going to plant by forking in compost and soil amendments.

If you end up with more plant parts than you can use, pot them up to share with friends.

Contact our Garden Hotline for more information or to get custom answers to your specific questions, (206) 633-0224. Get more information on organic gardening topics in Tilth Alliance's "Maritime NW Garden Guide" or ”Your Farm in the City.” Check out our list of classes.

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