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Famous generals of the battlefield agree that a very effective strategy for victory is Divide and Conquer. Many gardeners feel that their landscape is a battlefield, too. For the homeowner, now is the time to divide and conquer!

Of course, in the landscape, the dividing pertains to perennial flowers. Over time, many perennials get overgrown and crowded. This is undesirable because the plant is less vigorous, and certainly unsightly. In many cases, the center of the clump or the crown area begins to die back, leaving only the periphery to grow.

So, get out a pitch fork, and pop the perennial out of the ground. Then, take a straight spade and slice it into several smaller pieces. Reset the pieces at the same level as they were growing previously. Work some compost into the soil as you reset the divisions.

Generally you have a few leftover after division, so make a friend by taking one to that new neighbor you’ve been wanting to meet. A hunk of daylily, lily of the valley, iris, cranesbill, Rudbeckia, gaillardia, penstemon or ajuga would be a great housewarming gift. Maybe they would reciprocate with a piece of pie..... 

By John Fech, UNL Extension Educator