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Friday, September 16, 2011

When should perennials be divided?

 The childhood friend of my sister-in-law sent me this note on Facebook:
Hi, I have a perennial garden that has not really been maintained in a few years. I have a ton of stuff that needs to be thinned out and things that need to be moved. When is the best time to do this...fall or spring?
 Well, you know I had to answer her:
 Where you are (Long Island, NY) you can do it either time. I prefer spring, but that's because winter comes here almost before autumn starts and I'm dying to get out into the garden after such a long winter. On the Island you can transplant perennials from September up until November and you can plant spring bulbs until the ground freezes--well into December. Spring blooming bulbs should be divided in autumn because leaving them to do it in spring can actually hinder their blooming time.
Boy, do I miss gardening on the Island!
Now to my readers: When do you do your dividing of perennials or transplanting, autumn or spring? The only ones I like transplanting in the fall are trees and some shrubs, but I have been doing a bit more in the autumn lately. It all depends on the weather. If it's a dry warmish type autumn, I'll be out there until the frost chases me out of the garden. What say you?

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