It’s Time to Evaluate Your Perennials

 In Tips and Advice

As the last of the super-hot weather is behind us, it’s time to think about dividing, moving, replacing or adding to your perennial collection.

Fall is the best time to do this. And, there are some good reasons that this is the ideal time of year: price and soil conditions.

Right now most garden centres are offering discounts on perennials. Some knock off up to 50 per cent off their plants.

Examine your garden to decide where a new plant may be needed. Is it a sunny area, or is it mostly shade? Are you trying to maintain a colour palate, or do you need bloom at a certain time of the summer?

After weeks and weeks of drought this summer recent rains have replenished the soil with much-needed water. Fall allows plants to establish a good root system before bloom time next season.

If your plant has discontinued blooming see if it needs dividing. Working in soil shortly after a rain is much easier than when it’s dry. Water plants thoroughly a day or two before digging and dividing. When transplanting new perennials, thoroughly water the plants.

When the centre of the plant is dying out, it is time for division. Cut back the foliage to easily see the size and crown of the plant. All the plant’s energy will go to root development while the soil is still warm. After digging out the plant, it usually may be divided by gently pulling the roots apart. If the root ball is dense, then a knife will make the task easier.

When placing a plant in the garden, always dig the hole twice the diameter of the root ball. A low nitrogen fertilizer may be added to the planting hole (0-10-10) to encourage root growth, and prevent excessive top growth.

To divide irises, cut the fan of leaves to the height of about five to eight inches. Dig and lift the rhizomes, cut apart, and throw away dead or diseased sections. Always leave the top of the rhizome above the soil.

It is important to get divided plants into the ground as quickly as possible, so that they do not dry out.

The effort put out at this time of year will pay off next year, and save you a few dollars.