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Dividing hostas - 1998 Hosta College talk

The outline of my talk at the 1998 Hosta College can be found at the
Greater Cincinatti Daylily/Hosta Society web site. I can't seem to get the
exact URL, but the date is March 14, 1998.

     Denise, I have pasted it here in its entirety.

     Greater Cincinnati Daylily/Hosta Society
     Why, When and How to Divide Hostas Why divide?

     Positive reasons

     mature plant
     growth demands it--many small shoots, variable size, uneven growth

     Negative reasons

     die back due to age or growing condition
     root rot or disease (not virus!)
     poor growth over years
     Divide not!

     Mature outstanding growth
     Continued vigor over years
     When can you divide?

     Anytime you can put the plant back intodormancy--fall winter
     good growing environment--spring, summer


     Hosta rhizomes can be stored above ground at +20 F if kept out of
     wind (piled high and mulched), or in freezer at 40-45 F, low
     constant humidity
     In summer, best chill down roots before/after in cold water, plant and
     keep moist
     Do not leave rhizomes in sun or heated area-they will cook or rot
     Have stored division in moist sphagnum moss in shaded area to
     "recover" prior to replanting  Bruce Banyai
     March 14, 1998

     How to Divide

     Divide large to single crown; medium or small to multiples or single
     sin re
     If fully leafed out, cut off leaves 2-3" from crowns
     If plant is nearing flower, cut flower stem
     Not necessary to have some leaves on small or medium division, larger
     like a leaf left
     Stolons should be separated as far from stolen, as near to rhizome as
     Actual Cutting

     Using a sharp knife eases cuts
     Clean off all cuts or breaks
     Clean off old bloom scapes/fiber hairs, including scraping out or
     cutting the scarred area
     Acceptable to "cut into" large rhizomes
     Cut away woody soft, rotten, discolored, root mass
     Serrate the woody core if no root hairs present
     Why use bleach?

     Doesn't seem to have any negative effects
     We have "bleached" roots for 2-3 days in summer

     Cool water, no problems
     Hot or warm water will soften tissue and lead to rot.
     Dig clumps and knock off dirt carefully, then use water to get as much
     dirt off the root mass as possible.
     Recovery Time

     Rhizome size dictates time to recover.
     Large sieboldiana types need dormant time to regroup--sometimes two
     Smaller types can send new roots with 4-6 weeks, giving energy for
     Smaller ones have very short time to regenerate.
     Leave clean solid root hairs
     Cut off woody rhizomes
     Cut off diseased or damaged roots
     Use bleach water to clean knife and soak roots


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