need help dividing

hibiscus909(7)April 3, 2007

I've got a clump of Zebra Grass that I have never divided. The clump is 2ft across. The foliage has been fine (although by the end of the season it does get blown over by high winds), but it's getting a bit large for the location.

I took the plunge today, digging all the way around with a shovel, spade, and machete. I can't quite get all the way under, and haven't been able to get the clump out. Other than a pry bar (which I don't have), I can't think of how to get it out.

Since I can't get it out, would it be OK to try to cut it into pieces and dig out the smaller clumps? I was thinking I would use the spade....machete...maybe a pruning saw to cut it up? Either way, how many pieces should I divide this plant into?

thanks for the help,


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I am in the same boat~ I have done the same kind of digging. The clumps are just to big for me to handle. I am wanting to get them out of that bed. So when the rain stops around here I am going to try a log chain wrapped around it hooked on my litte John Deere. I am hope that will pull it out. If not I will be using Round up! As far as the pieces go, I dont think it really matters, I have given this grass away before and only was able to cut off a small piece~

    Bookmark   April 3, 2007 at 7:05PM
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Cut chunks from the outside of the clump, in sizes you can handle. That's the best place to take divisions from anyway, because it's younger growth. When you've whittled it down with exterior divisions, the middle should be easier to get out. You can probably toss the mid-section into the compost heap.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2007 at 7:30PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

At 62, I get a friend to help with the digging and use an axe to split clumps apart.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2007 at 6:13AM
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achnatherum(z4or3 Ontario)

Just one more voice chiming in.
After digging around the grass we almost always split our large grasses before trying to get them out of the hole. Often just dividing the clump into 2 or 3 big chunks does the trick. Then, once out of the hole you can cut off the dead portions, if any and then divide into as many pieces as you require. My tool of choice is a splitting maul or a wedge - both used with a mallet. It is just easier for me & does the least damage to the clump. There is no perfect tool so, choose something that suits you.
There was a posting of Donn's that talked about a really good shovel for the job.

I have sooo many LARGE grasses that have to be dug & divided this year - I don't even want to think about it yet.....

Here is a link that might be useful: shovel

    Bookmark   April 4, 2007 at 8:05AM
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Thanks for the ideas (I will have to take notes on that link - great post). I was not expecting such a difficult job at dividing this grass!
I ended up getting some help. We did eventually manage to chop it in half before getting it out. It took lots of sweat, a little blood, and one broken shovel.

I thought you were supposed to divide every few years? Next time I will wait a bit longer.


    Bookmark   April 4, 2007 at 11:00PM
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Hi everyone, Here's what I did. Took a shovel and dug all around the 2' wide grass. Soaked it down with the hoses a couple of times. I then took my husbands sawsall (unbeknowns to him) and with a long blade, I proceeded to cut about 8 pie wedges. The saw did most of the work. I potted up my wedges and gave most of them away. I'm about to do the same thing to another "large" clump of Miscanthus. They do get big. Happy Gardening, bayridgeri

    Bookmark   April 7, 2007 at 8:41PM
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