Hameln tougher than my large pruning saw!

WendyB(5A/MA)May 15, 2005

I tried to divide my 3-4 year old Hameln yesterday and I nearly killed myself. I couldn't believe how tough that root ball was. I've never not been able to divide something. I actually had to put it back in the ground for a later attempt.

Would washing the soil off the roots help me out?

Any other ideas? no chain saw available.

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A very sharp straight-edged spade, or a machete, and a wooden mallet to drive it through the rootball. I'm not talking about your standard sharp shovel edge, I mean sharp enough to carve wood with.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2005 at 1:07PM
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hmmm.. I don't have any of that but it reminds me of something I do have. How about a stone chisel and a sledge hammer?

    Bookmark   May 15, 2005 at 2:01PM
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A sharp wood chisel would be better for the plant. Most stone chisels are broad angle edges, and you'll bludgeon your way through the roots.

How about a single bit axe?

    Bookmark   May 15, 2005 at 2:05PM
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Tree_Frog(z5 MO)

A sharp axe will make short work of this project. It's the right tool for the job.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2005 at 8:34AM
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Okay, so I went to HD today and in the ax aisle I saw a heavy duty edging/cutting thing that reminded me of my super-duper winter ice chopper. I bet that would do the deed! But I bought a small ax anyhow. Boy, the comments I got were so funny. Everyone commented on it as if it were a weapon and not a garden tool! What's a nice girl like you going to do with that thing! Ya never know... :-)

Actually I was thinking the ax would probably come in handy for getting through some tough tree roots I dig into from time to time too.

Thanks for the tip.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2005 at 9:38PM
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Well, the deed is finally done. that was FUN! The ax was perfect. I was concerned that it might be too small, but turned out just fine. Great therapy too!

Before...doesn't look so big but boy was it ever tough!

and after...8 1-gallon pots

    Bookmark   May 20, 2005 at 10:47PM
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    Bookmark   May 21, 2005 at 12:28PM
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bambooo(6 CT USA)

I usually drive a machete through the rootball with a 4lb hand drilling hammer. I have a few handleless spades that get used the same way.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2005 at 6:20PM
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sherilynn(Zone 9)

I had to laugh. About three years ago, I sold a house and one of the conditions of the sale was to be able to divide my 'bunny grass'. I waited until the hour I was going to pull out of the driveway to divide that grass. AFTER THREE HOURS of trying to dig out the rootball and divide it, with limited tools on hand since the movers had taken everything away already, I just replanted and abandoned the grass. WHAT A MONSTER TASK! I just bought 8 new plants yesterday to plant around my property. I'm making sure I have room to dig this out and divide it in a few years! :)

    Bookmark   March 29, 2008 at 4:03PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

I think Pennisetums are among the hardest grasses to dig and divide. I use an axe for division and get a friend to help dig. The only grass I ever dug that was harder than Pennisetums was a Molinia 'Skyracer'--the two of us were falling over in exhaustion by the time we got it out. Of course, I've never yet tried to dig out my Erianthus ravennae.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 6:07AM
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When doing the slice and dice have any of you needed to wear body armour? Some of the grasses you are talking about have blades like razors. Miscanthus for sure can tear you up nicely.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 9:55PM
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Long sleeves are always useful when working with miscanthus, cortaderia, erianthus, etc.

If dividing, be sure to cut back first, dig after. I've been able to cut through the base of all 3 varieties I mentioned with a corded hedge trimmer..keeping the arms back from foliage as much as possible. Cortaderia was my toughest project!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 8:46AM
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