Hostas can be dug and divided any time of the year as long as weather permits. Digging and dividing early in the season allows for easy handling of the plants.
The above bed above was getting crowded - a perfect time for thinning the group for divisions while still maintaining a nice presentation in the landscape.
The narrow bladed drain spade allows for close digging of small clumps.
These particular plants were in the 18-24" size range and had well developed root systems.
The first step after digging is to trim the root ball. This makes handling and dividing easier and allows some of the soil to go back into the hole.
Further trimming gets the clump down to a manageable size and puts more excess soil back into the bed. A steak knife is used for trimming as well as dividing. A spade can be used but more care must be taken not to damage the plants.
This clump yielded 7 nice divisions. The white core in the middle of the root ball is the older section of rhizome. Fortunately hosta callous over and heal quickly from this massive damage to the plant tissue.
The divisions are then lined out in raised beds amended with partially decomposed wood chips. The block of wood between divisions is used as a spacer and the 1x6 board is used for a row spacer. The 1x6 is also used for planting so as not to compact the soil by stepping directly into the beds.
After throughly watering in the divisions they are covered with netting to prevent deer damage. Short sections of rebar or other material are placed along the row. Plastic bottles are slipped over these to prevent constant snagging of the netting by the rebar.
As the plants grow beyond the height of the bottles, the netting, which is very light weight, is lifted as the plant grows and "floats" on top. The sides of the netting are secured to prevent movement in high winds.
Bed planted mid-summer 2004.