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Growing Good Food at Home

Dividing Rhubarb

Rhubarb plant growing in the spring

Rhubarb plant growing in the spring

Each year, as your rhubarb plants grow, they’ll produce the next year’s buds at the outer edges of the crown. Your plants will gradually get wider and wider. But they may not be very productive. Every four or five years, it’s time to divide and conquer.

The easiest way to get divisions of your rhubarb plants is to assess them early in the spring. If the crown has a lot of buds and the center isn’t producing any stalks, get out a sharp shovel and cut the plant in half or in thirds. Then replant the divisions some distance away in newly prepared planting sites.

You can also dig the whole plant up to divide it, but that’s not really necessary. The only thing you want to watch for is to make sure each division has at least two or three buds on it. Then plant them just like you would crowns or starts you got from a nursery or a gardener friend. If you’re just trimming your plants down to refocus their energy, leave the crown with four or five buds and it will be ready to produce a fresh new crop of stalks.

Do you divide your rhubarb? If you do, what do you do with the divisions? Do you plant more rhubarb in your garden or give the divisions away? Let us know your experience with dividing rhubarb.

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