The Q&A Archives: Hostas

Question: Can I divide my Hostas in the fall (now)?

I have a Harry Lauder Walking Stick that did not get leaves on it this year, last year it was infested with Japenese Beetles and we sprayed it with different chemicals that were to kill the beetles. Would this have killed the plant? how would I know if it's dead? should I fertilize it?

Answer: Spring is the best time to dig and divide hostas, but you can do it now. Expect them to wilt and look awful for the rest of the season. It will be temporary, though. As soon as the roots become re-established, they should be fine. Next spring they will produce healthy new foliage. If you did not get any leaves on your Harry Lauder's Walking Stick this year, it is probably dead. Sometimes the chemicals are not the problem but the oily base that is in the insecticide. The oil can actually suffocate plants. It's always best to read the label thoroughly and check to see that the plant you intend to spray is listed on the label. Some plants are more sensitive than others to chemical sprays. You can scrape the bark away from a branch or two of your Harry Lauder's Walking Stick. If you see green tissue beneath the bark, the branch is still alive. If there is no green tissue, that branch is dead. YOu can check several branches. If there is green tissue, just water as usualy (but don't fertilize). It should leaf out next spring. If you find no green tissue under the bark, your plant is dead and should be removed.

Good luck with your garden!

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