Yesterday, I helped a few friends divide some hosta. They had never done it before, so it was a lesson in "roughness". For those of you that have never divided hosta, it can be a challenge! The clumps of hosta had been there in the ground for over 15 years so they were pretty "intergrown".
The first action was to take the garden fork and get it into the ground a few inches from the edge of the plant. Sinking it into the ground and lifting was the next step. You really need to do this all around the plant until there's something to lift!
Finally, that fork needs to get under the rootball and lift...using a LOT of muscle! It should come up without too much trouble.
Then you need to separate all those intertwined roots so you can have a million little plants. That's the toughest part. What I do is put the clump into a big bucket and fill the bucket with water allowing it to soak about a half and hour or so. That should soften up the roots, although it won't make it much easier! Next comes shooting water from the hose, as hard as you can on those roots trying to separate them
This STILL will not do the trick, so it's time to get ROUGH. A shovel, hatchet or AXE should work. Don't worry. They'll be fine. They can take a ton of abuse.
Once you've got some plants separated out, you can actually plant them to about the same depth they were before they were mercilessly dug up!
Take the muddy water in the bucket and use that to water them. It works!
They will look a bit bedraggled for a few days or so, but in a few weeks, you'll be happy to see all your new delightful hosta in the garden!