Whenever I mention dividing rhubarb plants, someone tells me what a herculean task that is. Rhubarb forms a dense crown that cannot be easily sliced through. Most gardeners tell me that once you plant rhubarb, it's there for life. Well, I found an easy way to kill rhubarb - put it in the path of a groundhog. My chubby friend gnawed right through the crown last year, on his way to the squash leaves.
I don't recommend this method. I've been planning to replace my plants this spring and I noticed some crowns for sale locally, so I picked some up. Now I just have to get my soil to thaw. But it's worth it. I like the sweet-tart flavor and fresh rhubarb is much juicier than stems left sitting on store shelves. So keep an eye out for crowns and try a plant or two yourself. You don't need a lot. Although rhubarb needs a chilling period, gardeners in milder climates can easily grow rhubarb as an annual (without the shovel breaking effort of trying to divide an established plant.)
Photo: © Marie Iannotti