Iris and lily bulbs

Hello group,
My questions basically stem from not understanding plant terminology enough to do this research on my own, so please bear with me...
We moved into a house with irises of several different colors and (I was told) orange flowering daylilies; each type or color is separated into different clumps around the garden area. The lilies have buried bulbs like I was used to seeing my mother plant years ago, while the irises have elongated, connected bulbs partially exposed above the ground surface.
Does this bulb explanation sound correct for the plant types I think these are? Any assistance here will send me off to google with more appropriate terminology!
I want to dig up the bulbs and replant them much thinner as they appear overgrown now. Would a mini-tiller (Stihl Yard Boss) destroy the lily bulbs or harmlessly uproot them? Or do they need to be carefully dug out by hand? Should we cut up the above-ground iris bulbs in any way to separate them into smaller bulb pieces?
Thanks you so much for any and all responses!
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Comboverfish wrote:

Regarding the iris, you are describing rhizomatous iris and not bulb iris. The rhizomatous iris include the bearded varieties. These should be dug first and then divided. The season for doing this varies according to your climate. The best time is during the second and third week that bearded irises are available bareroot at your local nursery.
See my <URL:http://www.rossde.com/garden/garden_divide_iris.html for more information.
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David E. Ross
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David Ross wrote:

Thanks for your great website and the advice, David! I always thought of rhizomes only in terms of grasses; that's good to know about the iris "roots".
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DO NOT use your tiller to dig any type of plant. Your plants need to be lifted and divided with care. The timing depends on the plant and your location. Honestly, I think one of the most common errors new homeowners make is to start changing things in a newly acquired garden. I would spend the winter doing some reading, figure out what you really have next year, and then start changing things. Unless you live in a very warm area, it is almost too late to make divisions of perennials. In my zone 6 garden, I divide and transplant iris in early September. I like to divide daylilies in the spring - late march to mid-April. I might put in some container grown perennials now, but I wouldn't want to start dividing most plants.
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Vox Humana wrote:

Thanks for the advice. It is typically warm here through October (Missouri). It would be perfect to leave the irises alone this year and dig the daylilies in the spring as you suggested -- after some more research. The lilies are the plants that are overcrowded anyway.
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homeowners
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is
daylilies
You can transplant now. The issues in area are that 1) the foliage may be gone and it will be hard to locate the bulbs, and 2) the ground is generally very wet in the fall making it a bad time to work the soil. By the time things have dried out, the days are short and just when you reserve the weekend to do some late garden chores, it snows!
For sure you don't want to move them in the spring. If you break the shoot, they will be toast. Some people like to move them in the summer after they have bloomed. The advantage in a summer move is that you can be sure of the variety and color. If you are going to move them I would do it right away or wait until just after they boom. If you do wait, be sure to preserve the foliage as it is needed to nourish the bulb for the following year's growth.
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Yes, the Day Lilly tuberest roots need to be totaly covered up as they grow downward.
The Iris RHIZOME need to be on top of soil or if in a desert area like mine just covered by a thin layer of dirt, as it needs light and that is the way the RHIZOME grows. Sometimes they do need to be thined and they need feeding too.
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Starlord wrote:

Thanks Starlord and everyone else for the help! It is very appreciated; I will investigate these ideas further this weekend.
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