What is wrong with my aster? It's 3yrs old. Is the dying center telling me that it needs to be divided? Thanks.
I would agree with you, dig the whole clump up carefully, pull, rip, or use knife to chop the clump apart with good roots attached to each part, then check the soil, add humus / manure to planting hole and soil surrounding the new area, water well and keep an eye on the plant as it can suffer from shock for several days after such treatment.
Most Perennials need separated and divided up after about 3-4 years and this allows the soil to be rejuvenated and manure add or fed
The plants take on a new lease of life, some Perennials like some of the Iris family require the dead or dying middle to be removed as it slows down the reproduction stage, others like Poppies need the clumps reduced to allow more root expansion and feed / manure added.
Hope this helps you out a little.
Welcome, good luck and have a good gardening season.
Yes, the plant needs to be divided but it does look very good and healthy, gardenerinct.