The Q&A Archives: Cutting Back Peonies?

Question: Do you, if ever, cut back peonies? If so, when is the best time? After blooming, during the summer, or late in the fall?

Answer: Don't cut back after blooming. Peonies need those stems and leaves to function through the growing season in order to stay alive and healthy enough to bloom. In late fall after frost has killed back the tops, gently remove the stems and clean away any fallen peony leaves. This will help prevent any carryonver of pest or disease from year to year. Don't forget to mulch over the soil surface to protect the roots. Allowing the foliage to remain until death will help the roots collect as much nourishment as possible (through photosynthesis) and will ease the plant into dormancy.

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