Answer: It's best to allow the foliage to die back on its own by experiencing a hard frost. This will signal the roots to go into dormancy. (If you cut the tops of the plants off too early, the roots will respond by producing new foliage, which saps strength from the roots.) After the foliage is blackened by frost, cut everything down to soil level. You can prevent the soil from freezing and thawing by placing a few inches of organic matter over the garden bed. Best wishes with your peonies!
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