The Q&A Archives: peony problems

Question: my peonies have extreme black spot. Since their bloom is finfshed, can I cut them to the ground without effecting next years blooms?

Answer: Peonies are subject to a number of diseases and a wet spring encourages problems. The symptoms sound like a fungal disease. Fungus can overwinter in the soil and attack plant parts as they emerge. The best method of limiting disease from year to year is to cut off, remove and destroy all peony foliage every fall after frost. You may also wish to cut off, remove and destroy all the affected plant parts when they show up; dip your tool into a disinfectant 1 part household bleach and 1 part water solution as you cut to avoid spreading any disease to uninfected parts. I would prune the foliage off to remove it from the garden. If you don't trim it off, it will still die, so you might as well get it out of the garden before it spreads!

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