The Q&A Archives: Cutting Back Perennials in Fall

Question: Is it okay to cut back foliage on perennials such as peonies and iris in the fall?

Answer: Yes. After frost it is a good idea to clean away fallen plant debris, especially from peonies and iris. The reason is to prevent carryover of any pests or diseases which may overwinter on the old leaves or stems. In fact, if any leaves wither or show spots during the growing season it is a good idea to remove them as they occur. Healthy foliage, though, should be left in place during the growing season to help the plants gather strength for next year's flower display.

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